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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > The Fifth Commandment (2008/Sony DVD) + The Butcher (2007/Vivendi DVD)

The Fifth Commandment (2008/Sony DVD) + The Butcher (2007/Vivendi DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+/B-     Extras: D     Films: D



Sometimes, stunt directors become so successful at their specialty that they try to take on actual film directing.  Ray Austin and Craig Baxley are two of the few who succeeded, but many do not and in the case of Jesse V. Johnson, he has tried but is not succeeding very well.  Ironically, two of his recent features that did not do so well are arriving from tow different companies at the same time.  Unfortunately, The Butcher (2007) and Fifth Commandment (2008) are duds.


The Butcher has Eric Roberts most unconvincingly playing a mob enforcer in the silliest gangster feature in a while that is miles away from The Sopranos, but loaded with every cliché you can think of, including ripping off endless better films (especially from the 1970s and in the worst way) plus wasting Robert Davi (back to bad guy roles like his Bond film), Geoffrey Lewis, Keith David and a bored-looking Bokeem Woodbine.  Guess the title refers to the scriptwriters.


Woodbine shows up again in The Fifth Commandment, with another one-time James Bond villain Rick Yune as a good guy ready to avenger the murder of his father when a gangster kills him in front of his 5-year-old self.  Keith David even shows up again, but the second time is not a charm in any case and a new commandment ought to be written about making films out of clichés and bad editing during fight scenes that cut away from the action instead of showing it.  Amen?


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on both are soft, tired, lacking color and not well shot or edited.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 in both cases shows sonic limits from location recording and there are other unimpressive mixing choices.  Extras are also all boring, with both offering making of featurettes.  Butcher adds a trailer, while Fifth offers a second featurettes on stunts.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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