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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Heaven's Burning
Heaven's Burning
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Review by Earl Cressey | posted December 20, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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Review:
Movie:
Heaven's Burning, an Australian film from 1997, stars Russell Crowe (Colin) and Youki Kudoh (Midori). Set in Australia, the film begins with a newly married Midori escaping from her husband, Yukio, on their honeymoon. He believes that she has been kidnapped, though, and calls the police. Meanwhile, Colin is hired to be the getaway driver for three brothers who plan to rob a bank. At the bank, the robbery quickly goes astray when one brother is killed inside and the police outside spot Colin in the car. The two brothers take Midori, who was there exchanging some money, hostage. They do manage to escape, and afterwards, the two brothers decide to kill Midori, as she's seen their faces. As she was innocent, Colin saves her from them, resulting in the death of another brother. They then flee, now on the run from the remaining brother and his father, Midori's husband, and the police.

With the recent success of Gladiator, a lot of Russell Crowe's older films seem to be appearing on DVD. Heaven's Burning is a decent film overall, though it does have some slow moments. It's a movie that's hard to classify, as it has elements from the action, drama, and romance genres. The performances were generally quite good, as was the story line, which had quite a few unexpected twists in it.

Picture:
Heaven's Burning is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen. The picture really needed some work, as it has lots of grain in quite a few scenes, especially those at night. There are also some marks and spots on the print as well, though the grain is the most noticeable and distracting. Flesh tones and colors are decent when the print isn't overwhelmed with grain.

Sound:
Heaven's Burning is presented in Dolby Stereo 2.0. Though two audio tracks were present on the disc, both sounded identical. The dialogue between characters is often hard to understand, even with the volume turned up quite a bit, making the English subtitles more of a necessity sometimes. This is somewhat due to the accents, but some of the dialogue is just soft.

Extras:
Heaven's Burning really surprised me with the number of extras on it. There are four deleted scenes with optional commentary; though none of them add much to the film and each is in pretty rough shape, they're nice to at least view once. Five cast and crew interviews lasting four to five minutes apiece are on here as well, and they provide a bit more background on the characters and the themes of the story. A director's reel of two short films is included, though they aren't titled and are in rough shape. A script to scene feature, which compares two opening scenes in the movie to the script and storyboards, is present, and it's neat to see. Also included are trailers for this film and Natural Born Killers, and optional subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. As a note, the subtitles must be selected from the menu; they aren't selectable once the movie starts.

Summary:
I enjoyed Heaven's Burning, but I can't imagine revisiting it often due to the poor picture quality. Its definitely at least worth a rent for fans of Russell Crowe. Recommended.

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