Chaos (US - DVD R1)
Gabe watches a film so uninteresting that it wasn't released for four years...
Jason Statham stars as Detective Quentin Conners, a troubled cop who is brought out of his long suspension (which he acquired for accidentally shooting a hostage) when bank-robbing kingpin Lorenz (Wesley Snipes) demands to hear from him during a hostage negotiation. Conners’ best efforts are in vain when Lorenz and his cronies blow-up the banks façade to pieces and escape. For some reason, though, there isn’t any money missing from the vault, and it’s up to Conners and his new, young partner Detective Shane Dekker (Ryan Phillippe) to solve the twisty-turny case.
Is there any way to dam the every expanding trickle of STV Lionsgate releases featuring better then average casts and derivative scripts. Why haven’t I ever heard of any of these cookie cutter thrillers? Are they only released theatrically in Europe? Are all these actors hard up for cash? Has no one involved ever seen a heist or buddy cop movie before? What’s going on?
The cowboy cop who’s taken the law into his own hands one too many times let back in for just one more collar? Vomit. The young partner forced onto the cowboy against his will? Hurl. Another bank robbery stand off featuring a crafty criminal teasing the cops with his perfect plane and his knowledge of the cowboy’s past? Puke. Chaos theory is a plot point? Barf. Ah, another convoluted final twist. Dry heave.
Writer/director Tony Giglio’s script is just dreadful. I know it’s my cliché to complain about clichés, but this film goes above and beyond the call of mediocre. Characters don’t speak in human or dramatic terms; they speak in expressions of mood. Instead of expressing in words how a certain event makes them feel they take the words from every other cop film ever made, until there words turn into some kind of cliché driven binary code. The poor actors stop even trying after a while and their voices start sounding like rickety dot matrix printers. At least he's studied his John McTiernan films close enough to not embarrass himself visually. Maybe with someone else’s script he could do something interesting next time.
This particular cast's cred shouldn’t come as a huge shock. I suppose we can assume Wesley Snipes needs the money to cover his tax debts. Based on his acting effort here I think we can also assume that he didn’t really care about the script. Ryan Phillippe’s the tragedy of this cast. He was racking up a decent indie career for a while there; he surely doesn’t need tripe like this dirtying up his resume. Maybe the divorce was messier then we thought. Statham’s participation isn’t even a little surprising, the guy’s a magnet of charisma, but he’ll do anything for a cheque. Chaos is just another in a long line of poor man’s Bruce Willis out of an actor that should have more then two or three really great roles by now. Wait a minute, the releases date is 2005? My God, Transporter 2 and Blade Trinity hadn’t even come out yet.
Chaos is presented in an anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and looks exactly the same as about every other modestly budgeted Lionsgate STV release—perfectly average. The relative absence of edge enhancement is pretty impressive, and details are reasonably sharp, but the grain and noise can be overbearing in some shots. Tracking shots reveal some lumps and slight shifting in backgrounds and wide shots especially. The colours are bright and solid, though there’s a bit of a green influx into some of the yellows and a bit of a blue influx into the reds. Contrast levels are well balanced enough to separate objects in the darker scenes, but blacks aren’t ever fully black, more like really dark blue. Our biggest issue is the interlaced nature of the transfer, which leads to some overt combing effects.
More of what you’d expect from a modestly budgeted Lionsgate STV release. The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is full of enough noise to impress when the action kicks into gear, the bass is good and rumbly when things blow up, and the dialogue is well centred and separated. The sound effects design is full of obviously canned effects, which are a little over edited among the rear channels, but it adds a slice of production value. The score is overbearing (during the commentary Giglio points out a moment where he didn’t want any score, and I think he should’ve stuck to his guns), and often doesn’t meld organically with the rest of the soundtrack.
Director Tony Giglio’s director’s commentary is lively enough, but it’s also full of lame false modesty, and his apparent ignorance when it comes to his film’s blatant clichés is a little annoying (he acknowledges it a few times, I’ll admit). He’s good about keeping things moving, giving us the behind the scenes scoop and generally doing his job as a commentator. Giglio seems like a nice guy, and I wish I didn’t hate his movie, but this commentary changes nothing. The commentary is followed by ‘Order out of Chaos’, another fluffy EPK with apathetic cast interviews, excited director interviews, and lots of footage from the movie. The featurette lasts about twelve minutes, and is followed by a collection of Lionsgate trailers.
Long story short— Chaos never overcomes its cliché-riddled script, and isn’t worth your time unless you’re a really hardcore Statham or Snipes fan (those people should know what they’re in for). Everything about this disc screams ‘dump’ on Lionsgate’s part, including the minimal extras, the half-hearted A/V presentation, and the slap-dash box art.
Review by Gabriel Powers
Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
Release Date: 19th February 2008
Disc Type: Single side, single layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Extras: Director Commentary, Behind the Scenes, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Tony Giglio
Cast: Henry Czerny, Wesley Snipes, Ryan Phillippe, Justine Waddell, Jason Statham
Genre: Action and Crime
Length: 106 minutes
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