Seann William Scott (American Pie, Road Trip) plays Ben McGewen,
a small time hustler who owe a huge sum of money to a mobster, Gregory
(Lou Diamond Phillips.) Gregory will forgive the debt if Ben steals
an ancient Chinese statue from a bank vault. If he fails, Gregory
will kill him. As the movie begins, six months of planning are about
to pay off. Ben rented a club that is next door to the bank, and
is going to hold a rave. While the people are dancing the night away,
he and his team are going to circumvent the security, blow a hole in the
basement wall, sneak into the bank, and steal the statue. Unfortunately,
everything that can go wrong does.
I was fairly apprehensive when I received this disc to review.
I hadn't heard a lot about this movie, but it was supposedly a heist movie
that was funny. It was released straight to DVD in the US.
And it stared Stifler from American Pie. Ohh, that didn't sound good.
Don't get me wrong, I liked Scott in American Pie and Road
Trip, but he's played the exact same role in just about every movie
he's been in. So I was expecting this to be a wacky comedy that was
pinned onto a crime backdrop. I was wrong. This is first and
foremost a drama, that just happens to be funny. Scott does a great
job as Ben, much better than I imagined. He plays his character with
the right amounts of confidence and worry. He doesn't overact, or
play up the humor in the roll, which would have been easy to do.
The movie itself is very entertaining. There is a lot of humor
in this drama, but that doesn't distract from the seriousness of the situation.
Its about equal parts of Fight Club and James Bond with a little
bit of After Hours thrown in, for good measure. The movie
has a fast pace and the plot travels forward at a good clip but not so
fast that it becomes hectic.
Lou Diamond Phillips was excellent as Gregory, the gangster boss.
He plays the role of a powerful and sadistic crook very well. Gregory
is calm and genteel at times, and psychotic at others. Phillips is
able to fold both those traits into a single character and make it seem
natural. Dave Foley, of Kids in the Hall fame, is good in his supporting
role as an FBI agent also.
One thing that I was really happy to see was an accurately depicted
rave. It doesn't happen often. The played the right type of
music (not pop stuff you'd hear on a radio) and the club was dark.
I hate when directors stage raves in brightly lit rooms and the latest
top ten hit blaring. It just isn't like that. Haven't these
guys ever been to a club?
The movie's style was very reminiscent of a music video. There
was a lot of quick cutting, abrupt zooms, and many jump cuts. This
worked splendidly giving the movie a kinetic feeling, just like being at
a rave. The co-writers/directors created a great feel for the film.
I really only have two grips with the movie. The first is the
title. Stark Raving Mad could be anything, but with Scott's
name attached, it implies wild and wacky party humor, which the film isn't.
I realize the creators wanted to make a play on words with the rave in
the movie, but I think they made a poor choice.
The other thing that didn't work for me was character of Ben's friend,
Rikki. I never did understand why he was involved. Timm Sharpe
does a good job as the bumbling sidekick, but it just wasn't realistic
that someone would trust their life to this nervous, twitchy, idiot.
I thought the movie would have been tighter without this character.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable film. It's not a great cinematic
achievement by any means, but it is a really fun movie. The plot
is strong enough to hold your interest, and the script manages to be funny
without turning the whole production into camp. The ending worked perfectly
You can view this DVD with either an English or French 5.1 mix.
The sound quality is good. No distortion or noise, and the dialog
is reproduced accurately. The mix on this movie is excellent.
Too often the rear channels are used for big explosions and loud party
scene, but ignored during the rest of the time. That doesn't happen
with this movie. There is music coming from all five speakers
for the scenes that take place in the club, of course, but it doesn't collapse
into a stereo mix once the flashy scenes are over. There is sound
emanating from the rear channels for most of the movie. It does a
very good job of putting the viewer in the middle of a scene.
This movie is in widescreen and enhanced for 16:9 televisions.
The video quality was pretty good. Taking place in a club at night,
just about all of the scenes are dark, as the directors intended.
So colors are not bright and things aren't vivid, but they are accurately
reproduced. The blacks are dark black, and a good amount of detail
is visible in the shadows. There were a few minor digital artifacts
lurking in the backgrounds, but they were very minor.
Behind the Scenes: An eight
minute feature were the actors talk about their characters. Better
than the average fluff piece, but there's not a lot of in depth interviewing
you can do in eight minutes.
Commentary: The two people
who wrote and directed the film together, Drew Daywalt and David Schneider,
are joined by Seann William Scott for the commentary track. The three
of them do a good job commenting on the film. They give a lot of
background information on the actors in the film and tell a lot of anecdotes
about the shoot. There is not a lot of technical information given.
They do manage to talk through the whole film with nary a break, and managed
to be amusing throughout.
Story Boards: Story board
drawings to four scenes from the movie.
There is also a trailer to the movie.
I was suprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. It's not great
art, but neither are the James Bond movies. Seann William Scott does
a surprisingly good job. If you are in the mood for a good, fun romp,
you should check this movie out. Highly Recommended.