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Michael Caine is the star of the original 1971 Get Carter and stars in this 2000 remake with Sylvester Stallone in the lead as mob enforcer Jack Carter. The original was gritty and exciting; this one not so much. Calling it a remake at all probably sank this ship before it left the dock, as Director Stephen Kay's sloppily constructed film is mostly content to steal basic plot points from the original to modernize with dated tech and dizzy editing. Carter returns home after his brother is killed in a drunken driving accident and discovers there is more to that story than what made the papers. Mickey Rourke, Alan Cumming, Rhona Mitra, Miranda Richardson and Rachael Leigh Cook co-star in this overcooked mess, which is most notable for losing Warner Brothers a bunch of money.
I like Stallone, I really do. I am glad he has been more successful of late than he was in his career trough circa 2000. He is a likeable guy, and is certainly better than roles like this. Stallone's Carter has not seen his brother in years, but his loyalty to the man's wife (Richardson) and teenage daughter (Cook) brings him back to Seattle. There is plenty of time for awful dialogue, forced emotion and general Stallone-ness when Carter finds out his bro was having an affair with a mob mistress (Mitra) and was in deep with a loan shark (Caine, who does not look pleased to be here). There's also the matter of Jeremy Kinnear (Cumming), a tech mogul tied to an online porn ring and unsavory associates like junior mobster Cyrus Paice (Rourke). Sounds entertaining, right? It is not.
Even though Get Carter was released in 2000, it is nineties as hell. Dated does not even begin to describe the ridiculous porn sites, nightclubs and fashion that I can only assume are featured prominently for the exact opposite reason. And the editing - dear God the editing - recalls the term project of a cheeky film student. Someone should have told editor Jerry Greenberg that splicing and dicing serious scenes to a pulp makes them less credible. Kay places his camera all over the place to capture some truly "unique" shots. Forget focus, depth of field and The Rule of Thirds, Get Carter is more concerned with style. It is too bad that the film is so tacky.
The story is pretty dumb, too, despite borrowing heavily from the earlier Get Carter. Carter and niece Doreen (Cook) quickly bond, and Carter discovers the young woman underneath all the cigarette smoke and black eyeliner is an intelligent and sensitive being. She also knows more about dear old dad than she initially suggests, which is of much interest to Carter. The film desperately wants to be edgy with its sleazy, mob-backed porn undercurrent, but it winds up looking silly. The action is pedestrian, the standoffs laughable, and the acting mostly terrible. Remaking Get Carter may not have been a terrible idea, but the execution certainly was.
The 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image is good but not spectacular. The film has a recurring soft appearance - likely intentional - and there is some motion blur here and there. Fine object detail is decent, and there is quite a bit of solid texture in outdoor and brightly lit scenes. Black levels could be a bit stronger, but shadow detail is acceptable. Skin tones appear accurate and colors are muted but nicely saturated. I noticed no issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is fairly aggressive but sometimes awkwardly mixed, which is probably a source issue. There are a number of bombastic effects that make good if somewhat lopsided use of the surrounds. Dialogue is clear and the tacky score is appropriately weighty. The mix is a bit spatially vacuous at times, with effects that sound off key. Again, I suspect this is a source issue and no fault of the Blu-ray. French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital mixes are included, as are English SDH, French and Spanish subs.
The Commentary by Director Stephen Kay is not a 103-minute apology, but the director does discuss what he tried to do with this remake. It seems like Kay had good intentions that were not realized for a number of reasons, including some meddlesome producers. There are also a few Deleted Scenes (8:10/SD) and the film's Theatrical Trailer (2:30/SD).
This remake of the 1971 film was a notorious critical and financial flop in 2000 for good reason. Sylvester Stallone stars as a mob enforcer who returns home after his brother's death, only to discover the man was involved with sleazy mob enforcers and porn moguls. The film attempts to modernize the original's plot but winds up lessening the impact and dating itself. The action is uninspired, and the filmmakers went overboard with distracting editing and camera work. Skip It.
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.