(2010/Fox Blu-ray) + 24 – The Final
Season/Season Eight (2010/Fox Blu-ray) + Chabrol (Bridesmaids
(2004)/Merci Pour Le Chocolat
(2000)/First Run DVD Set) + The Heavy
B/B/C+/C/B- Sound: B/B/C+/C/B- Extras: C-/B-/C+/C-/C+ Films/Episodes: D/B-/C+/B-/B-
like stories with action, mystery and suspense, but the genres that support
them have been played out and exploited so much that more bad than good has
come from it. Those genres have even
crossed each other in ways that do not work and the results have not been good.
When Paramount had huge success finally finding a way to revive
Mission: Impossible, other studios scrambled
to come up with popular projects that could do the same business. Though Fox had made the Derek Flint films,
they somehow decided to option the overly comic hit TV series The A-Team instead and at great
expense. Then the project languished in
turn-around for years. About 15 years
later, it finally became a feature film release and that new 2010 film is not
only one of the worst films of 2010, but one of its biggest bombs.
Like Dukes Of Hazzard, the original TV show
was a rare populist hit because of its cast and general concept, not because of
its deep storylines or that it was even that good a show. Both were above filler with just enough
substance to get through an hour of prime time TV, which is why both failed as
features. But that did not stop Fox from
getting Ridley and Tony Scott involved as producers (you would never know it
from the results) or once-promising Writer/Director Joe Carnahan (who almost
directed an M: I sequel) to helm
this lifeless, unfunny, tired, hardly slick, flat retread that has some likable
actors just going through the motions of a really, really bad script that has
nothing new to offer. Who was this film
made for, anyhow?
a bad idea form the beginning and cutting out producer/creator Stephen J.
Cannell (who passed away just after this bombed) was the biggest mistake of
all. Without him, it plays like the bad
imitator it is and the lack of chemistry is even surprising considering the
cast includes Liam Neeson (who can do no wrong), Bradley Cooper, newcomer
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Sharto Copley, the always appealing Jessica Biel and
the underrated Patrick Wilson, so it does not have the worst cast in the world,
they just have nothing really watchable to do.
problem is that the original show was a sort of counterculture joke of a show
and the original characters were really outsiders, but this military-obsessed
retread does an awful job (intentionally?) of blurring the line between their
renegade selves and the real military.
There is not enough distance, narrative or ironic, for this to work,
making this a mess on that level as well.
Even with all the money spent (some of which is not on screen due to how
long this took to greenlight), it does not look that much richer than a couple
of episodes of the original show.
go see the old show, but no one wants to take responsibility for this failure
from behind the scenes, including an upstart producer whose determination not
to have Cannell involved backfired more explosively than all the explosions in
this film. Then Carnahan tried to blame
a promotional problem for it not being a hit, which is ludicrous as Fox did
their normal blockbuster launch for it.
The truth is, Carnahan has run out of things to say and do, plus this
was just a bad idea from the start.
Fox has better action films and TV shows, like 24. They long-running Keifer
Sutherland hit ran a total of eight years and this Complete Final Season/Season
Eight set brings the show back to enough form to send it off with some of
the dynamics that made it work early on before it lost its way becoming a spoof
of itself with everyone torturing everyone else in each episode. Jack Bauer (Sutherland) has retired, but a
shady contact finds his apartment bleeding from a gunshot wound for knowing too
much about a potential assassination plot.
Bauer just wants to go on vacation with his daughter, son in law and
granddaughter, but this is too serious and he cannot walk away.
twenty-four hour-long shows once again make up the whole single day of suspense
and action which has some good twists and turns. The cast is good and I was particularly
surprised that Freddie Prinze, Jr. not only found a good script to task on, but
actually showed he can act when he is not being goofy and arrogant, but it is
his luck that it is as the show ends.
the producers and writers credit for getting back to basics, though maybe there
will be a revival down the line. The
mystery this time is as good as many feature films of late. Some relatively recent thrillers we covered a
while ago have been reissued simply as a double DVD set boldly called Chabrol. Claude Chabrol is considered a French master
of suspense, though I think he is overrated and has made few films to back this
claim. Still, this set from First Run
Features includes two films we already covered as single DVDs and are the same
exact discs including the technical performance and extras noted. You can read about both at the following
Merci Pour Le Chocolat
the best for last, the most pleasant surprise of these like films is a British film
by Writer/Director Marcus Warren called The
Heavy (2010), one of the smarter crime thrillers to come out of their
cinema since the many imitators of Guy Ritchie films. Well written, acted and cast, it may have
some flaws and offer some things we have seen before, but this is an ambitious
film you might want to go out of your way for.
named Boots Mason (Gary Stretch) is out of prison, unhappy with his bother
(Adrian Paul of the Highlander
franchise) who helped put him there and is now on the verge of being Prime
Minister. A corrupt cop (Vinnie Jones in
some of his best work in a while) has plans for Boots, but Boots has several of
his own to juggle.
the smart, careful approach the film took to the Crime and Gangster genres,
something that in the U.K. and U.S. have been an excuse for so much bad
editing, writing, fights, bad camerawork, shaking cameras for no reason, gutted
color and distorted images that it is no wonder The Sopranos was as successful as it was. It is refreshing for someone to make a film
with the ambition of being realistic and thorough for a change in the genre and
that also explains why Christopher Lee, Jean Marsh, Steven Rea and Sadie Frost
signed on. It works better than most
films of its kind of late and has a different look and feel to it. Hope Warren gets to make another project
2.35 X 1 AVC @ 18 MBPS digital High Definition image on A-Team may have some color degradation and darkening of style on
purpose, but was shot in real anamorphic 35mm Panavision for the most part and
that translates better here than expected.
Director of Photography Mauro Fiore just cannot find a new angel for
this tired old look. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 AVC
@ 18 MBPS digital High Definition image on 24
also has some styling too, but also holds up well as shot in Super 35mm film
and also looks better than expected and better than the previous Blu-ray and
DVD sets of the series we reviewed elsewhere on this site.
leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Heavy which was shot in High Definition on the Panavision Genesis
camera, but this manages to not look as generic as many other productions using
the same camera. On DVD, the degrading
holds the performance back somewhat, but this would be a great candidate for
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 on A-Team
and 24 have moments where the
dialogue and some other audio is too much ion the center channel, but that is
not all the time and the soundfields for both are otherwise not bad, but A-Team
should have been better and simply is a typical competent mix instead of one
that excels. The Dolby Digital 5.1 on Heavy has a sound mix that is at least
as smart as those DTS-MA tracks and does not sound bad here, but the lossy
format is holding back the best points of the sound. Paul Oakenfold’s score is a big plus as
the Blu-rays include Deleted Scenes, with A-Team
adding BD Live interactive functions, Digital Copy for PC and PC portable
devices, Carnahan commentary on the shorter theatrical cut of the film, a Theme
Mash-Up Montage, Gag Reel and three behind the scenes featurettes. 24
adds extended episodes, Scenemakers
behind the scenes pieces on some episodes, Virtually
New York, The Ultimate CTU and Chloe’s Arrest. Heavy
adds TV Spots, Trailers and four good making of featurettes, all of which
should be seen after seeing the film.
- Nicholas Sheffo