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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Club
The Club
Vanguard // Unrated // November 30, 2004
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Carl Davis | posted January 31, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The Club is a DV, direct-to-video import from the UK, to add to ever growing pile of "Britsta" wannabes. For every Snatch there are a dozen The Clubs. It's cool though, after all I am an Anglophile at heart, so I'll always give these films a chance to impress me. Sadly, The Club did little more than unspool over the course of a tedious 80 minutes and even with generous amounts of nudity and a pretty screwy twist at the end, still find myself cringing at the idea of viewing it again. First time writer/director/producer, Tony Balogun (pronounced BLOW-GUN?), sure had a promising idea with a club where "anything" goes, but it just goes nowhere fast.

A blessedly brief set-up lays the groundwork for The Club, namely some shady goings on involving a mysterious club, Club Night, a string of beautiful, murdered women, and a female cop with a decidedly personal stake in the case. After which we are introduced to Leon (Treva Etienne), an antiques dealer who doesn't shy away from the darker side of his profession. He is approached by Carl (Arnaud Adam channeling a "Baldwin", any "Baldwin", take your pick), one of the Club Night's inner-circle who asks him to research and appraise a rare and seemingly valuable dagger. In exchange for his services, he will be given a Bronze Membership to Club Night, which he is assured, is much more valuable than mere money, as they only cater to the elite of the elite.

Leon accepts the offer after all he doesn't seem to have much to lose. We watch him shamble through the remains of his life, which involves chasing Prozac with Whiskey, visiting his Sister's grave and reminiscing about a lost lover. His first visit to Club Night tells him all he needs to know, drugs flow as freely as the alcohol does and The Countess keeps a hand-picked gaggle of gorgeous women on display for the discerning members. A woman, Katherine, is given to Leon for his pleasure, but things are not as they seem. She understands that he isn't like the other members of the Club and decides to enlist his aid to escape The Countess' clutches. Unfortunately, before Leon can do anything to assist her, he's forced to watch Katherine brutally raped and murdered by one of the Club's more sadistic members. To make matters worse, Leon is framed for the murder.

The premise of an underground organization powerful enough to operate in full view of the law, make people disappear and kill at will, is not a new one, and sadly, The Club doesn't offer up any new ideas. Once Leon has been implicated in Katherine's murder, he knows that he must go to Club Night and find evidence that will clear his name. There are a couple twists and turns along the way, including a tacked on "Revenge" element that really didn't do anything to satisfy. Interesting characters are glimpsed, but barely have a thing to do within the context of the film. Even the film's London setting is squandered by focusing on a generic "Eurotrash" rogue's gallery.

The DVD:

Picture: The Club is presented in a 16:9 widescreen presentation that looks pretty good. Overall, the image is sharp, but does have that "look" that I tend to associate with films from the UK. I'm sure you know what I'm referring to, but I've never really found the cause for it… something having to do with PAL? Anyway, it's not a bad thing, and honestly I've come to expect it from my UK DVDs.

Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround track sounds fine.

Extras: This DVD contains a "Making Of…" featurette and a hand full of Deleted Scenes, but the promised Director's commentary and Stills Gallery listed on the back of the box are nowhere to be found.

Conclusion: The Club isn't a terrible film, but it does fall into the trap of its own genre conventions. Instead of showing us something new, it just rehashes storylines and plot devices we've seen a hundred times before. Even with some 7th inning twists thrown in for good measure, the additions to the film are too little, too late. I have a hard time even suggesting The Club as a rental, but it's definitely one to catch when it eventually shows up in late night rotation on "Skinemax."

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