Reindeer Games isn’t too bad of a movie and although it does feel too long, it’s still passable entertainment headlined by a unique performance from Gary Sinise. However, I cannot say this Blu-ray release is any good. While it’s nice all of the features were ported over and the audio is serviceable, the video is utter crap and easily the worst I’ve encountered. Unless you don’t own this on DVD – and even then I wouldn’t pay a penny over $5 – I would just skip this release altogether.
Genre(s): Crime, Action
Lionsgate | R – 125 min. – $14.99 | March 6, 2012
Directed by: John Frankenheimer
Writer(s): Ehren Kruger (written by)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, Charlize Theron, Dennis Farina, Donal Logue
Theatrical Release Date: February 25, 2000
Features: Commentary, Featurette, Alternate Scenes, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Disc Size: 40.6 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.25/5
Plot Synopsis (from back cover): Upon release from prison, Rudy (BEN AFFLECK) poses as his old cellmate Nick in order to meet Nick’s sexy pen pal Ashley (CHARLIZE THERON). But things heat up for Rudy when he’s forced into an armed robbery being hatched by Ashley’s evil brother (GARY SINISE).
Since this is a “Quick Hit Review”, I’ll be brief: Reindeer Games isn’t as awful of a movie as some have portrayed it being, but it’s not exactly a fantastic over-the-top thriller as others feel either. I first saw this movie back in 2001 shortly after its DVD release and I didn’t think much of it then and didn’t think it offered much today. The plot is overwrought, the ending inane (the finale alone dropped the rating a half star) and the acting all over the place starting with Gary Sinise and his… unusual style.
In terms of the crime aspect, I give some credit that it doesn’t tread too much in familiar territory but even that part gets bogged down and clocking in at over two hours, the movie does drag on especially in the middle portion.
Having said that, as a thriller, Reindeer Games does offer up some decent suspense, Ben Affleck for his part isn’t too bad (although it’s hardly a memorable performance) and, oh, Charlize Theron is incredibly hot. If I were still a high school spring pup, her nude scenes (yes, plural) would easily bump this from average to being dope.
All in all, Reindeer Games is barely a blip on Affleck’s career. The story is OK but really sinks in the ridiculous finale which is beyond ridiculous and not in an over-the-top kind of way, but that it betrays logic for the sake of a lame twist.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.75/5
Audio Commentary – Director John Frankenheimer offers up an informative track where to gives tidbits on making the movie and comparing this Director’s Cut (which is his preferred version) with the original release.
Original Theatrical Cut Scenes (19:27; SD) – I kind of like having scenes that were ultimately cut down (or completely) on the disc as, after watching the movie, you can check out how it differs.
Behind the Scenes Featurette (6:08; SD) is as basic as the title of this feature… Not only is it short but there’s really not a whole lot to it: you’ve got some behind-the-scenes footage intermixed with some on-set interviews where they basically say nothing.
Theatrical Trailer (1:40; SD)
Previews – Pulp Fiction (Blu-ray), Hostage, Rounders, Good Will Hunting
VIDEO – 1.5/5
After reviewing hundreds of Blu-rays (and watching many others), I can’t ever recall seeing a transfer this bad, and boy oh boy is this one awful. The movie, presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio, is supposed to be in 1080p high-def but you could’ve fooled me because it looks like Miramax (I assume Lionsgate just bought the print) applied some DNR and a lot of edge enhancement resulting in what I could describe as a dirty looking transfer where in various scenes, characters have halos around them. Truly, this is one appalling transfer.
AUDIO – 3.0/5
This 5.1 DTS-HD MA track isn’t great but is at least serviceable. The soundtrack starts off well enough with a nice balance of depth but soon enough it gets relegated to the center and front channels and comes across as flat than well rounded. Even so, it’s probably on par or ever so slightly better than the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 the DVD has to offer.
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, Reindeer Games isn’t too bad of a movie and although it does feel too long, it’s still passable entertainment headlined by a unique performance from Gary Sinise. However, I cannot say this Blu-ray release is any good. While it’s nice all of the features were ported over (not necessarily a given) and the audio is serviceable, the video is utter crap and easily the worst I’ve encountered (and hope I never do again… though 54 has something to say about that). Unless you don’t own this on DVD – and even then I wouldn’t pay a penny over $5 – I would just skip this release altogether.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.