James Marsden plays Tommy, who broke away from his mob-connected family to join the marines. Something goes wrong during the Gulf War, and he lands in the brig. He’s given a second chance by the authorities if he heads back to his old neighbourhood undercover. As he heads back to hook up with his slow brother and violent cousin (Giovanni Ribisi), we also get flashbacks to their youth in these families.
It’s hard to make a mob movie unentertaining, and this is certainly not dull. Bu… it’s also very, very, very familiar. Every last tick from every mobster movie or TV show you’ve seen is present here. You won’t hate yourself for watching it, but you will be assailed by relentless déjà-vu.
5.0 and 2.0 options are present, and are adequate to the job. While the environmental effects don’t exactly assault the senses, they are present and decently effective. The music sounds fine, and the dialogue is clear. But the latter is also very quiet. You’ll find yourself turning the volume up, only to be startled by a sudden blast as Marsden’s narration kicks back in, easily twice as loud.
The colours are good, and the contrasts are strong – very strong, deliberately harsh, in fact. So the whites have a bleaching effect, which is pleasing in this sort of film, though it has been done before. There is some grain, but nothing severe. The flesh tones are good, and the blacks are terrific. The image is sharp, too. There are no real issues as there are with the audio track.
The commentary track by writer/director Bobby Moresco, actor/producer Leo Rossi and editor Harvey Rosenstock is engaging, informative and self-critical. You’ll like these guys. The behind-the-scenes featurette has the usual promotional slickness, but does go about showing and explaining how a scene was done. The deleted scenes montage might more properly be described as showing shortened scenes, as much of what is here is present in more tightly edited form in the film. The theatrical trailer is joined by ads for other recent releases.
So nothing new, but sometimes that doesn’t get in the way of one’s enjoyment. Your call.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer