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Some films sweep through the cinemas without a whimper and actually perform better when released for the home cinema market.  Such films have low expectations, and more often than not surpass those expectations. Angel Eyes falls into that category. Made in 2001, Angel Eyes starred Jennifer Lopez and should have been a huge box office hit. Lopez was hot property at the time (and still is!) yet the film gained low publicity and was out of the cinema before people even had the chance to see it. Now a year on, Angel Eyes has finally arrived on DVD.

Angel Eyes
Movie
The film centers on the lonely life of Sharon Pogue (Jennifer Lopez). Sharon is a Chicago cop who loves her job, but is finding it increasingly hard to find a partner of the opposite sex. At first guys seem interested, but as soon as she mentions her job, their attention seems to be more focused on that, rather than her. She suffered a hard childhood. Her father used to beat up her mother and brother. This has made her less trusting and probably more rash in her job. Most criminals would hardly tremble if they were stopped by her, but they would soon regret it! During the first half of the movie we see a few situations where she deals comfortably with disrespectful criminals. Her colleagues think that she is a little too confident, and that one day her luck may run out.

That day arrives. While chasing an armed suspect, she is ambushed and finds that she is quickly staring at a gun pointing at her head. Her whole life flashes before her. In what seems like a stroke of luck, a brave passer-by steps in and tackles the criminal. Grateful for the intervention, Pogue starts to get to know her rescuer. His name is Catch (Jim Caviezel), a quiet guy, who doesn’t seem to have any family or friends. At first Pogue is a little apprehensive and is not convinced that she wants or needs a relationship. However, the couple seem to get on well, and the inevitable romance ensues.

Pogue finds herself bonding with the mysterious stranger as they start to spend a lot of their time together. However, she finds that she doesn’t seem to know much about him, and Catch isn’t keen to give out information about his past. Sharon does a little investigation to see if she can find out anything about him, and worryingly draws a blank. As the films progresses we find out that first meeting between the couple was not a stroke of luck. The couple have met before, and they have to deal with the memories that start to reappear.

Angel Eyes
Before I sat down to watch this movie I was expectning it to be a psychological thriller. At several points in the film I had talked myself into thinking that Catch was actually a guardian angel. The DVD cover and description make it out to be a tense affair. Sadly I was giving the movie too much credit, and it is nothing more than an average romance flick. Catch’s past is explained towards the end of the movie, and proves to be an anti-climax. The film is paced quite slowly and looked like it could spring a surprise or two at the end. However I was left feeling extremely disappointed. I believe that one of the main points of a film is the ending. If you leave an audience feeling amazed, happy or simply entertained, then the movie is considered a success. However, Angel Eyes left me feeling frustrated and wondering why the film was even made!  The cast cannot be blamed for the poor impression made by the film. Lopez and Cavielzel are both impressive and give commanding performances. Surprisingly Lopez is pretty believable as the hard-hitting cop. Some people reading this review might have their reservations about her in this role, but unexpectedly she does a good job. Sadly the same cannot be said for the movie and I would not recommend more than a rental viewing of it.

Video
Angel Eyes is presented in the film's theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. Roadshow have done a wonderful job with this transfer. The detail is superb with images brought to the screen clearly and precisely. Flesh tones also seem realistic and colours are vivid.  As expected there is no print damage and edge enhancements are non-existent. There are also no signs of compression artefacts and grain is also nowhere to be seen. Overall this is a superb transfer which does not suffer from any weaknesses.

Audio
Roadshow have provided us with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack for this disc. I can’t decide if I consider it a good soundtrack or not! I started writing this review a few days after watching the movie, and had to go back and listen to the soundtrack again because I had forgotten how it sounded. Normally when reviewing discs I get a good feel for how the soundtrack is, but with this one I was left with no lasting impressions. Anyway that’s enough waffling! The track provided with this movie is perfectly acceptable for the type of film that Angel Eyes is.  The rears are not used very aggressively but occasionally come into action on some of the more demanding scenes. Dialogue is clear and precise at all times. It would have been good for the rears to get a more rigorous workout, if only to wake me up during some of the duller moments of the movie. The musical score is quite quiet as well so there was not much scope for a lively soundtrack. Overall though this soundtrack is reasonable, but uninspiring.

Just as a side note, the music occupying the menu screens is very irritating. I would suggest choosing your options quickly as otherwise you could find yourself getting stressed. The menu system for the main screen is actually very impressive. It starts off as a blank white screen which gradually turns to an image of Jennifer Lopez’ face. This is supposed to give a ghostly image, which explains the annoying music!

Angel Eyes
Extras
As far as extras are concerned we are given very little choice. There is a commentary by the director, a theatrical trailer and some previews. The preview section gives you the opportunity to see trailers of ‘The Caveman’s Valentine’ and ‘The Wedding Planner’. By the way if you are interested in either of these films we have already reviewed them, and the reviews are available on this site.

The theatrical trailer for Angel Eyes has a running time of over two minutes. Surprisingly it is a very good trailer. It shows Angel Eyes as a very thrilling movie, full of suspense. Key scenes from the movie are shown for maximum impact. This makes the trailer more appealing but it does mean that the viewer knows most of the story before seeing the film. I would suggest that you don’t watch this trailer before sitting down to watch the actual film.

The commentary by director Luis Mandoki is very detailed but slightly dull. It would have benefited from having someone else speaking as well. Mandoki gives detailed information about how scenes were shot and different camera angles that were used. However this can get a little boring after about twenty minutes. It would have been nice to have some input either from Jennifer Lopez or Jim Caviezel. Highlights of the commentary include the opening scene where the director talks about his experiences which led to the making of the movie. I don’t want to give away too much detail as it will spoil the film. He also talks about the casting of Jim Caviezel and Jennifer Lopez. Apparently they were the first choices for the main roles. In casting Lopez, the the director wanted someone who wasn’t too glamorous and could be believable as a cop.  After my viewing of the movie I would say that this gamble seemed to pay off.

Angel Eyes
Overall
Angel Eyes passed through the cinemas quicker than you could probably blink, and now I know why! It is nothing more than a very average romantic movie. The disc is also a strange one to assess. The video and audio aspects are pretty impressive, and should have been complemented with a good array of extras. However, what we are given is basic compared to the high standards set recently. If you are a fan of the movie then this is probably the one and only release of it on DVD. The video and audio aspects should be enough to keep fans happy. However if you haven’t seen it, then I wouldn’t recommend more than renting it.  


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