Feb 022017
 

Life on the Line is a misfire of a movie if only that they could’ve told a great story of the unsung heroes who work to keep the power on in some of the most difficult circumstances. Instead, this film tosses in a terrible B-plot with unnecessary characters making this just another poor release starring an actor relegated to direct-to-video status.

 

 

Life on the Line
(2016)

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Drama
Lionsgate | R – 96 min. – $24.99 | February 7, 2017

Date Published: 02/02/2017 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by:
David Hackl
Writer(s): Chad Dubea, Primo Brown, Marvin Peart (story), Primo Brown, Martin Peart, Peter I. Horton (written by)
Cast: John Travolta, Kate Bosworth, Devon Sawa, Julie Benz, Gil Bellows, Ryan Robbins, Sharon Stone
DISC INFO:
Features:
Featurette, Music Video, Trailer
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 22.1 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

 


THE MOVIE — 1.5/5


I have a love-hate relationship with Grindstone Entertainment, watching quite a few of their direct-to-video gems over the last few years. Their latest is Life on the Line, a film that pretends to be a tribute to the lineman, an underappreciated profession, but instead they fog the message with half-baked, soap opera-like side stories. If they had instead focused on the dangers of the linemen, then I’d probably give this one a mere pass, instead it was more insulting to the men and women who have died over the years, especially when it’s based on, you know it, “actual events”. Bullsh*t.

The plot takes us back and forth in time starting with a mock documentary interview with a man named Duncan (DEVAN SAWA) who, upon asking about the event that took place at a substation during “The Storm” (as it’s referred to), we go back to 1999; no, that’s the night of “The Storm” but decade plus earlier. It’s a dark and stormy night and a husband/father is called out to work on a down line. At the scene, his brother, Beau Ginner (JOHN TRAVOLTA), on the line missed a charred wire so the brother goes up to remove and, wouldn’t you know it, lightning hits and fries him dead. Further tragedy strikes when his wife driving her way to the hospital gets t-boned and killed leaving their daughter an orphan and years later she grows up to become Batgirl…

So, to the present day (2015 or so), this girl, Bailey (KATE BOSWORTH), is all grown up and under Beau’s guardianship. He wants nothing than the best for his niece and pushes her to attend college and get out of the rundown random Texas town. Meanwhile, in one of numerous superfluous characters, we meet Beau and Bailey’s new neighbors, Eugene (RYAN ROBBINS) and Carlene (JULIE BENZ), the former also a lineman working in a different division than Beau who is a supervisor. Other cast of characters: the already introduced Duncan, Bailey’s on-again-off-again boyfriend whom Beau despises and Ron (MATT BELLEFLEUR), an asshole of a guy who aggressively is in pursuit of Bailey in spite of her rebuffs.

There’s really not much more to the plot, the main one especially about being a lineman other than they like to drink a lot and Beau really hates Devon. Oh, and Bailey and Carline hit it off especially while her husband, an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD, is away on a job and the two gal pals butt heads with the aforementioned Ron which will bite them in the ass in the lame and ridiculous third act.

This movie doesn’t have much going for it. The performances are all one-note from Travolta sleepwalking through yet another role, a 34-year-old Kate Bosworth trying to pass herself off as a college-aged woman, Devon Sawa being some sort of bad boy and Matt Bellefeur as a caricature of a jackass. The only highlight might be Gil Bellows who has a small role as Beau’s right-hand man. Oh, least I forget, Sharon Stone is in this in what probably was a one day shoot portraying Sawa’s depressed/alcoholic mother.

When Life on the Line ended, I found it to be an overstuffed and unfocused film, which in itself puts it down as bad but forgettable. What got me angry was the filmmakers — including director David Hackl (Saw V) — attempts at manipulation, displaying the photos of the real people who died on the job. It’s one thing to have a completely fictionalized movie and pass it off as based on actual events, it’s another when said film stuffs in some really putrid plot points instead of sticking to the job, though taking out the stuffing would’ve cut the running time to a mere 60-minutes.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5


This release comes with a glossy, title-embossed slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Behind the Scenes (16:49; HD) – This making-of featurette with clips of the movie interspersed with BTS footage and interviews with the cast and crew.

Music Video (3:55; HD) – “Life on the Line” by Fiona Culley featuring Darius Rucker

Trailer (1:51; HD)

PreviewsDeepwater Horizon, Patriot’s Day, Imperium, Heist, I Am Wrath

 


VIDEO – 4.0/5


Life on the Line arrives on Blu-ray through Lionsgate presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and an AVC-encoded 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture here more or less matches many of these direct-to-video releases where colors generally are bright and skin tones look natural, while detail might not be the sharpest, though still looks fine. I didn’t notice any major instances of artifacting or aliasing which does at least make for a pleasant looking transfer.

AUDIO – 4.0/5


The movie includes your standard DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which is serviceable though it’s not exactly the most robust lossless track I’ve come across. Even so, dialogue levels do sound clean throughout and the very few action-esque scenes, as well as an average score, provide a little depth making usage of the front and rear speakers. The LFE channel meanwhile was a tad underwhelming but it did click on a time or two.

 


OVERALL – 2.0/5


Overall, Life on the Line is a misfire of a movie if only that they could’ve told a great story of the unsung heroes who work to keep the power on in some of the most difficult circumstances. Instead, this film tosses in a terrible B-plot with unnecessary characters making this just another poor release starring an actor relegated to direct-to-video status. The Blu-ray released by Lionsgate is basic with minimal features and decent video/audio transfers.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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