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Sometimes entertainment can often be dry, flat and down right ridiculous. It really begs the question; should bland entertainment really be worthy of being labelled entertainment? Personally I don’t think it should. Cop flicks are something of a disinterest to me, with the exception of Rush Hour that is. To me they are always a tad far fetched to take seriously, which (and in my personal opinion) they always try too hard to do. Maybe that’s why I take so fondly to the Rush Hour series. Out of Time is another ‘homicide’ themed cop thriller with only one redeeming factor; its lead actor and shining ray of hope Denzel Washington.

Movie
Set in sunny Florida, the concept for this movie really seemed hopeful at first. It kind of had a unique and jazzy feel to it, sort of like a toned down version of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Suffice to say this film is no Vice City, which isn’t really saying much of the accredited writers who penned the script. Nor is the direction vivid enough at times. It often looks like a ‘direct-to-video’ feature with some high profile actors filling the shoes for the regular B-movie actors. This is truly a great shame and a wasted opportunity.

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As for the story, there really aren’t any major surprises here, nor any convincing twists and turns through its pacing to seize the viewer’s attention. Basically, Denzel plays a respected cop by the name of Matt Whitlock (hardly the memorable name these movies usually have) and must solve a baneful double homicide before he falls victim to suspicion himself. He has to stay one step ahead of his fellow cops to thwart the crime before time runs out.

It’s all very ‘24’ in some regards, but nowhere near as captivating or even as remotely interesting. However, and as briefly aforementioned, one redeeming factor is of course Washington himself. Through hideously miscast in the role of Matt Whitlock (surely it should have gone to a lesser known actor), he pulls this film through endless scenes of trite misconduct and even brings a wee smile to your face through his own scene-lighting charm.

Out of Time is generic Hollywood storytelling at its most desperate. What you see here you’ve seen a thousand times before and what little it has in the way of redemption it unfortunately comes off way to thin and barebones to warrant a hearty recommendation. Indeed, this film is truly out of time as is Hollywood’s policies to let films like this out into the open for all to see. I would say to tread carefully with this one for it’s time has surely run out (cheesy pun unnecessary but fully intended all the same).

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Video
With gorgeous views of sunny old Florida one would expect a vibrant and colourful image. Sadly, the transfer is surprisingly bland, even considering the lustful amount of photographical glitz. It is however presented in a rather solid 2.35:1 aspect ratio (always an incentive in my opinion) but still, the print is blurry often annoying muzzy from time to time. Grain is rather noticeable here especially on major outdoor shots of scenery etc. Black levels are strong on the whole and there is a good deal of colour definition.

It’s not going to blow you away, but as long as you’re not nitpicking it won’t disappoint too much either. It just isn’t what you’d call first-rate or in anyway arresting to behold but it scrapes by.

Audio
Dolby Digital 5.1 is all you’re going to get here unfortunately. Mind you, Out of Time is lacking in any major audio frenzy so guess that’s okay. I doubt DTS could have really delivered a better soundtrack than Dolby has served up here anyway.

Dialogue is crisp, clear and rather nicely balanced. There’s very little in the way of directional audio but the occasional swoosh and clatter can be heard quite clearly. LFE (or the lower frequency sub) can often be mundane and dormant but it certainly delivers when called upon. All in all it’s a rather subtle but apt soundtrack.

Extras
The menu system is fairly groovy, with a surprisingly good loop too, but apart from the excellent audio commentary from director Carl Franklin there really isn’t much to flaunt here.

Yes, we have here a single disc release of the film that (feature-wise) doesn’t really bode well for information/movie buffs. That is unless you want to sit though the feature-length commentary. As mentioned above, Franklin really doles dole out endless bits of trivial material and even manages to make the movie seem interesting at certain stages. It’s definitely one of the film-school DVD collection, and an absolute recommendation. What I found so interesting about it is that he talks about so many aspects of this film and filmmaking in general that its relation to the film isn’t at all relevant.

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Out of Time: Crime Scene is another two-dimensional behind the scenes nibble that probably won’t be seen more than once. While the Profiles, Outtakes, Screen-tests, Image Gallery and the Theatrical Trailer are about as informative as a brick wall. Aside from the slick menus and commentary, nothing really shines here sadly.

Overall
Worth watching on only one of those rainy weekends when there is absolutely nothing on the box. It offers some very generic, tried and tested uses of storytelling, but the reason to see it is for Mr. Washington himself. He can light up the screen like few actors can, and while he probably shouldn’t have agreed to star in this he nevertheless won’t let you down.

The DVD image transfer is mostly lacklustre compared to most new releases, but it is passable. So too is the Dolby Digital soundtrack, which offers mostly solid audio from all channels (especially the centre). The extra features are something of a letdown but the awesome director’s commentary will have you gagging for more.


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