Deadly Impact [Unrated]
MGM // Unrated // $22.98 // April 20, 2010
Review by Tyler Foster | posted May 26, 2010
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Graphical Version
The Plot
A cop (Sean Patrick Flanery) chases a bomber (Joe Pantoliano), causing the bomber to take revenge. Several years later, the same thing happens, but the details are different, I promise.

The Film
Deadly Impact is an astonishingly unoriginal movie from lots of people who should've been able to do better. Anyone who reads my reviews probably knows that I'm the kind of guy who likes to defend rather than eviscerate, but there's only the slimmest slivers of enjoyment to be wrung from these 96 minutes thanks to the dependable Joe Pantoliano, and even other extremely forgiving viewers like myself will probably just find themselves bored to tears anyway. This is a movie for the person who loves cop action movies but has never seen one in their entire life, and unless I've greatly overestimated the filmgoing populace, this isn't the widest of demographic targets.

I've seen clichés and I've seen clichés, but Deadly Impact unleashes a near-fatal barrage of them right off the bat, as if writer Alexander Vesha thought they were the Lego Blocks or Lincoln Logs from which he was meant to construct the movie. The post-opening credit scene has a sexy FBI agent (who in this case is not very sexy, thanks to a personality-free on-screen presence and a set of hideous drawn-on eyebrows) tracking down our disgraced hero (Flanery and his co-star, Visibly Uneven Spray-On Tan) in a Mexican dive bar, in order to ask him if he'd "just consult" on a case involving his archenemy (Pantoliano as The Lion, one of those nicknamed villains). I don't need to tell you that Flanery's character (whose name escapes me) sizes up the FBI agent like an old hand and explains how he did it when the pair first sit down, or that despite declining the consultation offer, Flanery drinks all night, then shows up anyway. I don't need to tell you just like the movie doesn't need to show the audience, but we're both going to do it anyway. Shortly after a failed bust in a nightclub and some plot scenes, Vesha manages to tone it down from "non-stop" to "overhwelmingly constant", but you'll pardon me if I don't immediately start handing out out Collector's Series ratings.

This cheap, film-flavored knock-off product is directed by Robert Kurtzman, a name that film geeks will recognize as the K in "KNB Effects", the wizards behind everything from Evil Dead II to Inglourious Basterds. Admittedly, I haven't seen any of Kurtzman's other films, including Wishmaster, and Pantoliano gets to slip into a few impressive prosthetic getups, but I have a hard time understanding how, with other directorial efforts under his belt and on-set experience on what must be at least 50 films, this movie could be so amateur. Kurtzman has no directorial style to speak of, beyond his decision to (generally) point the camera at his actors, and the movie could be placed in the dictionary next to "budgetary constraints" (at the very least, Kurtzman places the camera far away from explosions, although the CG still manages to be inadequate). Maybe this is all thanks to MGM's highly-publicized business woes; it's as if Deadly Impact skipped the post-production process and got pressed straight onto discs (the credits are in Arial and Times New Roman, for crying out loud). At the very least, maybe a little post-production processing would have massaged the rough, YouTube-quality digital cinematography towards something that looked like it was made by professionals.

Then again, even with a nice spit-shine, Deadly Impact would still basically stink. Pantoliano and Flanery might have made a good team in a better movie, but their half speed sparring wasn't enough to significantly rouse me from my cinematic slumber. It's the same old crap (a tired story, laughable stakes, boring characters), topped with some unexpected crap (complete directorial inadequacy from an industry veteran, rampant sexism), slathered in crap production value for good measure. One of the biggest cheats in the whole movie is an opening sequence that sets up the rivalry between their characters, and the trick is that it's basically circular logic: even with this scene, there's nothing at the heart of the film driving their battle, no genuine conflict here, aside from the fact that one is a cop and the other a criminal. In essence, this robs Deadly Impact of any reason to exist, and I can say with confidence that the same is true both inside the film and out.

Note: I'm not sure what's "Unrated" about this version, but it's basically like watching an R-rated movie with some swearing and a couple pints of blood.

I have been vocal about my hatred for the excessive color timing trend in Hollywood thanks to digital intermediates, and my least favorite of all is the near-black-and-white look that made wildly popular by Saving Private Ryan, so I'm not pleased to see the same technique making the leap into the world of DVD cover art. It also does something bad to Pantoliano. I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about the way the technique affects his hair and sunglasses makes him look strangely silly on the front cover. Aside from this digital tweak, the art is stunningly generic on all sides, which is truth in advertising, I guess. The case is an ECO-BOX, there's no insert, and the disc replicates the cover art.

The Video, and Audio
Deadly Impact is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn the film was shot for television. Colors are fine, but detail is middling, and there is lots of ghosting provided by whatever type of digital cameras were used for filming.

Dolby Digital 5.1 is flat and sparse, with almost no use of directionality or environmental effects. It vividly recreates the experience of standing on the movie's sets rather than the numerous half-hearted attempts at action. Again, the whole production seems more like an extended TV pilot rather than a motion picture from a once-major studio like MGM. English captions for the deaf and hard of hearing are also provided. The Extras
None. Trailers for "Defying Gravity", Boot Camp, and The Betrayed play before the menu. They are not accessible from the menu.

As the reader knows, there is a "Rent It" classification in the DVDTalk ratings system, but I think Redbox should pay each user a dollar every time they go to a machine and copies of this movie are available to them. Skip it.

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