Falling Down

Director: Joel Schumacher
Year Released: 1993
Rating: 2.5

All it takes for missile engineer William Foster (Michael Douglas) to finally "crack" is a traffic jam in Los Angeles in which he ditches his car (with the license plate "D-FENS") and proceeds to go on a lunatic walk through the city causing chaos (and giving lectures) everywhere he wanders by in an attempt to "go home" and celebrate his daughter's birthday (even though he's divorced from his wife and she's frightened of him).  With his buzzcut, short-sleeve shirt (with a pocket protector!) and old-style glasses it's clear Douglas is some sort of conservative 1950's Dad aggravated with this "new America" and confronting a Korean shop-keeper, Hispanic gang members, a racist loving gun store owner and money-wasting construction workers while lamenting the loss of the nuclear family.  As compelling as this sounds, however, the movie's appeal is mostly on the surface, as it fails to probe the deeper issues with America itself or Foster's psyche (why is he unemployed if he's so smart?), and the subplot with Sergeant Prendergast (Robert Duvall) and his "last day on the job" (which gets repeated over ... and over) couldn't have been clumsier.  Considering the absolute silliness of some of the scenes (especially the scenery-chewing part with Frederic Forrest's Nazi lover), James Berardinelli might be right: it's a tongue-in-cheek black comedy.