Jade may be underrated in its vitriol but by the same token it’s still not a very good movie even with some erotic sex scenes meant to titillate and instead are weird (nothing new from Friedkin) bordering on boring. You add in a plot that isn’t very intriguing and a lead actor who is even less so and you’ve got a movie that deserves to be forgotten.
Genre(s): Crime, Drama, Thriller
Lions Gate | R – 95 min. – $19.99 | April 6, 2010
Directed by: William Friedkin
Writer(s): Joe Eszterhas (written by)
Cast: David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Biehn
Theatrical Release Date: October 13, 1995
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 22.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
The year was 1995 and David Caruso left a cushy stint on “NYPD Blue” to pursue a movie career. His first didn’t work out too well starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Nicholas Cage in Kiss of Death and then with William Friedkin’s erotic thriller, Jade. After a couple more below average thrillers and a supporting role in 2000s Proof of Life (a movie I feel is underrated), he would return to TV with the primetime crime soap opera, “CSI: Miami”; though to be fair, the low-budgeted Session 9 was a good supernatural thriller that deserves to be seen…
In Jade, Caruso plays San Francisco Assistant District Attorney David Corelli, a hot shot with eyes set on the big seat in the D.A.’s office. After a black tie soiree with best friend – and big time defense attorney – Matt Gavin (CHAZZ PALMINTERI) and his beautiful wife Trina (LINDA FIORENTINO), he is called into a grisly crime scene of a multi-millionaire inside his mansion.
Corelli and the investigators soon discover that this millionaire had a deviant sexual nature to him and held some explicit photos in his safe, including one of the California Governor Lew Edwards (RICHARD CRENNA), as well as others in society. They also discover the victim had a sex party house by the beach where the sexual rendezvous would occur. Their investigation and discover of more pictures leads to Patrice (ANGIE EVERHEART) who had been seen at the beach house on several occasions and might be the key to unlocking the mystery of “Jade”, a woman with a dark side willing to do anything… sexually speaking.
I’ve actually never seen Jade before today mainly because either the old DVD was OOP or the re-produced DVD was in pan & scan full frame. But after hearing how bad it was, I couldn’t resist to give it a look to see for myself. Is it really that bad? I don’t think so. Is it a good movie in any way or form? Of course not. The movie recycles a fair bit of material from Joe Eszterhas’s script (see: Basic Instinct or Sliver) to James Horner’s score (though I did like the haunting sound of Jade’s theme) to William Friedkin’s direction for which the back of the Blu-ray case states the movie contains “one of the most spectacular car chases ever filmed.” Really? Spectacular? This is nowhere near the awesomeness of The French Connection (by Friedkin), John Frankenheimer’s Ronin or even Paul Greengrass’s shaky-cam experience in The Bourne Supremacy. And I’m certain I’m missing plenty others that rank it ahead.
The bigger problem with Jade isn’t so much the recycled material but the fact the screenplay is a mess and you have a director who hasn’t been on his game since To Live and Die in L.A. and couldn’t compensate for the story’s lack of intrigue or suspense. Then you add in someone like David Caruso who has never been the leading man type, hence why his best feature film performance came in the supporting role in Proof of Life against Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan. That explains why the lead never works but you also get someone like a Chazz Palminteri who was rising in the ranks in the early/mid 1990s after A Bronx Tale and The Usual Suspects and Linda Fiorentino garnered respect after her turn in John Dahl’s The Last Seduction. Arguably, Jade put to halt any sort of rising career for these leads, sadly enough especially in the case of Fiorentino who never fully recovered, in spite of some good roles including Dogma…
Overall, Jade may be underrated in its vitriol but by the same token it’s still not a very good movie even with some erotic sex scenes meant to titillate and instead are weird (nothing new from Friedkin) bordering on boring. You add in a plot that isn’t very intriguing and a lead actor who is even less so and you’ve got a movie that deserves to be forgotten.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0.5/5
All that’s here is one measly little theatrical trailer presented in standard def and letterboxed widescreen no less. Unfortunately Friedkin’s director’s cut will remain elusive outside of some VHS tapes or on Amazon’s “On Demand”.
VIDEO – 3.0/5
Jade is presented (finally) in its proper 1.78 aspect ratio where on DVD you only have a letterboxed widescreen version to watch. This 1080p high-definition transfer isn’t the greatest and a little uneven. First, there are times where the picture looks clear and well detailed while other points it’s really soft and the noise levels during some of the darker scenes don’t look too good.
AUDIO – 3.0/5
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track comes out a little better and although outside of a long car chase, the movie is fairly dialogue heavy than anything else. Not to spoil anything, you also get some gunfire during the finale. All in all, it’s not a bad track but it also doesn’t stand out even amongst other catalogue titles.
OVERALL – 2.25/5
When David Caruso left his star gig on ABC’s “NYPD Blue”, he thought he would be the next great leading man in Hollywood. Sadly (or thankfully depending on what you think of him), it didn’t quite work out. Jade is a movie that thinks it’s something more steamy and controversial than it really is. Eszterhas’s script is recycled from other material he’s written and William Friedkin shows that his best years might be behind him.
The Blu-ray doesn’t exactly have the best audio or video transfers but I guess if you are a fan of the movie you finally get a proper 16×9 widescreen presentation rather than the annoying Full Frame picture currently on DVD.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.