By Owen Gleiberman
October 07, 1994 at 04:00 AM EDT

Near the end of TERMINAL VELOCITY (Hollywood, PG-13), there’s a James Bond-style can-you-top-this? action sequence — it seems inspired by the opening of Moonraker — that delivers the high-flying vertiginous rush the movie has been promising for 90 minutes. Charlie Sheen leaps out of an airplane, but before he parachutes to the ground, he has to unlock Nastassja Kinski from the trunk of an automobile that’s plunging right along with him. I’m well aware that all objects fall at the same rate. Still, something about the sight of that big, heavy car speeding downward seems well, especially fast. In its preposterous way, this is an original and dazzling sequence. Unfortunately, to see it you’ve got to sit through the rest of the film, which is a stultifying pile of cloak-and-dagger clichés. (I felt my eyelids droop the second I learned that the villains are Russian spies.) Terminal Velocity is the kind of movie in which the hero keeps sneaking into rooms to peek into some file and you wait, with glum certitude, for yet another ”surprise” thug to leap out of the shadows. It’s fun to hear Charlie Sheen deliver quips like, ”I’m not just a walking penis — I’m a flying penis!” But for most of the movie, Sheen, lowering his voice to a basso he-man growl, gives a boringly flat, square-jawed performance, as if he thought he were doing Hot Shots! Part Quatre. D+

  • Movie
  • PG-13
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