At Home, BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE MIGHTY QUINN (Olive Films)

By • Oct 5th, 2015 •

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In balance this is a fun introduction of Denzel Washington in a nourish genre he would return to over and over with progressively better results, as he honed his acting skills and probably laid down more of the ground rules. (Check out DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, DEJA VUE, OUT OF MIND, RICHOCHET, and even THE EQUALIZER).

Xavier Quinn is a Jamaican police officer on the trail of a childhood miscreant buddy who may be implicated in a homicide, not to mention an illegal transaction that would place him in danger. Along the way a quirky cast of characters cross his path, including M. Emmet Walsh – a fine actor but a lousy villain here, and Mimi Rogers – who has a big, meaningless flirtation scene with Denzel during a meandering Act two. They probably still perceived her as a rising star because the scene comes out of nowhere and departs as mysteriously as it came.

Most outstanding about the film, aside from how incredibly young and radiant Denzel and Robert Townsend look, is the ability of the BluRay transfer to handle the hallucinatory colors found everywhere as part of the film’s unrealistically exotic production design. Reds in particular, which have been known to bleed (or shall we say hemorrhage) all over the place on VHS tapes and Laser discs, and still sometimes on DVD, look ripe and solid here.

Also, there’s a great song, sung twice, called “I’m Hurtin’ Inside”, written by Bob Marley and performed by actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, Cedella Marley and Sharon Marley Prendergast. Denzel gets a song as well, “Cakewalk Into Town,” though it is more embarrassing than cool, and it segues into an equally foolish rendition of “The Mighty Quinn.”

The film’s major flaws are its directorial attempts to be stylish. Choreographed performances are clumsy, even worse when they’re at the service of choreographed camera moves. However, at 1:20:27 there’s a steadicam shot that will make your jaw drop, wherein (if I remember correctly, having been told about it back in ‘89) Jim Muro comes down over a chasm on a wire, disengages from it when he’s at ground level, and continues following the actor through the verdant foliage. One of those daring tour-de-forces that earned him industry accolades as the world’s foremost steadicam operator.

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