Revolver – DVD Review

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Image Courtesy of Amazon.com

Director

Guy Ritchie

Cast

Jason Statham ………. Jake
Ray Liotta ………. Macha
Vincent Pastore ………. Zach
AndrĂ© Benjamin ………. Avi

The Movie

In the mid to late 1990s, Guy Ritchie was in the rarified air with Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. They were amongst the handful of directors that brought American cinema into a different era, if only temporarily, where style was as important as substance. Say what you want about Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Desperado, Reservoir Dogs, et al, but they all had one critical element: they were cool. They had that something that had been lacking from American movies for some time. A decade later, they are all shells of what they could’ve been. Tarantino is more of a producer than a director, Rodriguez makes kids films more often than he does action flicks and Ritchie is best known for being Madonna’s husband. With Rodriguez and Tarantino collaborating on the box office bomb that was Grindhouse, Ritchie’s latest opus was a critical and commercial disaster. Whereas Grindhouse was merely a commercial failure, as sitting through a three and a half hour tribute to grindhouse cinema wasn’t the most viable endeavor despite it being a pleasant enough film, but Revolver took perhaps the biggest beating of any film made by the directing trio ever from critics as well as disappeared from theatres quicker than a film intended as an Ashlee Simpson vehicle. But the question remains: is it any good?

Revolver focuses on Jake (Jason Statham), a con man out for one last score. He’s taken Macha (Ray Liotta), who owns a casino, for a lot of money by following a set of rules. Macha’s anger leads to his putting out a hit on Jake, who has also found out he has an incurable illness. After finding out he has 72 hours to live, Avi (Andre Benjamin) and Zach (Vincent Pastore) come up with a scheme for him to participate in. And then from there it gets so unbelievably complicated and confusing that the film’s finale, which features a twist so transparent that a blind man could see it coming several miles away.

Ritchie goes back to the genre that built his legend up, crime, but seemingly hasn’t adjusted his style or writing to what has happened in the last decade of crime films. Revolver feels like 1997, not 2008, and it suffers from it. The sort of dialogue that was intriguing, fresh and new a decade now seems a bit off; it feels out of place and hokey on occasion. It was fashionable for a brief time that has since came and went; Ritchie seems to think that doing the same thing, except with several plot twists to “spice things up,” keeps it edgy. Unfortunately it doesn’t. It seems like a pathetic grasp back when Lock, Stock changed the landscape of how a crime film could look and feel.

If this was 1999, Revolver would probably have been hailed as “visionary” and been given rave reviews. As it stands now, it’s a relic of a time gone by from a director grasping back for some glory years. It’s kind of a shame what has happened to the trio of directors who changed cinema almost two decades ago, but the biggest disappointment of the three is the one who showed the most promise from the start.

A/V QUALITY CONTROL

Presented in a widescreen format, with a Dolby Digital presentation, Revolver has a top notch a/v presentation. This is a dark, gritty film with some colorful moments scattered throughout. The DVD looks and sounds terrific, as everything comes through cleanly and clearly.

The Extras

Deleted/Extended Scenes, including introductions from Ritchie, are included as well. An alternate opening and ending are in the mix, which don’t add much back into the film. There are some Outtakes included as well.

The Game: The Making of RevolverB> is a piece about the film’s production. Nothing of note, besides Ritchie discussing how much he wanted to cast Liotta in a film he was doing. It’s an extended fluff piece about the film. There are some interesting tidbits from on set, but mostly nothing of note is said or shown.

Revolver: Making the Music focuses on the film’s background music. Ritchie famously wanted to go with a traditional orchestral score, but changed his mind after production and used traditional scoring with elements from original pieces as well. There are a lot of good bits in this, as Ritchie discusses what he wanted to come with the score and some of the more technical aspects of it.

The Concept: An Interview with Ritchie and Editor James Herbert is a discussion by the director and editor on how they crafted certain scenes, etc. A lot of what they discuss is how they wanted to set up themes, et al, with how they edited the film as well as how they used animation in the film.

Commentary Track from Ritchie and Herbert

The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for Revolver
CATEGORY RATING(OUT OF 10)
THE MOVIE

3.5
THE VIDEO

8.5
THE AUDIO

8.5
THE EXTRAS

4.0
REPLAY VALUE

2.5
OVERALL 3.0(NOT AN AVERAGE)