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Someone should cast Eddie Murphy as a villain. Not a caricature villain, but a real villain, someone who’s got a bit of bite in them and means serious business. Why? Well, for one I think he’d suit a decent bad-guy role if written properly and, secondly, he sure as hell aint furthering his career by appearing once again in another comedy-flop, this time trying to jazz it up a little by having it set on the moon.

I have one question for all those involved with this movie; Do the words Judge Dredd mean anything to you?

We begin watching Jay Mohr as Tony Francis singing some god-awful song on stage in a seedy bar that is as run down as Murphy’s film career. He’s wearing a kilt, which should be enough for a bucketload of people to switch off after only the first five minutes. But then Murphy appears as the great Pluto Nash, free from a lengthy stay in prison for some sort of smuggling crime. When Tony runs into a little trouble with the debt collectors, who come to extract their cash, Pluto steps in and offers to buy the club for Tony as well as pay off his dues. What a nice guy!

Murphy's next job if things don't pick up

We zip forward another seven years, from 2080 to 2087, and see Pluto thriving at his own Club Pluto, the best club in the whole of Little America. But he soon finds himself in a bit of trouble when he refuses an offer from a guy named Mogan to buy the club. Mogan is acting on behalf of his boss, a man named Rex Crater, and won’t take no for an answer so he decides to do some explosive work in and around the club. Needless to say it blows up.

Pluto manages to escape with the daughter of one of his friends in prison, Dina Lake (played by the ever-so-grating Rosario Dawson). Lake had come to Pluto looking for work as her “Moon Card” had expired and she was looking for someone to overlook the fact so she could do a spot of singing. Pluto gives her some bar work but this doesn’t last as the bar is blown into pieces by Mogan and his buddies.

The rest of the action is a bit of a chase, shoot, run-some-more kind of scenario, nothing of which is all that remarkable or exciting. Murphy plays it rather straight here, so fans of his comedy will be sorely disappointed. Instead he leaves most of the gags up to the rest of the big name cast including John Cleese, Pam Grier (as Pluto’s mother), Randy Quaid and Luis Guzman, who do a serviceable job but are severely limited by what the poor script dishes up to them.

There are some decent moments dotted throughout but they’re really too few and far between. Hilary Clinton’s face on the currency is a clever little touch but there’s not enough of it to make it a really sharp, funny look at a world eighty years from now. Heck, the production designer made everyone look like they were back in the eighties, so let’s hope they’re not right in their predictions.

There’s not a lot to this film and it sure is an easy watch, but the problem is there’s nothing at all compelling or even amusing about the story to maintain anyone’s interest. It’s basically a $100 million dollar film that turns out to be about $2 worth of entertainment. Let’s hope Murphy fires his agent, lands himself a much better role (hopefully as a villain, because there’s something in it for him I’m sure) and starts to regain some credibility that was lost well before this piece of schlock came along.

Kudos to Roadshow for giving us a brilliant transfer despite the film’s obvious shortcomings. Here we get a 1.85:1 presentation that is 16:9 enhanced and looks stunning. If anything the sets are extremely colourful so they look near enough to perfect on this disc. Sharpness is good despite some tricky sets and lighting techniques and the blacks are as deep as you could expect. The futuristic world comes up wonderfully for this transfer so you’ll probably end up disappointed the film doesn’t follow suit. A clean print, no visual defects and some great colours rank this one right up there with the better transfers of recent times.

The future fashion hadn't improved

Dolby Digital 5.1 is the order of the day for this release, and on the whole it sounds particularly good. Right from the start you can tell there’s going to be a glut of surround action, with everything from spaceships to gunshots to straight out dialogue bouncing around the front and rear speakers. There’s not a lot of action on behalf of the subwoofer but it occasionally sprung to life to give the action and music a much needed boost.

The music itself is quite impressive. Produced by a man named John Powell, who has been behind some impressive musical scores over the years including Face/Off, Chicken Run and the re-make of The Bourne Identity. This one has a great little poppish feel about it, although there are times when it does get a little too over the top for it’s own good. Nevertheless I think Powell’s done his best with this one and certainly makes it a great soundtrack to listen to over the din that is the script.

Not a bad little extras package here, made to look even better by some great little animated menus perpetuating the futuristic feel.

From the top we’ve got the cast & crew section, which gives us a rundown on the film highlights of eight of the cast members but doesn’t shed any light on the crew at all. Not much substance in here.

Next is a fluffy little piece on the making of the music video, which is a track by a band called IMX. The song is called “Aint No Need” and is used somewhere in the film. We get interviews with the band and director, clips from behind the scenes and clips from the movie as well. Following on from that we get the complete music video of the song, which thankfully looks great considering the very expensive production values employed for the clip.

Also included are four additional scenes, which are of reasonable quality and feature a play all facility to watch them in succession. Most of it is just similar to the rest of the film but looks like it was cut for time reasons so that the audience didn’t completely fall asleep. Two scenes feature Mogan and the other two are just a little more detail about Peter Boyle’s character, Rowland.

Rounding out the extras package is the theatrical trailer which makes the film look a lot more exciting than it really is. Short but sweet. There is also some DVD-ROM content to play around with as well, so chuck the disc into your PC to check it out.

No amount of alcohol could make things better...

No wonder those behind this movie held it in Hollywood limbo for the best part of two years. There was never a right time to release it, guys, so the impressive video and audio can’t make up for a very lame and unfunny movie. Some extras spice up the package but even they don’t hold much in the way of entertainment. Murphy fans might get the slightest kick out of this but even they may be disappointed by a more serious turn in a supposed comedy. Let’s hope he can salvage something out of a waning career.