Rourke's 'The Wrestler' renews interest in career

“Just imagine what films we’d be getting – might still get – if Mickey Rourke had won the Oscar for best actor at the Academy Awards. We’re talking about his 1989 film Johnny Handsome, which is being rereleased this week (in the same full-screen version from 2002), no doubt sparked by increased interest in the actor from The Wrestler.”

Just imagine what films we’d be getting – might still get – if Mickey Rourke had won the Oscar for best actor at the Academy Awards.

We’re talking about his 1989 film Johnny Handsome, which is being rereleased this week (in the same full-screen version from 2002), no doubt sparked by increased interest in the actor from The Wrestler.

At least this is a pretty good movie, not like the straight-to-video Another 9 Weeks or Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man (with Don Johnson), both of which are available on DVD.

Not that you’d want them.

In Johnny Handsome, Rourke plays a disfigured career criminal who goes to jail after being double-crossed during a heist. In prison, he’s given the opportunity to participate in a rehabilitation program (yeah, like that would happen these days) that includes reconstructive surgery and, eventually, parole. When he leaves prison, he gets a legitimate job, but like Javert in Les Miserables, there’s this cop who dogs him, sure that he’s going to screw up. And guess what. You know what they say about payback? Let’s just say revenge isn’t sweet. Johnny Handsome is rated R and lists for $14.98. Pair it with Body Heat and Angel Heart for a Rourke triple whammy.

Speaking of Oscars, the singin’ and struttin’ host of the awards show telecast, Hugh Jackman, stars in a Down Under epic that’s also being released on video this week. Australia co-stars Nicole Kidman and is a sprawling story of an untamed time in an untamed country. Australia often is compared to the American old West, and this film shows it in just that light, with cowboys, cattle drives and prejudice against native inhabitants. Australia didn’t fare well at the box office. Perhaps director Baz (Moulin Rouge!) Luhrmann should have made it a musical. Australia is rated PG-13 and lists for $29.99.