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Denzel Washington happens to be one of my favourite actors, due to an impressive CV which is made up of roles where he carries a very strong screen presence: most recently, and successfully, seen in Training Day (“They build jails because of me!”) and John Q.

Mighty Quinn, The
The Film
So a chance to see a young Washington is this 1989 whodunit was met with enthusiasm from me as the disc was loaded up in my player. Entitled The Mighty Quinn, it is the story of life in the easygoing Caribbean. However, it is hard on Police Chief Xavier Quinn (Washington) - dubbed ‘The Mighty Quinn’ by sarcastic islanders and nagged by a wife who’d rather he were babysitting, Quinn is suddenly thrust into action when his childhood friend Maubee (Robert Townsend) is accused of murder. Forced to search for his elusive friend, Quinn meets up with a colourful array of suspects, including the dead man’s beautiful mistress (Rogers) who dreams of being a lounge singer, an eccentric voodoo sorceress with snakes in her parlour (Esther Rolle) and a mysterious American visitor with dubious intentions (M. Emmet Walsh).

Marketed as a ‘delightfully sunny Caribbean caper’, this is a sunny film to say the least. From the toe-tapping opening (a catchy yet incredibly repetitive song is played) to the finale, the sun is shining and the mood is light: a bit strange considering the premise. And that is the fault I have with the film. Throughout, the film is light and breezy entertainment, with no real sense of danger, as Quinn always seems to be in control and therefore the audience never feels a sense of worry or nervousness for the character.

That is not to say that it is a bad film however - in fact, The Mighty Quinn is a solid 94 minutes of entertainment, as it is enjoyable popcorn-fodder. The setting makes some nice eye candy, and Washington delivers a cool and collected performance as the titular character, lack of danger aside.

Although forgettable after the end credits have rolled, this is worth a watch, and with a mixture of comedy and enough action to satisfy most people with a short-attention span, most audiences are catered for.

Mighty Quinn, The
The Mighty Quinn is brought to DVD in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. Being a fairly recent film, the visuals are well defined, and accomplished - no artefacts such as compression signs visible; the print is crisp and clear throughout; and the transfer is free from dust and grain. Although not reference material, this isn’t bad for a film that is over a decade old.

Mighty Quinn, The
Dolby Digital 2.0 (English, French, German & Spanish). There is inevitably some bad news, but fortunately good too, with this being a mere 2.0 soundtrack. The good is that it is crisp and clear, with the dialogue being represented clearly and crisply…but the bad news is the lack of ambience and there is no enveloping sensation created by the soundstage due to the lack of a 5.1 mix. All in all, this is satisfactory, but when the music kicks in, or any louder effect (for instance an explosion), then the soundtrack isn’t as resounding or realised as a full surround mix would have been. And to add insult to injury, there are some better 2.0 tracks out there.

Mighty Quinn, The
The only extra on offer is a measly theatrical trailer, in which the Caribbean setting is firmly emphasised. It does its job, mind, and sells the film fairly well.

The menus are static, but easy to navigate.

Mighty Quinn, The
The film is something that can be watched, enjoyed, then forgotten - sounds like the ingredients for a night’s rental, and that is exactly the way to treat The Mighty Quinn. The acting is fairly good, and the script isn’t too cliché-ridden, but all in all the execution is lacking somewhat: perhaps with a few more scenes added, and a bit more peril and excitement, then the film would turn from a just-above-average affair to something more substantial, and memorable.

The DVD is again lacking, albeit in a bigger way. Now, I must make the point that this is an MGM re-release, and those words in any self-respecting DVD collector’s book spell trouble. MGM have a habit of offering a fair picture (in this case more than fair, thankfully); lacklustre audio (2.0 soundtracks); and almost non-existent extras (a trailer is all that is on offer 90% of the time). And yes, The Mighty Quinn’s release follows that blueprint by numbers. No doubt there are fans of this ’89 film, and therefore they, and others who have to watch it, deserve to have it served in the best popular light.

The overall impression I was left with was that the package tries in areas, but because it doesn’t try hard enough, it fails basically…but this could still warrant a rental if there is really nothing else on offer