A man going under the none-so-subtle codename of gun has recently been kicked out of the big business company that he, as a computer expert, helped to not only found, but make successful in the first place. He stews on the issue a little while before he comes up with a great way to get them back – he figures if he can find the right man to help him out, he can use his skills to get into the office and scoop out a big stash of cash that the company has buried in their vaults that they won't be able to do anything about because it was acquired through less than legal means.
So Gun sets about looking for an accomplice. He puts the word out quietly and does some snooping around on the internet when he makes contact with a locksmith looking for a big easy deal who calls himself Key. They set up a meeting, things look good, and so they decide to make a go of Gun's plan and get rich quick while simultaneously getting revenge on the company that took Gun's job away from him for all the wrong reasons.
Once they get past the planning phase though, they find out a little more about one another than maybe they should have and tensions between the two criminals begin to rise. They're willing to overlook this though, as they've got dollar signs in their eyes, and off they go to do the dirty deed They make their way into the building successfully but soon enough, Gun's planning proves to be imperfect and the pair of thieves find themselves trapped in an elevator with no way out. To make matters worse, there might be someone above ground who knows what's going on below the office…
Doubles is a solid thriller from Japanese director Satoshi Isaka who, oddly enough, has a reputation for directing solid thrillers. He allows the film to build at a decent pace – fast enough to be exciting, and slow enough to let us get to know the characters a little bit as the events that transpire in the film seem to be becoming more and more stacked against them. Once things get bad in the elevator, Isaka lets the tension mount and a very effective air of claustrophobia beings to permeate the film that further enhances the bleak outlook that the two semi-cooperative crooks share.
The cinematography by Tetsuro Sano (who has worked with Isaka on a few other projects) is slick and polished and it gives the movie a very nice, high tech look that captures the feel of the locale that the thieves become trapped in without making it feel to alien of futuristic. Plenty of sly and subtle camera movements enhance the personally traits that they two men begin to exhibit underground and the look of the film really helps make the performances from the two leads, Kenichi Hagiwara and Kazuma Suzuki, all the better.
If Doubles has one flaw it's that it feels a little familiar. It borrows ideas from other, better known heist movies and as such, if you've seen a few of them, you might see how it's all going to end before the finale plays out which ruins a bit of the suspense. If the writers had gone for a little more originality in the script this one would be really quite worthwhile but as such, it's not as good as it could have been (though it's still a very good time killer and worth checking out if you get the chance).
Doubles receives a respectable 1.85.1 anamorphic widescreen transfer on this release. While the overall image is pretty solid, some of the darker scenes look too dark and the picture is just a little bit muddy. When the lights are on, the image is fine though and thankfully that's most of the movie. No serious problems with edge enhancement at all, and no noticeable print damage appear on screen. Some of the darker scenes exhibit a tiny bit of mpeg compression but you've got to be looking for it to see it. Overall, the movie looks good.
The Japanese language Dolby Digital 2.0 sound mix is problem free. Dialogue is pretty strong, sound effects and background music are mixed into the spectrum nicely, and the optional English language subtitles are clean, clear, and easy to read and free of any typographical errors.
Special features on this release are limited to a mediocre still gallery and a selection of trailers for other Pathfinder releases (but no trailer for the feature film itself).
A decent crime/thriller from Japan, Doubles gets a decent DVD release from Pathfinder. There could have been more extra features and the video quality could have been better but as it stands this is an acceptable release of an entertaining movie. Asian cult buffs might want to pick this one up, otherwise it's well worth a rental.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.