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[Official SYnposis] A superb cast star in cult director Paul W.S.Anderson's (Alien Vs. Predator, Resident Evil) controversial and relentless journey into a futuristic world of ram-raiding and joy-riding.

Free from prison, teenage tearaway Billy (Jude Law) teams up with soul mate Jo (Sadie Frost) and sets out to reclaim his title as ram-raider numero uno. But while he's been inside, gang rival Tommy (Sean Pertwee) has taken over Billy's turf and before long the two vicious, young hoodlums are locked bumper to bumper in a violent high-speed battle for supremacy
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 Shopping
Ignoring that Paul W.S.Anderson is listed as "Cult Director" on the official synopsis (?), Shopping actually goes a long way to prove that he was doing his usual kind of thing way before he got to do it on a budget for millions to be disappointed by. Essentially Paul W.S.Anderson seems to have become the king of adapting gaming flicks ( Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat etc) and when it's not a direct game adaptation he still manages to slide in gaming rules, such as the "pick ups" in Death Race and the much diluted almost Final Fantasy spin on The Three Musketeers. Anyway, it seems he loved doing that even on his first movie too, which throws out plenty of references to old arcade classic Outrun but to no real effect.

Sadly though, and with much the same results as Paul W.S.Anderson's later work, Shopping starts out like a high octane action game but soon hits that slow lesser enjoyable cut away sequence feeling or that annoyance you feel when you're watching a friend play a good game badly and you just want to take the controller away and play it yourself.

 Shopping
It's all very tabloid headline cliché in its design. Joy riders, smash and grabs, ram raiding gangs of youths and supposedly mayhem but, it's feels so off point, even when you factor in the age of the film. It's sort of like when the media pinpoint Grand Theft Auto as the worst thing ever to happen to teenage boys yet are oblivious to the fact wilder games such as Saints Row exists. I mean, honestly Shopping probably never really shocked anyone because it never feels at all real. It feels more like a parent's idea of the bad side of the track their kid could end up on based on things they've seen in a film or read in a paper rather than anything anywhere near genuine, which i think is the intention based on the extra features (more on that later)

Sadie Frost and Jude Law are wildly miscast and while there's a sense Law is maybe, just maybe channelling a bit of Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange in his clearly posh Brit wayward teen attitude, this was at a point in Law's career where he never really felt all that real or believable on screen and fell too heavy on the side of cocky. The less said about Sadie Frost here the better really.

 Shopping

Video


The video here isn't far off VHS in terms of quality, at least on initial glance. It's grubby and soft and full of lighting that is either barely noticeable as a presence or blasts out details. Also the dark shadows crush rather than define and the smoky image at times just looks awful. Grain is heavy, colours are often closer to orange than they probably ever intended to be or so moonlit blue they make the film look like a 80's pop band's first music video. There are slight enhancements in places but really this is a Blu-ray that barely even knows it's HD.

There's not much, if anything to praise here beyond the image being fairly clean and clear of damage but when the print is this dated and unloved that's not really anything could be considered a saving grace.

 Shopping

Audio


The 5.1 track uses the rears well for score but makes the entire affair sound far too thin for its own good and is close to the effect of listening to music in a bathroom. Anyway the stereo track is much better. Tighter, stronger and generally much better in selling the world we find ourselves in.

Dialogue is still fairly airy and sound effects are blown away by the pumping soundtrack most of the time. Generally speaking the strong soundtrack still ends up suffering a bit as it remains entirely separate from the events on screen. Events like the the characters being in a club with loud music or whatever else, sound odd and unrelated to the thumping beats despite the dark club locations, its really quite odd.

 Shopping

Extras


The 'Cast and Crew Interviews' (07:07 SD) are a bit weird because the image and clips from the film actually looks a bit better than the presentation of the film on the disc at times. Despite the age of the extras, the image seems sharper and more detailed even though its just an old bit of press kit. Anyway, this isn't really interviews, this is more of an EPK really and one that tries to convince us, this world of fast cars and teen crime might be closer to reality than we think.

Next up is 'Unedited B-roll' (06:12) and the trailer.

 Shopping

Overall


I don't think I'd ever seen Shopping in its entirety until now and there were many points when I could picture my younger self losing patience (much like my older self does with most of Paul W.S. Anderson's films now) but it was an interesting watch and a shock to think this hit as far back as 1994. Of course the aged visuals soon remind you of that fact as this Blu-ray release is not a pretty one. The audio track is okay (though avoid the 5.1 track as it's super hollow) and the archived extras are short and only worth a look at how young everyone looks. I remember Shopping being considered a fairly big deal at the time, I guess it was all hype.


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