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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - April, 2010

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"Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-april-2010-bad-lt

Synopsis

Nicolas Cage stars as Terence McDonagh, a detective with the New Orleans Police.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he injures his back saving an inmate from drowning.  To deal with the pain, he begins taking pain medication and soon follows a downward spiral of drug addiction and teetering on the edge of the law.  As Terence and his partner Stevie (Kilmer) investigate the murder of a family, he finds ever more creative ways to score drugs.  He also runs into trouble with his bookie loosing several large bets.  Through all this, he maintains a relationship with his girlfriend Frankie (Mendes), a local prostitute.   Even though he is barely hanging on, he manages to break up a major drug ring, pay off his debts, and earn a promotion to captain.

 

Specifications

  • First Look Studios
  • 2009, Color, Rated R, 2 Hrs 2 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  not specified
  • English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD
  • Starring:  Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes and Val Kilmer
  • Directed by Werner Herzog
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Moderate
  • Language: Extreme

Commentary

If you’re looking for an over-the-top depiction of drug use and the effects of addiction, then this movie is for you.  Cage gives an almost wild performance as a hardcore addict battling intense pain, greedy mobsters, drug dealers and his own personal demons.  I found one aspect of this film especially difficult to believe.  By halfway through, Terence is behaving very much like an addict with wild mood swings, hallucinations and unstable behavior.  Despite this, no working with him seems to notice.  Doesn’t the New Orleans Police Department employ random drug testing?  In one scene, Terence’s bookie comes into the station to pay him his winnings.  He does this right in front of a roomful of detectives yet no one pays any attention.  He also participates in the murder of three mobsters.  Not only does he get away with this, he makes the arrests and receives a promotion.  I’m not sure what message this film is trying to send; perhaps there isn’t one.  I can’t even call it a vehicle for Nicolas Cage’s considerable acting talent.  His part and his portrayal are one-dimensional for a grueling two hours.  I’m not sure even a decent plot could have saved this one.

Technical

Most of the film is shot using a cool color palette with lots of blues and greens.  Some indoor scenes are very natural with sunlit warm tones.  The image is quite sharp but the filtered color makes it look flat.  The filmmakers seemed to be going for a gritty look which is appropriate for the content.  There is no evident edge enhancement and contrast is uniform and deep.  Dark scenes have excellent shadow detail with a very clean and grain-free rendering.

Audio is nothing special.  There aren’t many action scenes to really work the sub and surround channels.  Dialog is mumbled at times and recessed a bit in the soundstage.  I didn’t have to turn up the volume though.  Music is used sparingly and is also nothing special.

Extras

Bonus features include a making of featurette, a collection of still photos and theatrical trailers.There are also in-movie interactive features chronicling other events of 1970 and the technology of the Apollo 13 mission.