The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 1993
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 102 Minutes
Genre: Crime thriller
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Starring: Bruce Willis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dennis Farina, Tom Sizemore, Robert Pastorelli, John Mahoney, Brion James
Directed by: Rowdy Herrington
Music by: Brad Fidel
Written by: Rowdy Herrington & Martin Kaplan
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 16, 2009
"They shouldn't have put him in the water, if they didn't want him to make waves"
Bruce Willis and Sarah Jessica Parker star in this mind-bending action mystery. Tom Hardy (Willis) is a maverick cop who's not afraid to rock the boat in pursuit of a sadistic serial killer. Demoted to river patrol after suggesting the killer may be a fellow police officer, he initiates an unauthorized investigation which kicks the high-powered plot into overdrive. His new partner (Parker) climbs aboard with a surprise of her own as the conspiracy closes around them for a wake-trailing drama about honor, loyalty and family.
This film's story revolves around a series of kidnappings/murders where the victims are all women. Homicide detective Tom Hardy (Willis) and his partner Jimmy Detillo (Pastorelli), also cousins, are investigating the case for the Pittsburgh Police Department. Both families come from a long line of police officers and each have family members in the department. Problems arise after Jimmy is accused of physically abusing a prisoner and Tom testifies against him. Jimmy is found guilty by a jury and sentenced to serve prison time. Tom is labeled a rat by most of his peers and ostracized by the majority of the department. His father Vince (a Lieutenant) and a select few stand by him. While on their way to the annual policeman's ball Tom and Vince become involved in a high speed chase involving the homicide suspect, who Tom believes to be a cop. Vince is killed and Tom seriously wounded when their cruiser crashes during the pursuit. Tom is devastated and becomes more vigilant in his theory and desire to catch the killer. Fearing prison Jimmy commits suicide in front of his father Nick, brother Danny (both cops) and Tom by leaping from a bridge in the river. This and the death of his father lead to depression and alcohol for Tom. He is demoted and sent to the river boat patrol. A local man is arrested and tried for the earlier murders and the death of Vince Hardy. Tom isn't convinced that this man is the responsible and feels that he is the fall guy for a cover up. Several years pass and the murders being again with the bodies being dumped into the river (seemingly for Tom to find). The victims are women that Tom has been romantically associated with and he begins his own investigation to try and locate the killer. He is assigned a new partner Jo Christman (Parker) who he confides in regarding his theory. The body count continues to grow and Tom's desire to prove the murderer is a cop once again puts him at odds with the department. He and Jo become romantically involved and she gets closer to him than she dare to. There is more to her than meets the eye and as things unfold Tom will get more than one surprise before the identity of the killer is finally revealed.
Striking distance is a fairly typical crime thriller that involves the premise of corrupt cops. It starts out well enough and offers a few interesting twists. The real problem is the ending. Once the identity of the killer is revealed his motive is obvious but the plausibility of his actions are simply ludicrous. Then there is a campy chase/fight sequence that when combined with the corny ending deflates any of the earlier momentum that the film had. I thought that the supporting cast was pretty decent as it featured the likes of Dennis Farina, Tom Sizemore, Brion James, John Mahoney, and Robert Pastorelli. Willis was a good as he usually is in a role like this and of course any chance to see Sarah Jessica Parker onscreen is welcomed. I enjoyed this first two acts of Striking distance but it ran out of steam in the third and lacked a palatable finish.
The rating is for violence, strong language, and a sex scene.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Striking distance comes to Blu-ray Disc from Columbia Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 2.3 mbps.
The video presentation had a flat visual aesthetic that didn't have the vibrancy, high level of detail and luster that you find with most of today's action flicks/thrillers that are available on high definition Blu-ray Disc. Resolution was consistent however fine visible detail was noticeably lacking. Every now and then close up shots offered an improved level of perceptible detail and clarity but it was infrequent. The color palette stuck with basic tones that were mildly de-saturated which left them looking less vivid and on the flat side. Contrast and brightness were toned down so that even brighter scenes appeared less dynamic and eye catching. All of this led to video quality that was rather lackluster and dull. Quite honestly it didn't feel inappropriate based upon the film's subject matter and cinematography but there were instances where it would have shined with better image quality.
The audio presentation was better and made good use of the surround platform. This can be a fairly aggressive soundtrack that contains some explosive elements that are typical of the genre. Dialogue was perfectly intelligible with good intonation and discernible texture that balanced well with the recording's other elements. The surrounds and subwoofer saw consistent as during the film's various action sequences. This was driven largely by Brad Fidel's music score which helped drive the action. The sounds associated with the effects of gun fire, explosions, revving boat engines etc. had fair dynamic impact and discerning clarity. I noticed that they didn't sound quite as crisp and articulated as the better lossless audio tracks that I have heard. The subwoofer channel was mixed a bit on the light side but managed to energize the room on a few occasions. Overall I thought that this was a mix that offered good surround sound envelopment, clearly rendered dialogue and above average dynamics which supported to film's elements just fine.
- (HD) 6 BD Previews
- BD-Live enabled
Striking distance unfortunately comes up short when held up against the better films in its genre. Its third act fails to deliver the knock out blow following the decent one two punch of the first two. A better ending might have made it an above average watch. Its presentation on Blu-ray Disc offers good quality sound but its high definition picture is rather drab and not particularly engaging. That coupled along with its lack of bonus content make this disc hard to recommend.
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