Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on August 18th, 2009
The mutiny on the Bounty is one of those stories that carries with it the adventurous dreams and ambitions of a young child. It’s the smells and sounds of the high seas. The intrigue of a mutiny and the charismatic stature of an imposing captain, the image of sailor’s worst nightmares. Aye, Matey. There’s nothing like it. (We interrupt this review because apparently Gino has been reviewing the wrong film. Please accept our apologies for the misinformation – ed.)
As I was saying…. It’s the Old West, the kind of story that carries with it the adventurous dreams and ambitions of a young child. It’s the smells and the sounds of the open frontier. The intrigue of the famed outlaw and the charismatic stature of an imposing lawman, the image of an outlaw’s worst nightmares. Darn Tootin’, Pardner. There’s nothing like it.
Except Bounty offers none of that…and much less. I always find myself in an odd situation with this kind of film. It’s a real reel dilemma for me. On the one hand, I really want to champion the independent film movement. Hollywood has gotten much to formulaic, and seldom are we treated to anything more than a wild amusement ride. A fun ride, often, to be sure, but sometimes we want a little ham with our cheese. There’s so much untapped talent out there. Actors, directors, writers, and producers with incredible energy and imagination. But the modern studio environment just doesn’t allow them to thrive. The truth is that there have been some truly remarkable films to come out of the independent film movement. On the other hand there are films like Bounty, that will never be counted as one of them.
The story generally involves a bounty hunter named Nate who needs to go on one big hunt in order to pay off a huge debt to some unruly characters. With the help of a condemned outlaw, Nate has to break his quarry out of custody to get the bounty and save his own life.
This is an ultra low budget film, and it shows in just about every aspect of the production. The worst is in the acting. I would say that the acting here was akin to some local community theater, but that would not really be very fair. You see, I’ve seen some rather good talent at local productions over the years. These guys are simply bad. They read their lines with total artificiality. To be fair, the dialog is some of the worst I’ve ever heard. This reeks of one of those collections of friends doing a film together. A lot of fun, to be sure. But these things rarely produce anything watchable by anyone outside their own group of family or friends. There’s just nothing about this movie that’s worth the investment of time.
There are many out there who read a bad review like this and make a comment like, “I’d like to see him do better”. It’s the battle cry of every poor filmmaker. Of course, it’s totally unfair. I never claimed to be a filmmaker. I haven’t put my work out there in a bad economy and asked people to part with their hard earned money to experience what I created. These words are offered free to anyone who cares to read them. When you present your work out there to be bought or rented, you should be able to do better than I can. Since I can’t do it at all, you should be able to do much better than I can. Be suspicious of any filmmaker or actor who measures their quality against someone who has never attempted the art. I don’t suspect it would work on any other profession. If your heart surgeon doesn’t do a good job, how would it make you feel if his reply was, “I’d like to see you do better”? According to the box art a critic named Stuart Alson had this to say about the film: “High Plains Drifter meets Young Guns in this shoot ‘em up tale of revenge”. I have only one question. How come my copy didn’t come with the hallucinogenic drugs that Stuart’s copy came with?
Bounty is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. And the low budget problems continue. This thing doesn’t look any better than camcorder footage I took of my Siberian Husky when she was a puppy. The picture looks somewhat blurry and very soft edges. Colors run together and black levels are abhorrent. You know what? I could do better here. Anyone with some higher end equipment could do a lot better.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is just as bad. You’ll hear wind shear on the dialog. Apparently not much, if anything, was fixed in ADR. It might as well be mono for any ambient effects or use of surrounds you’ll get. Strictly sub amateur hour here.
Deleted Scenes: (10:34) Just in case you are looking for more punishment.
Sorry guys. I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em. It’s not like I have a postage stamp strike zone here either. Like anyone else, my time has a value, and I want to be entertained when I watch a movie or television series. It doesn’t have to get me thinking. There doesn’t have to be a higher purpose. I’m willing to settle with, amuse me for a couple of hours. It’s bad when just five minutes in I’m checking the time remaining, watching the numbers count backwards for what feels like eternity. I’d sure like to send my own posse out to get my hands on the crew who put this film together to face a little hangin’ party for what they done to my two hours. But, I reckon, “killin’ a man ain’t gonna bring it back”.