BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Sep 4th, 2007 •

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I can just see the naysayers dubbing it “I.C.U.” Which it isn’t, but it’s too good a shot for some punster to pass up. It’s the first Sylvester Stallone film to go straight to video, and we know what that means…in terms of studio faith in the project’s boxoffice potential…in terms of Sly’s career arc…

Stallone is real good in Act One. He’s a cop whose wife got iced by a serial killer he failed to nail. Clinically depressed, he’s cajoled into a radical therapy group housed in an ex-missile silo in the middle of nowhere and, to make it even more isolated, in the middle of a blizzard. His serial nemesis has followed him there, and the bodies start piling up.

And it’s the rate at which they pile up that’s wrong with this well acted (except for Tom Berenger), effectively shot, imaginatively scripted thriller. A slew of deleted dramatic scenes in the supplementary features section give testament to the fact that drama was sacrified to speed up the body count pace. The deaths accrue so quickly, one begins to assume the killer must be omnipresent. Eventually I went further than that: there must be more than one person doing the evil deeds. Then I was forced to consider the possibility that everyone but Stallone were the bad guys. Of course none of those conjectures proved to be true.

One new wrinkle for a recent Stallone vehicle; he’s no longer queasy about killing people in full view. In his later films (exception, RAMBO) he went to great lengths to avoid being seen as a life-taker (extreme eg. ASSASSINS, where, as one of the title characters, not only does he not assassinate anyone, he persuades a victim to take his own life!) Here he not only doles out vengeance for his deceased wife, but he does it twice to the same person, in a grand physical gesture redolent of Burt Lancaster’s eradication of Hume Cronyn in the third act of BRUTE FORCE.

Unfortunate, how the editing slew this movie, because it’s still fun, even as it is, but there’s no doubt that ‘straight-to’ is where it belongs.

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