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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Blue Steel
Blue Steel
MGM // R // December 3, 2002
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted December 4, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A very talented director of action and drama whose films often seem highly praised but little-seen, Kathryn Bigelow helmed this fair 1990 actioner, which was her second film after the cult 1987 hit, "Near Dark". Although she'd had some success with horror, nothing (this film was completed a year after her stint on the sitcom "Anything But Love") really indicated that Jamie Lee Curtis has potential as an action star, but she does well here. Other than Curtis in the lead, I was somewhat disapointed with this film - given that I'm a fan of the director, I found this effort to be her least engaging.

Curtis plays Megan Turner, a police officer who finds herself in the middle of a dangerous situation on her first day when she spots a criminal holding up a grocery store. Although she stops the robbery, the police can't find the robber's gun and she gets in trouble. The gun is grabbed by stockbroker Eugene Hunt (Ron Silver), a psychotic who manages to leave her name behind near his victims.

He manags to get himself in her presence and she eventually falls for him, not knowing that he's the psychotic that the police are searching for. When she realizes who he is, she tries to get him behind bars, but he escapes on technicalities and continues to try and find a way into her life. The chase and the constant violence become tiring and hard to watch.

"Blue Steel" offers Bigelow's usual terrific, sleek visual style, but the screenplay isn't always well-crafted. There are a few too many questionable plot twists that are hard to believe and dialogue in general is never memorable. Still, the performances are strong: Curtis makes an unexpectedly good action star, able to show both an emotional softer side and a harder, tougher side. Silver is almost a bit too convincingly nuts as the bad guy. Although this film seems to have its fans, I still feel that Bigelow's next couple of films, "Point Break" and the techno-thriller "Strange Days" (the latter is still, in my opinion, one of the more underrated films of the 90's) - provide more intense action and more of a balance of ideas and fascinating visuals, respectively.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Blue Steel" is presented by MGM/UA in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 pan & scan. The anamorphic widescreen presentation is one of the better ones I've seen of a recent catalog title from the studio. Sharpness and detail are quite good, but not perfect: while some scenes are crisp and well-defined, there are other scenes where the image is a bit soft (although this seems to be partially due to the cinematography by Amir Mokri, "Coyote Ugly").

Aside from a bit of softness, there were few things to be concerned about in regards to this presentation. The print seemed to be in great shape, with only a few little specks seen on occasion and a bit of light grain present. Edge enhancement was rarely an issue, while artifacts were not noticed. The film's color palette is on the subdued side, but colors seemed to be accurately rendered and crisp, with no smearing or other problems. Black level was solid, as well.

SOUND: "Blue Steel" is presented with a 2.0 track that is simply decent. Dialogue sounds a bit soft and muddled at times, while Brad Fiedel's score sounds a bit dated at this point. A 5.1 remix may have helped things a bit.

EXTRAS: The trailer.

Final Thoughts: "Blue Steel" offers a fine performance from Curtis and stylish direction from Bigelow, but the screenplay is below average, with hardly any development/backstory to the characters and some plot points that are difficult to believe. MGM has put together a nice DVD edition, with fine audio/video quality, but little in the way of supplements. Still, when Bigelow's superior
Strange Days is available in somewhat of a special edition from Fox for the same $14.99 price, it's easy to recommend "Days" over this film.

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