is a 1995 pirate movie starring Geena Davis and directed by her then-husband Renny Harlin. The film has gone down in history as one of the biggest Box Office Bombs
of all time; in the same league as the likes of The Adventures of Pluto Nash
, Heaven's Gate
, and Ishtar
. It wasn't that the film failed to sell tickets. It earned $10 million in the United States market alone, the 108th most successful film of its year. But when your budget is closer to $115 million, do the math. The film's failure effectively led to the closure
of Carolco Pictures
(who went bankrupt six weeks before the film's release). The film is thus regarded as one of the last whose failure actually destroyed the studio that produced it. The film also killed the bankability
of the pirate genre, which wasn't revived until Pirates of the Caribbean
took off. Although it dented their careers at the time, Davis and Harlin both seem to have gotten on more or less okay in the long run.
Female pirate Morgan Adams (Geena Davis) and her educated slave, William Shaw (Matthew Modine), are on a quest to recover the three portions of a treasure map. The treasure is hidden on the mysterious Cutthroat Island. Unfortunately, the final portion is held by her villainous uncle, Douglas ('Dawg') Brown (Frank Langella). Her crew is skeptical of her leadership abilities, so she must complete her quest before they mutiny against her. This is made more difficult by the efforts of the Royal Navy from Jamaica under the command of the self-serving Governor Ainslee (Patrick Malahide) to end her piratical career. On her ship, Morning Star
, Morgan starts the voyage to Cutthroat Island.
This film provides examples of:
- Action Dress Rip: Morgan pulls the skirt off her dress whilst being pursued by guards in Port Royal.
- Chain Pain: One of Dawg's men has chain in the place of his hand. It proves to be his undoing, as he misses one of the heroes with it, and is taken to the depths with the anchor that it got tanglend with.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The Treasure Map.
- Dope Slap: Repeatedly to resident Butt Monkey William Shaw.
- Flynning: Shaw does this at first, since he'd never previously learned how to do any serious fighting.
- Evil Uncle: Dawg, a particular mean one.
- Heel-Face Turn: Trotter, near the end. "There's no future in the army for me." It's a bit of a weird one, as he's leaving the British military to become a pirate, so technically it's a Face-Heel Turn (from a law-abiding point of view).
- Hoist by His Own Petard: It's kind of satisfying to see that chain-wielding bastard dragged down by the anchor.
- Human Notepad: One-third of a treasure map is tattooed on the scalp of the heroine's father. After he gets killed at the beginning of the movie, she cuts it off of him and takes it with her, as he'd instructed while dying.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place
- It Works Better with Bullets: Morgan does this to a bounty hunter who is after her at the start of the movie. After bedding him, she steals the balls from his pistols.
- Land in the Saddle: Geena Davis (not her stunt double) races through a building on the 2nd story and somersaults out a window, landing in the passenger seat of a speeding horse drawn carriage.
- Large Ham: Watch Frank Langella have a whale of a time as he chews the scenery with aplomb.
- Patrick Malahide as the governor also counts, especially in scenes where he has to berate Trotter.
- Made a Slave: Doctor Shaw didn't start out a slave... he was sold into slavery as punishment for seducing the teenaged daughter of his employer.
- Made of Explodium: Dawg's ship exlodes spectacularly in the finale. Justified by all the black powder stored in it.
- Mook Lieutenant: Lieutenant Trotter leads forces of the law in Jamaica.
- Noisy Nature: A particularly jarring example. Among the ambient jungle noises on the small Caribbean island is a distinctly elephantine trumpeting. In the Caribbean.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: Gravity seems to like Morgan enough to not kill her on multiple occasions.
- Pirate Girl: Morgan
- Theme Music Power-Up: The entire soundtrack by John Debney, but most especially the track Main Tile / Morgan's Ride.
- Underwater Kiss: Morgan gives William a kiss whilst he's pinned behind some crates in the flooded hold.
- Villain Ball: Governor Ainslee could load his own personal ship (A Man-of-war, which out-guns both pirate ships and whose crews loyalty is not in question) with his share of the gold and get out of there. Or he could hang out with an insane pirate, half of whose crew is loyal to their former captain. Who is still missing..
- Waif-Fu: Morgan. Who at one stage picks up a guy one handed and throws him.