Bent - Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, May 15, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Bent


    [​IMG]
    Movie: :2.5stars:
    Video: :4stars:
    Audio: :4stars:
    Extras: :1.5stars:
    Final Score: :3stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    Dramatic cop thrillers are one of the biggest money makers in the cinematic world. True, most of them don’t rise to the big budget tent pole films in terms of sheer box office gross, but they are usually rather profitable on a tiny budget. A low risk proposal that is seen as easy cash for just about any studio. Some of them turn out to be great, and some of them complete trash, but most hover in the middle with the moniker of “good but not great” as it’s biggest claim to fame. I was initially drawn to Bent (not to be confused with the Holocaust drama of the same name) was the fact that Bobby Moresco’s name was attached to the writing and directing (writer of award winning film Crash), and that the novel was given some critical acclaim. However, I was a bit reticent considering that Bent is also a direct to video film from Lionsgate, which doesn’t always signify greatness (ok, almost never does with both criteria met), and while I have some serious reservations about the film, have to conclude that it is a moderately entertaining flick.

    The plot (based upon characters from J.P O’Donnell’s novel) revolves around an ex cop named Danny (Karl Urban), who gets sent to prison when he and his partner end of getting double crossed by mobster Driscoll (John Finn). The only problem is, one of Driscoll’s men happens to be an undercover cop from a different department and Danny’s partner happens to be indebted to Driscoll. This puts a sour light on the whole situation and Danny is sent away to the big house for 3 years for being a “bent” cop (yeah, another word for crooked cop I guess). When he gets out, Danny has but one goal in mind, make Driscoll pay. Unfortunately for him his vengeance has to wait, as Driscoll doesn’t get out of the joint for another week or so, so the ex cop has to fill his time with something.

    While trying to evade his own police department who has it in for him (they all think of his as a dirty cop, despite Danny’s protestations), Danny ends up taking on an unsolved case about a murdered girl and ends up digging up WAY more dirt on some real crooked cops then he thought possible. His little case has very little to do with Driscoll, but what it serves as is an eye opening experience on whom to trust, and who really is “bent” (you can almost make a drinking game out of how many times someone says the word “bent” in the film).
    [​IMG]
    Bent is not a GREAT movie, but it does have a lot going for it. The 216 page book that the movie was taken from is rather good from what I hear, and Karl Urban’s Danny really epitomizes the hulking (and angry) character that was penned by O’Donnell. The first half of the film is actually rather intriguing, with Danny getting involved in the Pearson case, only to find out that his impressions of a “good cop” and a “bad cop” are tested when he’s not sure whom to trust. The second half is where things start to falter, with Danny jumping from point A to point C to point F, instead of the logical A,B,C method. I guess you could say that the book was pared down a bit TOO much, and Moresco tried skipping too many points that would have filled in the appropriate plot gaps.

    Urban does a good job as Danny, but sadly the stunning Sofia Vergara phones in her performance as some unknown alphabet soup government agent. Her normal sauciness is extremely toned down to the point of blandness, and her “romance” with Danny is one of the more unintentionally hilarious parts of the whole movie (the sex scene where she turns 180 degrees actually had me rewinding and laughing REALLY hard at how awkwardly it was spliced into the film). Andy Garcia was once a fantastic actor, but lately has been content with doing the Bruce Willis method of acting. Which means, playing one single bland character in every one of his films after he fell off the A-list band wagon. It’s a solid trio of performances, but outside of Urban’s gritty exterior that has made him so famous, nothing really stands out.




    Rating:

    Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality/nudity.




    Video: :4stars:
    [​IMG]
    Bent follows what I call the Lionsgate dual 4’s. 4/5 for audio, and 4/5 for video. Meaning they do a largely impressive job with the film, and while there are some minor issues, the overall presentation is hovering on the verge of excellent. I couldn’t find any hard evidence for a digital shoot, but I have no doubt in my mind that this is one. Cheap budget, check. A grade actors on the decline, check. Digital cameras cheaper than film stock, check. That pretty solidifies my opinion that we’re looking at a digitally crafted movie here. Either way, the 2.39:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray looks largely incredible, with sharply detailed outdoor shots, and good looking dark interiors. Those before mentioned exterior shots look absolutely amazing, with intimate details, good color saturation and a neutral color grading. The darker shots tend to show a little bit of banding and more than its fair share of black crush (which naturally effects shadow details). Since there are a lot of dark shots in Bent, this means that the crush plays more of a role than I really would like, but the overall detail level for the film is more than enough to overcome all but the worst of the dark shots.






    Audio: :4stars:
    [​IMG]
    The 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track follows in the same suit as the video encode, garnering a “that’s really good, but not really GREAT” score from this review. Vocals are spot on, and the dialog is evenly balanced with the film’s more boisterous moments. Dynamic range is moderate, with some action sequences jolting you out of your chair, while the forward heavy dialog centric portions maintain a quiet nature. The LFE is tight and clean, with some seriously heavy moments (the score is rife with heavy downbeats pulsating in the typical thriller “dun dun dun!!!” mantra), but it’s not wildly nuanced. It can be a bit one note (ish) at times. Surrounds are moderately active, with good presence during the action shots, and then fading back into the foreground during the more dialog heavy portions that permeate the film’s run time.





    Extras: :1.5stars:
    [​IMG]• Behind the Scenes

    • Cast and Crew Interviews







    Final Score: :3stars:


    Is Bent the next Heat? No, of course not, but it manages to be a servicable action thriller who’s 2nd half flaws don’t completely invalidate the interest level that was garnered during the first 45-50 minutes. Karl Urban plays the hulking beast of an ex cop well, and glowers into the camera enough to give the appropriate levels of intensity. Sadly Garcia and Sofia Vergara are minimal characters in the entire film, and really are just there to mop things up. While I won’t rave and rant about how good it was, the movie is a decent rental that entertains for the most part. Audio and video are impressive without being great, but the extras are more than a bit slim for my tastes. Easily a moderate rental in my humble opinion.


    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Sofia Vergara, Karl Urban, Andy Garcia
    Directed by: Bobby Moresco
    Written by: Bobby Moresco (Screenplay), Joseph P. O'Donnell (Novel)
    Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
    Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
    Subtitles: English SDH
    Studio: Lionsgate
    Rated: R
    Runtime: 96 minutes
    Blu-Ray Release Date: April 15th, 2018






    Recommendation: Rental

     
    #1 Michael Scott, May 15, 2018
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    tripplej likes this.
  2. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the review. Will check it out once on amazon prime/netflix.
     
  3. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    I think Carl needs to stick with Star Trek ;-)
     
  4. Asere

    Asere AV Addict

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    While I love Sofia I too will wait for Prime/Netflix. Thanks for the review.
     

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