Most people like a good heavy dose of action. Guns a blazing, explosions bursting and people’s dead bodies flying in each and every direction. But most people also want something a little more. Perhaps a little suspense or a little who dun it. Or perhaps they are looking for their favorite actor to make a dramatic on-screen performance that will leave them breathless at the door. This lonely review writer loves action but a good dose of story and a well done gotcha at the end means more than the next building that gets blown up. Chaos would prove to have everything I wanted from an action drama and make me believe that there is at least one semi-original story left in Hollywood today.
After an incident on the Pearl Street Bridge, Detective Quentin Conners (played by Jason Statham) is suspended and his partner is sent home. When a bank heist takes center stage, a criminal mastermind known only as Lorenz (played by Wesley Snipes)forces the police’s hand in reinstating Conners so that they can work out a negotiation. The police however assign Conners a new partner, Shane Dekker (played by Ryan Phillippe). Shane is a young detective that is expected to keep the brash Quentin Conners in line with policy. However, the bank heist goes awry and Lorenz gets away with the crime. This leads into a deep investigation where things are not as they seem and as the story unravels we find out what is meant by the term “Chaos Theory”.
Immediately when you hear that Jason Statham and Wesley Snipes are on the same set, you think this ought to lead to one kick butt fight at the end. Not so much, the movie actually develops a story and blends it with well timed action. The real star of the movie is actually not the two most well known actors. The real star of the movie is Ryan Phillippe who plays the young detective Shane. His role starts out as innocent and naive. By the end of the film, you appreciate how intelligent and how much stage presense he commands. You also wonder if he should have got top billing instead. Jason and Wesley bring strength to their roles as well. Jason Statham is more than adequate as the tough no-nonsense cop. Wesley Snipes is the likeable wise cracking villain who seems to always be in control. But they seem secondary to Ryan’s performance overall.
The supporting cast pulls in a fairly decent acting job, most notably by Justine Waddell who plays Detective Teddy Galloway. However, the film does have the tendency of trying too hard at times. The story is very intricate and it leaves the possibility open of losing part of its audience. Most people will see the action cover to this dvd and leave their brains at the door. They won’t realize until half way into this movie that there is a story, a rather deep one. This is unfortunate because with some proper promotion this film could have done very well. Unfortunately, its budget was scrutinized and this film wasn’t released until it was too late to mean anything.
The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The epic format lends to a very good use of color in many scenes. Even when low lighting is an issue, it still comes through very well. Explosions look really good for the most part and there are only a few spots where they could have improved. This is most notable when the screen is moving with lightening speed and the hand-held cameras struggle a little bit to keep up the quality in shooting the picture.
5.1 English Dolby Digital is the main track here (2.0 mix is also included). If you like explosions, you won’t be disappointed here. The action fills your speakers and gives your woofer quite the burst of sound. When things are not blowing up, the action still uses the surrounds and dialog is clear. There are only a few moments where I thought there should be more umph to the picture. Audio really shines here and it is recognized. Subtitles are provided for the English and the Spanish speaking folks.
- Automatic Trailers: War (w/Jason Statham),Crank(w/Jason Statham), Shattered (w/o Jason Statham), & The Condemned(w/Vinnie Jones who tried to channel Jason Statham)
- Commentary with Director Tony Giglio : An excellent commentary with the directory where he goes into considerable depth about the restraints and how difficult this film was to pull off. Apparently the “Chaos Theory” applied to behind the scenes as well with budget and production company issues. Very little dead space, very good commentary.
- “The Order Behind Chaos” – Featurette 12:21: A very good making of featurette that spends most of its time with the director Tony Giglio and actor Wesley Snipes as they discuss the film and various plot points.
One look at the dvd cover and the automatic trailers and you will think this movie is all about Jason Statham’s character of Detective Quentin Conners. He is one of the leading actors, however he is not the one who steals the show. That award would instead be given to Ryan Phillippe who is wonderful in his role. No, I do not have a man crush towards him but I do recognize excellence in his acting skill. The story despite a few plot holes is very strong and comes away with an ending that will certainly leave people satisfied in their chairs. The dvd has great video and even better audio as explosions fill the speakers and make you realize why your neighbors complain. The special features are quality for what they contain. Sure you wish for a Snipes commentary but you realize with his recent legal troubles, that probably isn’t possible. (BTW, Wesley I know you are having a lot of trouble with the federal government but I hope that day passes and I can again enjoy you in future films). Director Tony Giglio puts it best in the featurette (and I’m paraphrasing), he wants a movie where when the ticket buyer is done watching this film, he gets up and goes into the parking lot and forgets where he parked because he was so immersed in the story. I think he does that here. Highly recommended.
- DvdVerdict.com – “To its credit, Chaos ends up being more intriguing than a routine action film that offers a simplistic plot as a clothesline on which to hang scenes of people and things blowing up.”
- HomeTheaterForum.com – “Chaos starts off well but quickly loses steam, ultimately promising more than it can deliver.”