In 1997, two goons armed with AK-47s and decked out in body armour rob a bank, then triedto shoot their way through the army of police that had gathered outside. In this real-timerecreation, Michael Madsen, Ron Livingston and Mario Van Peebles are the cops we follow mostclosely during the pitched battle. Many, many bullets are fired, and the pace is quick, but directorYves Simoneau resorts to far too many action cliches (scads of slo-mo and freeze frame),ultimately leeching…the excitement from the confrontation. Meanwhile, the action is furtherstopped in its tracks by periodic grainy “interviews” with the characters as they ruminate aboutwhat went down. Not only do these moments kill suspense, by letting you know all these guyssurvived, but the actors are made to spout some of the most jaw-droppingly inane propagandaever to try to pass itself off as dialogue. The rest of the movie delivers its messages (LAPDGood, Fox News Important) with all the grace of a sledgehammer to the skull. Dear God, do theFox TV executives really think their viewers are this stupid? Even worse, what if they’reright?
The soundtrack isn’t any more subtle than the movie, but in this case that’s okay. As withmany TV products, the music is close to omnipresent, but it doesn’t kill the other surroundefforts. The sound effects are at their most active, naturally, during the battle, and bullets whizand ricochet from all sides. The problem is that many of the rear speaker contributions aren’tterribly well placed, with sounds blasting in from behind when they should more logically haveworked on the left-right axis.
The image is in 1.78:1 anamorphic, and suffers from being a bit on the soft side. The blacksare good, and the colours are decent, if unspectacular and tending to the murky in the darkerscenes. While some of the grain is clearly deliberate, there are a few shots where this does notappear to be the case.
The Behind-the-Scenes featurette is almost as laughably propagandistic as the movie itself,but does have some interesting technical background. The other extras are a featurette on TheShield, and trailers for The French Connection and The Verdict.
“The Day Willpower Beat Firepower”? “Manpower” looks more like the victor here. In anyevent, you’ll finish the movie 85 minutes dumber than when you began.
Special Features List
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- The Shield FX Featurette