Shot on a modest budget over eighteen days, Backflash is a direct-to-video & DVD feature from writer, producer, and director Phil Jones. The film stars Robert Patrick (Ray) and Jennifer Esposito (Harley), with Melissa Joan Hart (C.J.), Colm Meaney (Gin), and Mike Star appearing in supporting roles.
Ray is the owner of a small video store out in the middle of nowhere. Deciding to take a few days off in order to figure things out, he decides to travel and soon encounters Harley, a hitchhiking parolee. After awhile, she explains to him that before she was put in the joint, she and her boyfriend, Lenny, skimmed $2 million from Gin, a local gangster. To get the cash, she needs Ray to pretend he is her husband, and in exchange, he'll get half. But with both of them hiding something, nothing is as it seems, and with Gin's men slowly closing in, neither one of them might make it out with the money.
With recent direct-to-video features I've seen being less than stellar, I went into Backflash with some hesitancy. However, I was extremely surprised by Backflash, and I have to admit that I enjoyed it quite a bit. The film, especially in the final third, has quite a few twists and turns, and most of them were unexpected. With these revelations and surprises, the characters follow believable progressions, especially on the part of Patrick's Ray, which is not always the case with these types of films. One of the revelations, however, was a bit confusing, and when the movie ended, I still wasn't sure if I had pieced everything together correctly, as the director does employ quite a few flash backs and forwards.
Backflash is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer fares quite well throughout, with only a few specks and some light grain visible in a few scenes. Colors are accurate throughout, with natural flesh tones, and mostly deep blacks.
Backflash is presented in Dolby 2.0 Surround in English. With only a few action scenes, the surrounds are never very active, though they do adequately present both the film's score and the dialogue, which is always crisp and clean. I was a bit disappointed that the explosion near the film's end didn't have more "oomph!" to it, though. Optional English captions and subtitles are available.
The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary Jones. Jones explained how he shot the film on a modest budget, the locations he used, and how the film's music came together. He sheds quite a bit of light on what he was trying to achieve with the film and goes through a few differences between the finished film and what was scripted in earlier drafts. He also mentions what the lead stars brought to and changed in the finished film. Though there were a few slow spots, I enjoyed Jones's track.
Next up on the DVD are three outtakes, one special effects outtake, and one deleted scene. The deleted scene is presented much like an outtake and is in rough form. Commentary with Jones is sometimes optional and sometimes forced on these five extras. Also included are trailers for Imposter, Texas Rangers, Mexico City, Iron Monkey, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, and Zu Warriors.
Backflash is one of the better films I've seen in awhile, as it manages to be both engaging and is, at least somewhat, surprising. Buena Vista's DVD boasts an above average audiovisual presentation and a few worthwhile extras. While the film is worth watching, Backflash is more of a rental than a purchase, due to the high MSRP.