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DEATH SENTENCE (Unrated)
DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 106 minutes (R version)/ 111 minutes (unrated version, two Fox Movie Channel featurettes, behind-the-scenes webisodes
VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)
AUDIO: English 5.1, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Surround
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox/ Hyde Park Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: 1-8-2008

I have a love/hate relationship with DEATH SENTENCE. However, it is better than James Wan's boring SAW. DEATH SENTENCE explores the revenge drama material that other revenge films like DEATH WISH have done better. The action sequences and the inventive camera work are the stars of DEATH SENTENCE.

Kevin Bacon is Nick Hume- a happy executive with a beautiful wife (Kelly Preston) and two teenage sons (one is destined to be a great hockey player). Nick's life is shattered when his hockey player son is killed by a gang. Nick goes out to exact revenge and his actions sets in motion the chaos that runs through the film and Nick finally having to wage war against the gang that his son's killer belonged to. Nick Hume isn't comfortable with what he becomes. It destroys a part of him and causes ripples that effects everyone else in his family.

DEATH SENTENCE on one hand isn't that bad of a film. On the other side, I disagree with the choices Nick makes when he fights. He stumbles along like a stupid person. Maybe it is the point that I missed. Nick is a guy guided by fear and revenge, and he make many mistakes. I just think I would be smarter in the way I would have taken on the gang than Nick does in this film. The gang is as reckless as nick in this film. Their actions cause as much chaos as Nick's actions. In a way, Nick does become like the ones he destroys because the police and the system fail to meet up to his need for justice. He also blames himself. DEATH SENTENCE is a revenge drama set in chaos and the consequences of revenge. Too bad the script bangs the viewer over the head too much with it. The script should have been written a little bit better. The direction and action sequences in addition to the acting svaes DEATH SENTENCE from just being an average revebnge flick fit for direct to DVD or cable.

Two versions of DEATH SENTENCE are offered on the DVD- the unrated version has six minutes of additional footage. I have only watched the unrated version and have never seen the R rated theatrical cut.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
two FOX MOVIE CHANNEL featurettes are on the disc-
MAKING A SCENE covers the shooting of the street chase and parking garage sequence (covered also in two behind-the-scenes webisodes on this disc)
LIFE AFTER FILM SCHOOL has three film students asking questions of Kevin Bacon. It gives insight to how Kevin Bacon takes on acting and directing in addition to learning a little about Kevin's career.

10 behind-the-scenes webisodes cover the director, the two main stars (Kevin Bacon, Garrett Hedlund), and various aspects of the production from shooting various scenes and the technical aspects. The webisodes give a good look at the making of DEATH SENTENCE. I do wish the original theatrical trailer and an audio commentary were included on the disc.

FINAL ANALYSIS: DEATH SENTENCE is a revenge thriller with great action and camera work. Still it isn't the best revenge drama out there.

this DVD review is (c)1-16-2008 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com  


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