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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Escape Under Pressure
Escape Under Pressure
HBO
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted December 31, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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CineSchlock-O-Rama

B-filmmakers have been jostling scale models of ships in swimming pools for decades now. But, today, some are getting with the digital revolution and relying less on fishing line and fog machines. About five years ago, a couple fellas out in Burbank started an independent outfit called U.F.O. as they reckoned there's heaping piles of cash in feeding the worldwide demand for effects-driven action pictures. Escape Under Pressure (1999, 91 minutes) is one of those films created in part by their in-house team of Jolt-Cola crazed digital artists.

The movie: Back in 1454, a broad in a metal breast-plate buried what looked like a Franklin Mint statute of Olive Oil. On a present-day campus, a deceptively sexy professor (Larissa Miller) rattles on about the long-lost artifact and the Isle of Lesbos. After class, an amorous student invites her to travel to Greece with him, to see his homeland and presumably his loins. At first she passes, but then relents after getting in a fight with her workaholic hubby (Rob Lowe) who's off building a dam someplace. He decides to surprise her in Greece, but stumbles into the middle of a greedy artifacts collector's plot to steal that statue someone finally dug up. But the plan is WAY too complicated, as for some reason, it involves SINKING a ship, then sending frogmen in after Olive Oil -- when there's already a prissy mercenary (Harry Van Gorkum) on board with a bunch of goons who could just GRAB the dang thing. But if they did that, it'd be awful hard to explain the submarine battle and no reason for those groovy explosions and rushing-water effects. Marvel at how Rob's character is somehow able to save the day by RUNNING AWAY while also enduring constant nagging from his whiney wife.

Notables: No breasts. 18 corpses. Deaf child in peril. Multiple explosions. Gratuitous slow mo. Spear-gun to the back. Two-fisted gun shooting.

Quotables: John thinks they should just give the thugs what they want, "Trust me. If the people of Greece were in this position, I'm sure they'd understand." He also thinks he can pilot a submarine, "I read an article on mini-subs in Popular Mechanics, how hard can it be?" Crowley is angry and English, "Bollocks! That Yank's got more lives than a bloody Irishman!"

Time codes: John almost misses his ride (24:00). This must be why he stays on the road so much (42:15). Time-honored "drop the gun" stand off (1:01:28).

Audio/Video: The work of visual effects animator David Ridlen and his team holds up really well on this disc. Their sequences are the most interesting, as the wispy plot is largely an excuse for desktop wizardry. The flick is presented in fullframe with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio that's especially robust during the bellow-decks gun battle.

Extras: Cast bios. Static menus without audio. It would have been nice if they had included trailers for other U.F.O. features like: Falcon Down, Daybreak, Deep Core, Interceptor Force, Storm, Velocity Trap, Total Reality or Python a nature-run-seriously-amok flick. But HBO's disc doesn't even have the teaser real for Under Pressure.

Final thought: Purty-boy Rob Lowe as an action hero? It's even goofier than it sounds. Rent it.

Check out CineSchlock-O-Rama
for additional reviews and bonus features.

G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.

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