Love and jealousy always travel hand in hand, and when you add a charming American and a ruthless Mexican boss to the equation, then it inevitably leads to revenge, as in this 1990 movie.
It all begins when Jay Cochran, a U.S. Navy pilot, decides to retire early from his military career.
Before starting the rest of his new life, Jay decides to spend time in the luxurious mansion of his friend Tiburon Mendez, an influential businessman with whom, as a pilot, he had made some illegal deals during his career.
Jay greatly respects his friend, although he is unaware of his criminal gang’s darker and more violent sides.
During his stay, Jay meets Miryea, Tiburon’s beautiful wife and an attraction arises between the two that soon becomes an irresistible temptation.
The charming Miryea turns out to be a prisoner of an unhappy and abusive marriage, living a luxurious but loveless life.
Their passion for each other becomes increasingly intense and dangerous, leading them to challenge the power and cruelty of her fearsome husband.
Inevitably, Tiburon discovers the affair between his wife and Jay. Furious and thirsty for revenge, the boss sets in motion a diabolical plan to punish the two lovers.
Jay is savagely beaten and abandoned in a remote desert, while his men force Miryea into prostitution in a seedy brothel.
However, Jay survives the brutal attack, at which point he initiates his revenge against his former friend’s vengeance, with the help of some local farmers who equally hate Tiburon for ruining their families.
Although the American struggles with all his might without giving up, his road may be too long to get to Miryea before it is too late, for the woman is growing weaker against the horrible circumstances under which she must survive.
Tough life among brothers
However, we must also recognize that comparing with the visionary creator of Blade Runner and Alien is undoubtedly a challenging task, and also that dear old Tony, despite some limitations, always brought to theaters great shows capable of entertaining the audience.
Unfortunately, I have often encountered excessive criticism regarding his work, in some cases agreeing, such as with Top Gun and Days of Thunder, although let us remember they were excellent box office hits.
At the same time, I also fondly recall other works that I have not surprisingly mentioned repeatedly on my website.
1990’s Revenge is a movie that certainly falls into the category of well-deserved nostalgia.
Although it relies on numerous clichés in both plot and characters, that combination, seen countless other times, continues to succeed admirably.
First, the chemistry between the two young lovers, Kevin Costner and Madeleine Stowe is immediate and remarkable, emphasized by Scott’s clever direction, which lingers on specific details even before the passion begins.
Just as compelling is the relationship between the two friends Costner and an outstanding Anthony Quinn, one of my favorite actors of all time, in one of his most forgotten and underrated roles.
Finally, the story is a weaving of flesh, blood, and pain most viscerally and violently possible, where Scott forgets for once his fast-paced video clip editing and sets aside the sugar of many other American romance dramas.
The revenge of 1990’s cinema
Of course, the crucial element for a story of love and revenge is the chemistry between the lead lovers.
In this case, Tony Scott made an excellent choice, relying on Kevin Costner and Madeleine Stowe, at the time in the prime of their beauty and charm as 30-year-olds.
Costner certainly benefits from more space to explore and develop his character, who initially appears as the typical fearless American hero but later reveals interesting nuances, such as when he shares his past and reasons for leaving the army.
Meanwhile, Stowe embodies a sensual and charming figure, showing solid determination and engaging fragility.
Unfortunately, her figure is the one who definitely suffers the worst fate, and so she appears much less in the second half of the movie.
Anthony Quinn dominates the scene with his imposing presence; the other actors seem to disappear behind his magnetism whenever he appears.
He plays a violent and sadistic criminal, though with his own code of honor, and God protects anyone who dares to betray or disappoint him.
Just like the sweet Stowe, sadly, his character is also less present in the second half of the story.
Finally, I would like to mention two extraordinary performers in supporting roles, starting with Tomas Milian, an actor I have always admired in numerous Italian productions and in prominent parts such as in Steven Soderbergh‘s Traffic.
In this movie, Milian is Quinn’s faithful right-hand man, cunning and ruthless, nonetheless, the first to suspect the lovers’ affair.
Finally, we must remember the excellent Miguel Ferrer, an eclectic talent I have enjoyed in many films, such as Robocop or even Traffic, where he stars alongside Milian. In this case, the actor is one of the few to help the hapless Costner, joining in his revenge against Quinn.