The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Anchor Bay - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 95 minutes
Genre: Crime drama
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English uncompressed 5.1 PCM, Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Val Kilmer, Sharon Stone, Michael Biehn, Curtis Jackson, Brian Presley
Directed by: Charles Winkler
Music by: Stephen Endelman
Written by: Eugene Hess
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 29, 2009
"The Big Easy is losing the fight"
It's New Orleans, six months after Hurricane Katrina ripped through the streets, destroying everything in her path. The floodwaters have quelled, but the death toll is on the rise, and the torrent of blood rages on. Now for a veteran detective with a viciously brutal past, his new partner with a dark secret, and a department shrink who knows the city's vices all too well, crime and corruption are about to go to all new levels of depravity, the likes of which The Big Easy has never known . In a town struggling to put the pieces back together, can anyone stop the barrage of dirty cops and the obscenely brutal drug wars that threatens it all?
The story takes in post hurricane Katrina New Orleans as the police battle crime both within the department and on the city streets which have been taken over by gangs. The story's central figure is street narcotics detective Andy Devereaux a cop who knows how to work the system in order to get things done. He is teamed up with Chicago PD transfer officer Stan Green after Andy's partner is found murdered in a local warehouse. The two men hit the streets in search of the killer. During the course of their investigation the meet resistance that seems to not only be coming from the streets but possibly from within their own department. The question of who is to be trusted and who may be tempted by the availability of the drugs/money looms large. This is further complicated when an undercover DEA agent working in the city is shot and killed by two other department anti-crime detectives which brings in FBI special agent Brown. He sees the shooting as questionable and targets the anti-crime division for police corruption which also brings the department's internal affairs division down on them. With their hands tied Andy and Stan still manage to uncover what appears to be a plot to allow the Latin Kings to take over the local drug trade with the apparent assistance of inside information emanating from a source within the law enforcement community. In order to uncover the truth and clear themselves all four men will have to venture deep behind enemy lines and be willing to risk it all.
I generally enjoy cop dramas and although I never heard of Streets of blood prior to receiving it for review I figured it had potential. Unfortunately its jumbled plotline, uneven pacing and wooden performances left it devoid of intrigue and less than entertaining. The problem is that the script ventures off in too many directions that really lead no where. Outside of Andy and Stan character development is pretty weak and even in their cases I don't that there is enough there to generate real interest. It moves too slowly at some points and blows through others leaving questions about who, what, where, and why. The finale was unsatisfying and added a spin that didn't come as a surprise but was at least definitive. It's obvious that Val Kilmer and Sharon Stone are the intended big name draws in this film. He did the best he could with what was given to him and her part just seemed like more fluff than substance. When it was over I couldn't help but feel as though there were few redeeming qualities in this film.
The rating is for strong violence, sexuality, drug content, and pervasive language.
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:
Streets of blood comes to Blu-ray disc from Anchor Bay HE featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 15 mbps and lossless uncompressed 5.1 PCM audio that has a constant bitrate of 4.6 mbps.
This is a rather bland looking high definition video presentation that falls short of the better offerings available on Blu-ray. Contrast is noticeably elevated which tends to overdrive whites and crush detail during bright scenes. Blacks appear deep but slightly crushed which leaves them looking flat and lacking gradational quality. Shadow detail is a mixed bag which impacts many of the film's darkened segments. Colors are muted which gives the video a duller visual aesthetic. Fleshtones have a bronze tonality that leaves them appearing sun splashed and less descriptive (especially among fairer complexions) from one actor to the next. The most distracting issue I found is in its rendering of detail. Generally, wide angle long range or mid range shots tend to look soft and devoid of crisp edges and definitive lines. Close ups primarily look much better with clear definition and revealing delineation. The only thing I noticed with them is that they generally look overly sharp almost to the point of appearing artificially enhanced. To my eyes it looked as though two distinctly different cameras were used. Seeing as this film was shot on high definition video I guess this is possible. Either way the outcome resulted in uneven quality that was distracting.
The lossless uncompressed PCM soundtrack fared much better and sounded very good overall. There isn't a constant barrage of surround activity but the entire platform is put to use on several occasions and the results are noteworthy. Dynamics are punchy and bass has authority as demonstrated in the sequence when Andy and Stan invade the drug lair of the Latin Kings which erupts in a hail of gunfire. Envelopment is excellent as the sound field comes alive with the sounds of flying bullets, spatial dimension and discretely placed effects that engage the listening position. Smaller background sounds such as falling rain, atmospheric and venue generating effects provide ambient extension that fills the rear of the room and broadens depth. Dialogue is rendered clearly and holds a position of prominence within the front soundstage so that it is audible even during the film's more active moments.
- Audio commentary with director Charles Winkler
- Streets of blood: Behind the scenes - 9 minute featurette
Streets of blood is a below average direct to video crime drama that can't overcome its poor pacing, bland characters and unimaginative direction. Its debut in high definition on Blu-ray from Anchor Bay HE is uninspiring due to its lackluster video presentation and below average set of bonus supplements. On a positive note its lossless soundtrack is quite good and delivers a few dynamic and active surround sound moments that help invigorate the story. Unfortunately it isn't enough to make this worthy of a recommendation.
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