(2012/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/The Order
B- Sound: B- Extras: C/D Films: C+/D
films have seen some changes, but often remain basically more the same, even
when they have something smarter going on.
Here are two releases that show this.
Soderbergh’s Haywire (2012) is a
spy/action vehicle designed to be a showcase for Gina Carano to become an
action star. It is not great, but not
bad and she is good. Working on a
special mission, she is pursued by a fellow agent (Channing Tatum) who is not
on her side, but once might have been.
She has to think fast and kidnaps a man at a diner (Michael Angarano) to
survive, then we see some of the story in flashback which she is telling him so
he knows the truth in case she is killed and to be able to both understand what
is going on and save himself.
mission involves some players and spymasters in the field (Michael Douglas,
Ewan McGregor, Antonio Banderas) and she is sent in with a fellow agent (Michael
Fassbinder) to finish the mission they have been sent into, but she gets
suspicious and things start to go wrong.
She has her former spy/book author father (Bill Paxton) to fall back on
eventually, but the body of the story I set up for action. Though this comes up a little short, everyone
is good here and it is worth a look.
include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices and the disc itself adds
two Making Of featurettes.
Lettich’s The Order (2001) was one
of the films where Jean-Claude Van Damme’s box office staying power was finally
shown to have permanently faded and this time, he is going to the Middle East
(this would not have likely been made after the 9/11 attacks) and Jerusalem in
particular to get a valuable artifact. He even has Charlton Heston with him (who does
the opening narration), but this is just flat, boring, dull, bad and not even
Heston could save it. Ben Cross and
Sofia Milos also star, but this is the point where Van Damme though he was
invincible and instead, was seeing his career wind up. He also co-wrote this, which was a very big
mistake and even the action sequences are bad, over-choreographed and
silly. There are no extras.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Haywire and 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on
Order are about even, despite the
fact that the former is an HD shoot with some styling and the latter was shot
on 35mm film. The problem is that Order shows its age and the age of the
materials used for the transfer, so only expect so much.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both Blu-rays are also evenly
matched, but have different limits. Haywire is more quiet and has only some
moments where the soundfield kicks in, which works for the narrative, while Order has its mix towards the front
speakers in part because the sound is down a generation like the image and that
is apparently pulling the original mix’s soundfield off-center.
- Nicholas Sheffo