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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Out of Time (Special Edition) (Blu-ray)
Out of Time (Special Edition) (Blu-ray)
MVD Entertainment Group // PG-13 // October 30, 2018 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by William Harrison | posted November 27, 2018 | E-mail the Author
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THE FILM:

I saw Denzel Washington's Out of Time in theaters back in October 2003 and then forgot about it for 15 years. It is certainly not a terrible movie, but it feels very much like the dated and overcooked early 2000s thriller that it is. Directed by Carl Franklin, who has only shot one movie since, Out of Time sees Washington play the chief of police in a fictional Florida Keys town. Chief Matthias Whitlock is divorcing detective Alex Diaz-Whitlock (Eva Mendes) and sleeping with the married Anne-Merai Harrison (Sanaa Lathan). When Harrison and her abusive husband Chris (Dean Cain) turn up dead, Whitlock becomes the beneficiary of Harrison's life insurance policy and the chief suspect in her murder. Mildly diverting and offering decent, if somewhat melodramatic, lead performances, Out of Time is neither a classic nor a disaster.

I would say the film might be more satisfying if the plot twists were not so heavily forecast, but that may be armchair quarterbacking. In its defense, I don't remember the twists being so obvious upon first viewing, but the decade-and-a-half between now and then may have sharpened my Spidey sense for silly plot points. In 2003, Washington was coasting by on films like John Q and Antwone Fisher after his stellar 1999-2001 lineup of The Hurricane, Remember the Titans and Training Day. His work in Out of Time is less impressive - and was no doubt less demanding - than his Alonzo Harris performance in Training Day that earned him an Oscar. The veteran actor appears to enjoy soaking up the sun and being in the company of several beautiful women here, and who can blame him? This is the perfectly serviceable kind of PG-13 thriller that ran in heavy rotation on cable channels during those years.

Before Harrison's house goes up in flames, she takes Whitlock to her doctor's appointment, where she finds out her cancer has returned and is likely incurable. She wants to keep up her ruse with the violent Chris, but Whitlock decides to steal cash from the evidence room to front several expensive last-ditch experimental treatments for Harrison. She never makes those appointments, and all signs point to Whitlock as being involved in her death. With the help of his drunken buddy Chae (John Billingsley), Whitlock tries to get out in front of his estranged wife's investigation of the homicides. Simultaneously, the Feds come looking for the money that was in evidence as part of a drug trafficking investigation, and Whitlock realizes it may be in the hands of Harrison's killer. There are a lot of secondary plot threads that weave into the main story, and, while all the back and forth interplay may sound complicated, David Collard's script is fairly blunt. That is not to say the thriller elements do not work, but they never hit with the force I hoped for.

Washington is good here, as he usually is, and elevates the material. Lathan does a nice job playing scared of Cain's football-star-turned-wife-beater, and Cain seems to enjoy using his best "but was dinner ready?" smirk in early scenes. Mendes is not given much to work with, but Billingsley is a nice, neurotic balance to Washington's cool. Things are pretty tight and interesting in the opening half of Out of Time, and it is only when the movie starts to show its hand that the proceedings unravel a bit. By the time the network-TV-quality climax concludes, much of the goodwill I had toward the film had dissipated. Nevertheless, the talented cast makes the film worth watching, and they appear to enjoy playing cops and robbers in the beautiful Florida setting. If you do not remember much about Out of Time I sympathize, as it ranks nowhere near the top of Washington's acting resume.

THE BLU-RAY:

PICTURE:

Out of Time was released on Blu-ray in 2009, and this re-release from MVD as part of its "Marquee Collection" basically recycles that transfer, which was likely culled from the master originally used for the DVD release. The 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image looks dated, as it did then, and even a new MPEG-4 encode cannot overcome all the master's problems. Detail varies throughout; some scenes offer impressive fine-object detail and deep backgrounds, while others suffer from softness and a smeary, gauzy appearance. Colors run hot, which is somewhat intentional given the setting, but highlights often bloom, creating a harsh appearance. There are plenty of examples of edge halos, background noise (especially in nighttime scenes) and aliasing to be found. Colors are mostly bold and nicely saturated, black levels are middle of the road, and shadow detail is spotty. Quite simply, this Blu-ray's transfer comes from an old master, and that is evident throughout.

SOUND:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is acceptable if unremarkable. This is not a particularly immersive track despite several action scenes, but there are some tempered sound pans and mild subwoofer response during these sequences. Dialogue is clear and nicely balanced amid the score and effects for the most part. Ambient noise is frequent and does quietly surround viewers. Things get a little muddy at lower volumes, when some of the elements tend to blend together. This, like the image, is a dated soundtrack. Spanish and French Dolby surround mixes are included, as are English SDH, Spanish, Korean and Cantonese subtitles.

PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:

This single-disc release restores the extras from the original Special Edition DVD, all in standard definition. You get an Audio Commentary by Director Carl Franklin; an Out of Time: Crime Scene featurette (12:16/SD), a basic EPK; Character Profiles (6:21/SD); Outtakes (1:01/SD); Screen Tests (8:36/SD); a Photo Gallery (2:41/SD) ; and the Trailer (1:47/SD). The disc is packed in a standard case that is wrapped in a slipcover.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This swampy Florida thriller offers decent, early 2000s thrills and an expectedly decent performance from star Denzel Washington. Out of Time is not particularly memorable, and the plot is both familiar and formulaic. This new catalogue release from MVD restores the bonus features from the original Special Edition DVD, but I'm not sure the dated transfer and audio make this worth owning, even for fans. Rent It.

William lives in Burlington, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.

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