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Suicide Kings could be described in a nutshell as Pulp Fiction meets The Usual Suspects. It uses stylistic elements from both, but in a creative, original, and entertaining way. In this movie, six friends try to pull off a daring plan: kidnap an ex-mob boss (Christopher Walken) and use his influence to pull in enough money to pay the ransom of one of the friends' kidnapped sister. They're nervous, but confident; after all, they've thought the plan out carefully. What could possibly go wrong? Answer: everything. To say more would be to give away too much of the plot, and Suicide Kings is definitely a movie that should be savored without spoilers. Suffice it to say that the film's 103 minutes is fast-paced with many twists and turns.

The script is very well done, both in the plot, which will keep you interested and guessing the whole time, and in the dialogue, which supports distinctive characterization for each of the characters involved. There are some touches of humor, but it's not overdone; similarly, the movie is dark but never tips over into being gratuitously violent or gory.

The acting is uniformly excellent. Walken's performance is absolutely convincing; he's a perfect choice for the role of the mob boss with both a friendlier surface, and darker depths, than the young conspirators expect. The six college-age actors make a strong ensemble as well.  

Video
Artisan deserves credit for producing an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer on an inexpensive disc. The picture quality itself is not ideal. The images is a bit soft, and lacks clarity at some points. It's an adequate transfer for a movie that doesn't really have any challenging visual effects or dramatic cinematography to show off, but it would have been nicer if it were sharper.

Audio
The sound isn?t critical to the movie, as it's dialogue-driven; you'll be focusing on what's going on rather than how it sounds. Still, the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is disappointing. It?s occasionally tinny or harsh-sounding, and in other moments, not particularly impressive.

Extras
Suicide Kings has a much more substantial set of extras than would normally be expected on a low-MSRP disc. The disc includes a fairly extensive segment on alternate endings. There are two versions of the alternate endings: one that simply shows the scenes, and another that shows the scenes with commentary overlaid from the director, Peter O'Fallon. O?Fallon has some interesting insights, but feels compelled to talk constantly while the scene is being played, which means that he ends up repeating himself quite a bit. The order in which the alternate endings are presented on the disc is to show the scenes first with commentary, and then without; watching the non-commented scenes first, though, would probably make for a more interesting experience. Other extras include a commentary track with the director, O?Fallon, and the producer, Wayne Allen Rice; theatrical trailer; and cast and crew bios.

Overall
Overall, this is a definite must-buy for anyone who enjoys a good thriller, and the repeat viewing value is very high. The picture and sound are a bit disappointing, but it's an incredible deal at the suggested retail price (under $10). At this price, don't rent it - buy it.


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