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CRIMSON RIVERS: ANGELS OF THE APOCALYPSE (Special Edition)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 99 minutes, Making of Crimson Rivers 2 documentary, five featurettes, deleted scene, previews

STUDIO: SONY PICTURES

RELEASE DATE: 3-29-2005

ANALYSIS: I love THE CRIMSON RIVERS. It was an intelligent crime thriller with insane action sequences. Now the sequel has arrived after wanting to see it for the last 14 months. CRIMSON RIVERS 2: ANGELS OF THE APOCALYPSE is just as insane as the first movie with some insane villains. The industrial decay stands out and as does all of the artistic touches seen in each scene.

Jean Reno is back as Inspector Niemans as he is brought in to investigate a body found bricked up in the wall of a monastery in one of the rooms. Soon he joins forces with maverick detective Reda (Benoit Magimel) to investigate the murder of people who have the same names and jobs that the 12 apostles of Jesus had. They come up against mysterious monks who appear to have no faces and very hard to stop. And what about the guy named Jesus who is in the hospital? Is the apocalypse near or is something else going on that involves a former Nazi/German soldier from World War II (Christopher Lee)? Niemans brings in a cop, Marie (Camille Natta), who is an expert in religion to help find out who is responsible for the murders.

CRIMSON RIVERS 2: ANGELS OF THE APOCALYPSE is all about design, atmosphere, thrilling action scenes, and good actors. The look of industrial decay adds to the tension of the movie. It makes you wonder if a apocalypse is coming. Niemans has become more cynical while Reda is a young hotshot who thinks he needs to prove himself. The sequel may not have a story that has the same depth of the first CRIMSON RIVERS, but it makes up for it in other areas. Both CRIMSON RIVERS movies are above and beyond many thrillers being released in the USA today. If you're feeling disappointed with usual big budget fare from the Hollywood studios, check out THE CRIMSON RIVERS and CRIMSON RIVERS: ANGELS OF THE APOCALYPSE.

VIDEO/AUDIO: CRIMSON RIVERS 2 is presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The transfer isn't bad. Some film grain is visible, but I think it adds to the atmosphere that the director created for this movie from the way the lights appear on film to the industrial decay seen in some scenes. Colors are good and blacks are very deep (owing to the way the shot the movie). Image detail is great. However the fog and smoke has too much of a digital look to it when you hit pause and look at a single frame.

The high point of DVD is the sound on CRIMSON RIVERS 2. You can hear it in the original French 5.1 Dolby Digital or an English 5.1 DD with the option of English or French subtitles. Dialogue can be heard clearly in most scenes, but the music in a couple of scenes does drown out the dialogue (again, this probably was done on purpose). The sound design is beautiful on this movie and the music is loud (and deep). The English dub isn't bad even though the original French track still towers over it. Many differences between the two language tracks when you compare the English subtitles to the dialogue in the English dubbed version. It sounds like Jean Reno did his own lines for the English language version or they got a very good sound-a-like.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

THE MAKING OF CRIMSON RIVERS 2: ANGELS OF THE APOCALYPSE is a leisurely 72 minute documentary on the production of the movie. If you want to see all of the detail and prep that goes into making a movie, this is one for you. The funniest part has to be when Jean Reno stops a scene because the dog doesn't come out on cue. This Making-Of-featurette features interviews with cast and crew. This featurette could have had five minutes edited out of it to tighten up the pace.

Also included in the extras are five featurettes which you can play alone or all together through a Play All option (for a running time of just under thirty minutes). The LIGHTING featurette covers the way the film is lighted in addition to how they use photos taken by a digital camera to nail down the lighting and color in a scene. The WEAPONS featurette is about the avrious weapons used in the movie and how they created big muzzle flashes on one of the guns (they bypassed the flame concealer). Next is the DESIGN featurette which centers on the industrial look of the movie and set design. CORPSES focuses on the realistic corpses they made for the movie (down to putting in facial hairs). SOUND DESIGN featurette goes into the unrealistic sounds used and the 12 layers they built to create the sound of Jean Reno's gun.

The deleted scene takes place in a strip club bar.  It's interesting to watch, but I can see why they cut it out.

PREVIEWS: Before the menu, you are treated to three trailers (which you can skip with chapter advance)- VAMPIRES: THE TURNING, WILD THINGS: DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH, and INTO THE SUN.

Regular Previews you can access via the menu are CRIMSON RIVERS: ANGELS OF THE APOCALYPSE (too bad they can't include the original French trailers or the trailer for the first CRIMSON RIVERS), TAE GUK GI, FIFTH ELEMENT Ultimate Edition, and LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL

FINAL ANALYSIS: CRIMSON RIVERS: ANGELS OF THE APOCALYPSE is a worthy sequel to THE CRIMSON RIVERS. The sound on the DVD is very impressive with interesting featurettes (and evna  trailer for the movie too).

this DVD Review is (c)3-18-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia