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George Peppard stars in this middle-weight cop film first released in 1974. Title character Vince Newman has a reputation for high integrity, which annoys some of his fellow police force as well as the criminals. While busting a small-time drug pusher and refusing to look the other way in exchange for a share in his profits, Newman and his partner Garry (Roger Robinson) are led to an old house which not only has a huge stash of drugs but turns out to be run by the notorious international dealer Frank Lo Falcone (Louis Zorich), who has escaped prosecution for a good number of years. He's been in Italy but gets extradited back to the US where his gang of lackeys rush to his side and help him move into a fancy new house. It turns out that they had already "bought" a cop on the force to handle this and keep Falcone out of trouble, but Newman came into the picture unexpectedly and the only solution is to "pull the plug" on him- first getting him thrown off the force after planted drugs are found in his apartment, but then having to take more violent measures after Newman still doesn't give up on bringing them to justice.
70s crime films are always entertaining, this one delivers plenty of fashion and architecture of the period but is a little light on action despite what the poster art would have you believe. While it opens with a good chase sequence and has a great shoot-out in a big store near the end, there are also a number of lengthy dialogue scenes- and these aren't always easy to follow given the delivery and general audio recording quality. The violence is mild enough to score a PG rating, although the ratings board was a bit more lenient at that time compared to now. It likely played best as part of a multi-feature show at the drive-in, where hopefully the other movies made up for its shortcomings.Picture, Sound and Subtitles:
Never available on any disc format before, Kino delivers Newman's Law on Blu-Ray in its proper 1.85 aspect ratio and looking pretty much as intended with soft focus and muted colors. The dual-layer disc gives the transfer plenty of room, but still loses a point for some slight digital banding in one shot.
The mono audio track is encoded in 2-channel DTS Master Audio which stays properly centered. As mentioned earlier, the audio was recorded rather poorly and dialogue is a bit hard to follow- standard English subtitles make up a bit for this. Audio for this type of movie simply wasn't a big priority then, so this is about as good as it gets.
Kino has "film historian and critic" Peter Tonguette provide a commentary track which sheds a good amount of light on the movie. He has an admiration for the film and points out favorite shots, and also discusses the backgrounds of the cast and crew- mainly that many involved here had also worked on Peppard's TV series "Banacek" which ended just before this movie was released. Radio spots which sound better quality-wise than the actual movie are also included, as are trailers for this movie and Peppard-starrers PJ and The Groundstar Conspiracy along with 1982's I, the Jury (also directed by Richard Heffron) and another 70s actioner Busting which has appeared on a few other Kino discs.
Although Newman's Law is a bit slow-paced, it has enough moments and classic 70s visuals to recommend for fans of the era and genre.
Jesse Skeen is a life-long obsessive media collector (with an unhealthy preoccupation with obsolete and failed formats) and former theater film projectionist. He enjoys watching movies and strives for presenting them perfectly, but lacks the talent to make his own.