Karma’s a bitch but so is Madeleine Stowe’s character in TVs REVENGE. Before I go on, let me emphasize that this thread will not focus on the hit series on ABC (back for a fourth season next fall—yaaay!) but on the campy wannabe of the same name from Colombia Pictures. Yep, 25 years earlier, Miss Stowe starred opposite Kevin Costner, playing a rich man’s younger wife who throws herself into an affair with Costner and ultimately pays the price. The year was 1989, and Stowe, a hot commodity after 1987 STAKEOUT, was hoping to make it big again with this one. She did not. When the film opened in 1990, not only did the critics pan the hell of it but it did poorly at the box office. Of course this got my ears pricked, and with good reasons. In addition of looking like a lovable mess, it also had the potential of being overly grand—just like its reported 20 million budget. One glance at the end product confirmed my hunch, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The fun begins when Costner, a retired Naval aviator sojourning in Mexico, discovers that he has a thing for Stowe even though she is the wife of his old friend turned kingpin Anthony Quinn. While he tries his best to keep it in his pants he eventually succumbs one night at a party. But how can you blame him? I mean look at her. Even I would bang her, and you all know for which team I bat. Anyway, to make a long story short they finally do it in a closet. Even if their coupling is sensual enough, it’s Quinn’s particular dancing that really steals the show. Indeed, the director keeps cutting to his bumping and grinding and the off taking of his shirt on the dance floor while the duo go at it like rabbits. Though it’s really Costner’s torso we want to see (and we do, along with the rest of him) we much prefer this nut stripping.
Of course, Quinn finds out of his wife’s cheating ways and catches her naked (how else?) in Costner’s cabin. After having his goons beat the shit out of Costner whom they leave for dead, he hauls Stowe’s ass to a local bordello—but not without leaving something to remember him by: a gash on her beautiful face (that bastard!). Drugged up on heroine she is forced to become the slut of all sluts while Costner, after being saved and brought back to health by a Mexican Samaritan, goes after Quinn and his goons to save his damsel in distress. But like any doomed love affair made by Hollywood their reunion is short-lived. Stowe is on her last legs dying from what we understand is AIDS, though it’s never really clear. But one thing is certain, sick or in health or facially disfigured, Stowe remains as stunning as ever (she must have taken the same course as LOVE STORY fatal illness-stricken Ali McGraw). The last shot shows Costner holding his dead lover while balling (convincingly) his eyes out. Only in Hollywood, darlings. Only in Hollywood.
REVENGE is directed by the late Tony Scott (TOP GUN) and is executively produced by Costner himself. One thing regarding that last part: I’m sure it must have been less than a trip having the star of the film have all that power. Particularly with this sort of vanity project gone wrong. Still, I must say check this mess out, because beyond all the goofiness and many faux pas exists a beautifully shot film, not to mention an impressive score by Jack Nietzsche. They almost make you want to wish the film to be better. But I wouldn’t change a thing. Not when it involves Stowe and her roller coaster ride of a career. I mean, where would TV’s Revenge be without, well, REVENGE? Think about that while I busy myself rewinding the scene where you can have a quick look at Costner’s peen.