Judging from the packaging, the straight-to-DVD Loaded seems to be getting marketed somewhere between Layercake and The Fast and the Furious. I believe it would have been better marketed along the lines of a teen movie with guns since this film is nothing but a showcase for Jesse Metcalfe (the gardener from Desperate Housewives).
Metcalfe plays Tristan Price, an appropriate name for a rich, Malibu kid getting caught up with the wrong crowd. While his parents are upstanding citizens, Tristan has gotten into trouble in the past and is now living a conservative, by-the-book lifestyle at his parents' home, even though he's 25.
The first six minutes are used to set up Tristan's back story, and then enter the Furious. The next half hour is a showcase for the hot cars, hot women, and fast living of the L.A. party scene as Tristan celebrates his birthday. A plot need not apply here.
Predictably, Tristan starts messing around with hard drugs and gets himself in trouble, allowing a group of hard-partying drug dealers to entice him. Corey Large, who also helped produce and write this independent film, stars as Sebastian, the leader of the dealers, whose lifestyle is extremely appealing to Tristan. The lovely Nathalie Kelley adds her own breed of enticement as sexy stripper April, and Vinnie Jones (inexplicably) rounds out the U.K. gangster movie aspect as big boss Mr. Black.
After Tristan's in too deep, the bad guys begin to threaten his family until it all comes to a head. Predictable showdowns follow.
The main issue with this film is the writing; it just isn't very good. The dialogue is atrocious and vapid, with a million lines that sound like, "Yeah, man, dude, whatever, bro." However, this is exceptional filmmaking if L.A. culture really is this shallow. The plot itself, when it can be found, is pretty predictable and boring. You've seen this before, only executed better. Even the cliché moment where the bad guys comes home to meet the family, posing as a benevolent friend, failed to feel threatening.
Alan Pao's direction is standard. The camerawork is flashy, and there is lots of Tony Scott editing, with crazy flashes during moments of duress or cocaine trips.
The moral of the Loaded seems to be somewhere along the lines of, "If you're rich enough, you can get away with anything." This predictable movie is a little bit of a mystery with a lot of gangster, action, and party movie conventions thrown in. I can't imagine anyone who isn't an adolescent female with a crush on Jesse Metcalfe watching this movie more than once.
For a movie you've never heard of, the DVD was given a surprisingly good treatment. The image is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen, and it is enhanced to fit 16x9 TV's. The image looks bright and crisp, and there is a wonderful lack of defects to the whole video.
Loaded contains cinematography by Roger Chingirian, who has worked on A-list movies, like Spider-Man 3 as a lighting electrician but still hasn't gotten his name on a winner as D.P. His lensing is at least interesting when it isn't downright beautiful. (And some of the shots are beautiful despite the lack of women in them.) Chingirian uses a lot of extreme colors, like pinks and greens, especially during the nightlife, and they are beautifully rich on this DVD.
There is only one audio track on the disc, and that is the English 5.1-surround track. It isn't put to exceptional use, unfortunately, with the only sound coming out of the back speakers being nightclub music and the musical score. The track is pretty standard, but the score itself is unexceptional, anyway.
The extras were pretty scant. There is a 10-minute, behind-the-scenes featurette. Annoyingly, it isn't enhanced for widescreen TV's, and the image quality is poor. Some of the people being interviewed weren't even mic'd correctly. Mostly, the feature consists of the actors and actresses involved giving their opinions of each other and the filmmakers. There is also an original trailer for Loaded, a short gag reel, and previews for other movies.
This is a well produced DVD of an average film. The movie's title is the deepest part of the whole package because it can actually be read multiple ways. As it pertains to this film, the term "loaded" could be referring to people being drunk or high on hard drugs, people having a lot of money, or guns having bullets in them. How exciting. Trust me, this is the only part of the motion picture that has more than one dimension. Please, only watch this DVD if you're loaded.