We are in the last five days before the Rodney King verdict will set LA on fire. Movingthrough the mean streets is one mean cop — Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell). Perry is very much avintage Ellroy character: hard, mean, utterly corrupt, but still possessing the glimmerings of asoul. He is contrasted by his younger partner Scott Peedman, who still has ideals and wants tobe a good cop, and his boss Brendan Gleeson, who is a complete monster in the Dudley Smithmould. Investigatin… a multiple homicide at the behest of Gleeson, Russell finds himself requiredto cover up more than even he can stomach, and the possibility of redemption looms.Though the form this redemption takes is ultimately unconvincing, this doesn’t spoil a film thatis otherwise as hard-boiled as one could wish, filled with compellingly appalling characters, andspectacular recreations of the riots that followed the King verdict.
The music sounds fine, the dialogue has no buzz or distortion, and the left-right separationis very good. The real test of this disc is, I submit, how it handles the sound of the riot scenes,and this is a test that is passed with flying colours. The sense of environment at in this sequenceis almost total, with yells, smashing glass and gunshots coming at you from all directions. Deeplysatisfying.
The disc comes with both fullscreen and 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen formats (on oppositesides of the disc). You know which one to stick to. Dark Blue deploys a wide palette, withcolours shifting from steely blue interiors all the way to bleached yellow exteriors, and all thesechanges are well served by the transfer. The flesh tones, contrasts, and blacks are all abovereproach.
How long must a featurette before it qualifies as something more substantial? I ask becausethe three “featurettes” the disc boasts of are too modest in their designation. “Code Blue” alonelasts 20 minutes, and it can (and should) be played along with the other two as one substantialdocumentary. Ron Shelton’s commentary is also very good, giving you all the how and why youcould hope for. The photo gallery has some labels (i.e. whenever the shot is of a star). Finally,there are trailers for Dark Blue, Platoon, Rocky and Die Another Day. The menu’s main page,intro and transitions are animated.
Not a perfect cop film, but a damn fine one, supplemented by solid extras. A very satisfyingrelease.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- 3 Featurettes
- Photo Gallery
- Theatrical Trailers