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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Central Park Drifter
Central Park Drifter
Media Blasters // R // December 11, 2001
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Mike Long | posted January 5, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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If you scan the reviews here at DVDTalk.com, you'll no doubt come across dozens in which the film in question received a low rating, yet the DVD got high marks. One of the great aspects of DVD is that a fine audio and video presentation can make a bad movie seem somewhat better. In contrast, a disappointing transfer can suck any redeeming qualities out of a movie. Such is the case with "Central Park Drifter".

The Movie

(If "Central Park Drifter" sounds vaguely familiar, but you can't place it, that's because it was originally released in the U.S. as "Graveyard Shift".)

"Central Park Drifter" tells the story of Stephen Tsepes (Silvio Oliviero), a centuries-old vampire who cruises the night-time streets in a cab, searching for victims. These victims are exclusively women who want to die, or are about to die. Yet, Stephen doesn't merely murder these women, they become vampires as well.

One night, Stephen meets Michelle (Helen Papas), a music-video director who is at the end of her rope. Her husband is having an affair and she has just been told that she has a terminal disease. Stephen takes pity on her, and prepares to kill her. But, his pity turns to passion as he finds himself falling in love with Michelle. This loss of control allows his previous victims to begin running amok, creating a vampire epidemic. Stephen must decide whether or not he can change his entire existence for Michelle.

I can still remember the accolades that "Central Park Drifter" received upon its initial release for being fresh and exciting. Well, those days are gone...long gone. One of the film's minor problems is its incredibly dated look. There can be no doubt whatsoever that this movie was shot in 1986! From the clothing to the overuse of smoke and colored lights, this has to be what Joel Schumacher's dreams look like. Director Gerard Ciccoritti does attempt to pump some style into the film, and many shots are well-composed, but, in the end, the movie looks like an early attempt at a music video.

And that's just the beginning of the problems in "Central Park Drifter". The acting is just barely above porno-movie level. Many of the actors mumble their lines, or deliver them with little-to-no emotion. Lead actor Oliviero is guilty of this, and he has zero on-screen presence. This lack of acting prowess does nothing to help a script that is confusing and hackneyed. The main storyline may sound pretty straight-forward, but the character's motivations remain vague throughout. We never learn exactly why Stephen falls in love with Michelle, or why this love makes the female vampires go on a killing spree. In addition, the dialogue in the movie is laughably bad. And any movie that brings in a fan-boy at the end in order to save the day cannot be given high marks.

Video

The questionable nature of "Central Park Drifter" (which never features Central Park) is made even worse by the transfer offered on this DVD. The film is presented full-frame. The image is grainy and dark. While some of the colors look good (even scene is bathed in red or blue), many of the shots are very soft and the colors bleed into one another. At other times, the picture is too dark to discern what is happening on-screen. Overall, this transfer on this DVD is no better than one found on a VHS copy.

Audio

The "Central Park Drifter" DVD features a Dolby Digital mono audio track. For the most part, this track delivers clear dialogue, but in some scenes, the speech is muffled. The track sports a slight, low-level hiss. The music sounds a bit tinny, and is often louder than the dialogue. While not as bad as the video, the audio on this DVD isn't very good either.

Extras

The only extras on this DVD are bonus trailers for other Media Blasters titles.

There may have been a time when "Central Park Drifter" was a grittier alternative to "The Lost Boys", but today, it plays like a relic. And the atrocious transfer found on this DVD doesn't help matters at all. Do yourself a favor and take the bus instead.
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