Niki’s Crap DVD Clearout Review Extravaganza!
About seven years ago I bought a DVD player from the Blockbuster in Finchley. It cost me £200. I could have got a much better one for that sort of money but you see this one came with 50 free movies! Bargain!
Well the DVD player is long gone but the movies remain for two reasons, firstly and ironically the cheap double sided discs would not play properly in the cheap DVD player they came free with and secondly, despite starring such luminaries as Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey and Russell Crowe they are uniformly awful. Seriously, the biggest film of the bunch is The Lawn Mower Man!
As the years have rolled by they have sat on my shelf in the ‘I’ll get round to them some day’ pile and what better reason to get stuck into them than to inflict my reviews on you gentle people.
As well as a review I shall be giving them a mark out of five which will not only be an indication of quality but a prediction of their very immediate future:
***** Might actually keep
**** Attempt to sell on Ebay
*** Straight to the nearest charity shop
** Straight to the nearest bin
* Will give away as a gift to anyone who makes me listen to Coldplay
So here goes…
Harvey Keitel is bad lieutenant (no seriously).
I should first mention that these DVDs are, in the main divided up into boxes of four movies all within the same genre, for our first experiment (sorry it does feel a little like I’ve condemned myself to my own personal Mystery Science Theatre) I have chosen something from the Action Films box. I shall try to mix up as much as possible throughout the weeks for sake of interest (and self preservation).
So here we have Corrupt, a 1983 movie which the box describes as ‘a gritty and powerful police thriller’ before completely spoiling the ending. Well, it certainly is gritty, in all my days I have never seen such an appalling DVD transfer, I saw better pirate videos back in the 80’s. The colours bleed terribly into each other, the dialogue is muddy and hard to hear, when the soundtrack (written by Ennio Morricone no less) gets too loud it crackles and pops and at one point a thick static bar actually rolled across the screen, it was like it was shot in VHS Nostalgia-Vision. Probably something to do with the movie being public domain meaning you or I could make a copy and sell it if we wanted to, this might also explain why the picture of Keitel on the cover is from a different movie.
Anyway onto the plot, Harvey Keitel plays a tough NYC cop. He lives in a small apartment by himself all the while sharing a spacious, luxury apartment overlooking Central Park with a fellow police officer. Why this is is never fully explained though it has something to do with police corruption, unfortunately as this becomes quite a major plot point the haziness of it all is rather frustrating, are they stealing money from the police department? Are they lovers or merely rather odd room mates?
While all of this vagary is abounding someone in a ski mask is going round killing cops with a bread knife though judging by the police’s reactions you’d think they were merely swearing at the elderly. It becomes apparent that Harvey is being followed and this eventually leads to a confrontation at his apartment by a creepy young man who claims he is the cop killer. The man is played somewhat patchily by Sex Pistol and butter enthusiast John Lydon. Now Lydon has always come across as somewhat psychotic, it’s kinda his thing, so it is ironic that in a film where he is playing a psycho he comes across as more of a wet blanket.Harveydoesn’t believe old Johnny Boy’s story for a second but through fear that Johnny will expose whatever corruption it is that got him this apartment he ties him up and locks him in the bathroom. Harvey then decides to investigate Johnny’s story and it turns out he is the heir to a small fortune as the only living relative of his elderly Grandmother (played by the wonderful Sylvia Sidney, (Mars Attacks / Beetlejuice)).
Soon his partner, lover, housemate, whatever finds out about his prisoner and turns up demanding he set him free, Harvey accidentally kills him and tries to frame it on Johnny who then runs off after Harvey’s gun fails to go off.Harveythen gets drunk, Johnny turns up on his doorstep and ends up living with him as his sort of guilty conscience / nagging housewife. All this time a reporter is trying to get a story on the killer and corruption within the police force, she might also be the girlfriend ofHarvey’s now deceased friend, again this was never made clear though she is clearly upset when he dies.
Harvey sleeps with the reporter, Johnny convinces him to kill her but he instead gives her his gun, Johnny then ties himself up in the bath so it looks like Harvey is the killer then convinces him to cut his throat while revealing he was really the killer just before the police arrive.
If you thought this review was muddled then you’d be right. While this film has a certain quality it was never easy to decipher anyone’s true motives for doing anything, it was all just a bit of a muddle, the choppy editing did little to help either.
The performances were on the whole OK, even Lydon wasn’t as awful as I expected him to be, sure it was an uneven performance but it was an uneven film so at least they were consistent. When the soundtrack wasn’t popping it grooved along in a nice 70’s exploitation kinda way, all synth bass and horns, but seriously how many soundtracks from that era featured a single note bass line playing in the rhythm of a heartbeat?
Overall this film didn’t have too much to recommend it, for a film in the action box it had little action, the majority of the film was people talking to each other in sparsely decorated rooms. Though if you’re a fan of that era of gritty cop dramas you might get a kick out of it plus the chance to see a rare acting role for Lydon may hold any Sex Pistols fans out there.
So there you have it, the first film in our run of 50 was a decidedly average one, nothing like starting a new feature with a fizzle eh?
Next week rubber dinosaurs attack army men. Dare you miss it?