Ray Liotta ………. Ford Cole
LL Cool J ………. Luther Pinks
Mekhi Phifer ………. Isaac Duperde
Chiwetel Ejiofor ………. Ty Trippin
Taye Diggs ………. Jeffrey Sykes
Jolene Blalock ………. Nora Timmer
Guy Torry ………. Chet Price
Bruce McGill ………. Godfrey
The plot twist and resulting twist ending have been around for years in film. Some say they have been overdone to death as only a few films can actually create a new plot twist that is interesting and works at the same time. It’s then inevitable that a countless number of films will then try and copy that same plot twist and prove to be bad copycats. In the neo-noir genre of film, The Usual Suspects is probably the most famous film with a successful and interesting twist ending. Since then there has been numerous copycats. The most recent one is Slow Burn.
This thriller stars Ray Liotta as Ford Cole, a big-city district attorney with his eye on the mayor’s office and a big problem on his hands. One of his deputies, the beautiful assistant district attorney Nora Timmer (Jolene Blalock), has just confessed to killing a man in what she claims was self-defense. A bad situation gets worse when an enigmatic stranger named Luther Pinks (LL Cool J) turns up at the police station to contradict Nora’s story and paint a very different picture of Ford’s talented colleague. With his career and perhaps his life on the line, Ford has a mere handful of hours to sort the truth from the lies in a saga involving Nora, a record store clerk, and a powerful gang lord.
The cast for this film looks strong on paper, but what overweighs the cast is the fact that this movie kept getting delayed from being released. It took 4 years before it finally hit the big screen. That should send off some red flags right there. For the most part, the acting is pretty decent. You can’t really blame for them for all the flaws presented. Nor could you fault the cinematographer or production designer. These are all the positives of this film.
The big negative and fatal blow to this film is the script. We have seen this all before. Slow Burn eventually turns into a complete ripoff of The Usual Suspects. If this film would have come out some 15 years earlier, it might been seen in a different light. It might have become The Usual Suspects before The Usual Suspects.
The film is actually somewhat interesting to watch, if this is your first time venturing into the world of neo-noir. But the vast majority of movie audiences have seen this film before in better forms. The cast is pretty strong, but they are not given much to work with. Nothing original that is. Some may wonder why this film was even released on the big screen at all. Slow Burn feels like a “direct-to-DVD” film at best. It tries hard to be something more, but in the end Slow Burn is just another poor man’s Usual Suspects.
The video is given in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen color, which is enhanced for 16:9 TVs. The video quality is pretty standard, but it’s definitely one of the main positives for this film. No real problems at all.
The audio included is available in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound and English 2.0 Surround sound. There are subtitles available in English and Spanish as well. No problems real problems here either. The music and dialogue comes out loud and clear.
Audio Commentary –
This is a full-length commentary with the director, Wayne Beach. This is fairly interesting and informative. Probably just as it interesting, if not more so, than the actual movie. This movie did go through a lot of changes.
“Fire in the Streets” Featurette –
This is a 7-minute “behind-the-scenes” featurette. Cast and crew talk about the film and what it’s all about. They basically try to sell you on the story, characters, etc. Not that bad, but the usual stuff is said.
Deleted and Alternate Scenes –
There is exactly one deleted scene and one alternate scene. Neither one add anything to the movie. They are each a minute long.
Trivia Track –
As the movie plays, you have the option to turning on the trivia track. That means little bits of information or trivia about the movie and the people involved in the movie will pop up onto the screen. Pretty much what you expect. More information on the film.
You have seen this type of movie before, but you haven’t you might be pleasantly surprised. It’s not worth nothing but a rental at best, though. Even fans of the actors involved will probably not want to own this. It’s fairly entertaining, but nothing original.