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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > Murder > Detective > Police Procedual > British TV > Faster (2010/Sony DVD) + Murder Investigation Team – Series One (2003/Acorn Media DVD Set) + S.W.A.T. – Firefight (2010/Sony DVD)

Faster (2010/Sony DVD) + Murder Investigation Team – Series One (2003/Acorn Media DVD Set) + S.W.A.T. – Firefight (2010/Sony DVD)


Picture: C+/C/C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D/C/C-     Main Programs: D/C+/C-



When TV action tries to be big screen action, it is always a formula for disaster, even when it is a TV show with some smarts.  Here we have two lame features with the excitement of bad TV movies and a British police procedural that has more life to it, but is still undone by formula.


The worst of the lot is easily Faster (2010), one of the worst action films I have seen in years with the king of bad action movies (with movie being too high a word to use): Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock.  The kind of release that is a magnet for quote whores, Johnson tries to play a convict about to leave prison, only to find himself in revengeful fighting after a 10 years stay.  Guess the justice system has gone soft.


His brother has been killed (yawn!) and now he is angry (or is that petulant, because this man cannot act!) and wants revenge.  Unfortunately, he is going to drag us along with him for a crime we did not commit.  His killing spree begins, but he has a hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and police officer (Billy Bob Thornton picking up an easy paycheck hired to try and make this seem legitimate) are trying to stop him for the same, boring, different reasons.  The addition of supposed Gangster genre elements are especially embarrassing.  Director George Tillman Jr. turns out a total mess and writer Tony & Joe Gayton should go back to script school and stop using that bad PC program on scriptwriting.


This is the latest in a series of duds from CBS Films, a weak new motion picture arm of the TV network.  This is the worst effort yet and I can only say they could not do much worse in this tired wreck that manages to waste 98 minutes of all who dare view it.  Wow, this was worse that even the trailer suggested!


Murder Investigation Team – Series One (2003) seems like The French Connection by comparison, but it at least remembers Homicide – Life On The Street and wants to be a variant of that smart hit to some extent.  The camera might shake, but they don’t gut the color.  We get criminals, but they are well written and developed, as are the side and main police characters.  Though not great, it is one of the few standout examples of the now very tired cycle of police procedurals that are in their zombie phase.  8 episodes over three DVDs are in this set.  Samantha Spiro, Richard Hope, Michael McKell and Lindsey Coulson star.


Last and almost least is S.W.A.T. – Firefight, an odd 2010 sequel to the failed 2003 feature film revival of the hit 1970s hit TV series, which itself was a spin-off from TV hit The Rookies.  That is how many generations down from a good, original idea this dud is directed by Music Video director Benny Boom.  In Los Angeles, a raid 1eads to a key officer (Gabriele Macht) being sent to Detroit to teach techniques in dealing with kidnapping and terrorism, but a routine domestic call will turn into a disaster.  Then yet another assassin shows up (this time, it is Robert Patrick laying to type) and all I could think of is how long overdue the original series is on DVD.


Still, this is better than Faster, but then so was the last winter storm you encountered.  S.W.A.T. – Firefight is still as tired and warmed over stale as the awful new recording of the classic theme song.  Yes, it is still very bad.  All three offerings here are a wash.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on all the discs (save the inept 2.35 framing on Faster, which is just as bad) is soft and stylized, though Team has the best color, but is ironically the softest of the three.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Team is actually no better or worse than the lame Dolby Digital 5.1 on the other discs, which really push their simple soundmixes that are nothing to write home about.  These are all adequate at best.


Extras on Faster include an Alternate Ending as bad as the one they settled on and Deleted Scenes as junky as anything in the ‘final’ cut including Director Commentary.  Team has a 25-minutes-long interview with star McKell and audio commentary on the first episode with creator Paul Marquess and series consultant Jackie Malton.  That leaves Firefight with a Behind-The Scenes featurette called Sharp Shooting: On The Set (yea, ha ha, we get it).


Read about the 2003 S.W.A.T. on Blu-ray at this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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