Saturday, 25 December 2010

DVD Reviews

Deadly Crossing
Starring: Kyle Cassie, J. Anthony Pena, Steven Seagal
Director: Like a poo under the Christmas tree, no-one’s laying claim to this one. .
Optimum Home Entertainment

Available from Monday 27th December - £19.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

When an influx of violent and ruthless heroin dealers descend on Seattle, Elijah Kane (Seagal...you could tell that just from the stupid “hard man” name, right?) leads an elite undercover squad of cops to bring them to justice. Totally disregarding the rulebook, Kane and his crack team of law enforcers storm the city streets to clean out the drug barons by any brutal means necessary.

This is obviously an abandoned or cancelled TV show. On TV it would be lacklustre and highly clichéd. When on DVD and priced for twenty quid...well...

Deadly Crossing (and whatever the TV show it was originally supposed to be was called) is a pretty shameless CSI/The Wire rip-off, but with a bizarre 1980s “heroin ring busting” mission to it, which makes it feel very out of touch, without even a dab of self-awareness to make it light hearted or enjoyable. It bumbles in and out of various clichés and botch-jobs, with even the basic film making techniques apparently handled by a pack of jackals that seem to have just wandered onto the set one day.

The only redeeming factor is that Seagal is only in about five minutes of this. Of course, it all turns out to revolve around his Black Hole of an ego, though, so it’s not exactly a total escape.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence:
Explosions, gunfire, scuffling, and Seagal doing that lazy-old-man kung-fu that he does so well. Wearing a leather jacket, obviously. You know the drill by now.
Sex/Nudity: Some references.
Swearing: Nothing that you couldn’t say in a failed TV show.
Summary: A terrible CSI/The Wire rip-off, with a large part of the overall shittiness caused by Seagal’s non-stop narcissism. 2/10

Hetalia – Axis Powers: Complete Series 1
Starring: Daisuke Namikawa, Hiroki Takahashi & Hiroki Yasumoto
Director: Bob Shirohata
Manga Entertainment

Available Now - £17.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

The world is on the cusp of war and all the countries of the world have been personified! Axis and Allied powers as well as all your favourite countries across time join together for a series of quirky vignettes.

Did anyone really want an unfunny, flash-bang or a limited history of World War II as an anime? No? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Humour never translates well from Japan, so it’s amazing that people even try any more. Now that it’s attempting a light-hearted, comedy yet still historically accurate version of World War II...this is still too annoying to be clever, but it’s also too brave and attempt to dismiss off-handed.

The artwork, giving credit where credit is due, is pretty good, and the animation can be pretty stylish when it wants to be. It’s just as shame that the rest of the program is so shit.

Unfortunately a lot of the humour is nothing short of racism. To everyone who isn’t Japanese, obviously. A bad idea, gets worse, then ends up plain offensive. Avoid like Ebola.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence:
Some comedy warfare. Those two words aren’t adjacent all that often. Enjoy it while you can.
Sex/Nudity: None.
Swearing: Some mild swearing for comedy effect.
Summary: The good artwork and animation aren’t enough to save this terribly unamusing sketch show. Humour rarely translates well, and that’s certainly the case here. 1/10

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