I saw two Val Kilmer films over the weekend: The Saint (remake of the 1960s TV series with Roger Moore), and Spartan. In both cases, I was again pleased at how versatile an actor he is. I first saw him (or at least, noticed him) in Top Secret (1984), an hilarious, often crude comedy, where he plays an Elvis-like singer on a cultural tour of East Germany in a vaguely 1950s or 1960s (with some anachronisms) period. He was riotously funny.
"How did you get your name, Nick?"
"It came to my father while he was shaving."
You may recall him as "Iceman" in Top Gun (not a great movie, but not a terribly bad one, and he wasn't the star, either).
In The Saint (1997), he plays an international thief for hire--but one with a conscience, apparently much to his surprise. It's a fun film, full of implausible escapes, bad Russian mafia, political intrigue, and Elizabeth Shue, playing the knockout beautiful American electrochemist who has solved the cold fusion problem. It's fluffy entertainment, and Val Kilmer is just perfect at it.
Spartan (2004), on the other hand, is a very dark story of political intrigue, double crosses, and monstrous creeps in the international sex slave trade. Kilmer plays a hard bitten, doesn't play by the rules Marine who gets involved in one of those circles within circles, continuing surprises stories where you never know what is going to happen next. And Kilmer again demonstrates his ability to play a part completely unlike any other.
I have not seen The Doors, but my wife has, and says he is spectacular as Jim Morrison in that as well.
There are some actors that just don't get the credit that they deserve--and Val Kilmer is one of them.