Saturday, August 17, 2013

DVD/Blu-ray debut: DeNiro & Travolta go to war, mano-a-mano, in KILLING SEASON

First thing to mention: how absolutely gorgeous this movie looks on Blu-ray. Much of KILLING SEASON was shot outdoors, and I swear you can count the veins in each leaf -- the detail is that superb. If you missed this little movie -- featuring two of the most important U.S. actors of the past century -- when it came to (and quickly went from) theaters just last month, no problem: It arrives on DVD and Blu-ray this coming Tuesday for our delectation.

Those two actors, Robert De Niro and John Travolta, will do nothing for the younger set who make up most of the movie audience these days, but they will ring a bell or two for us seniors, though we are not part of the target group that revels in the kind of uber-violence the movie serves up. As written by Evan Daugherty and directed by Mark Steven Johnson (shown at right), the film focuses on an incident in the Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian War of two decades past for which revenge is now sought and subsequently taken. Sort of.

Running but 91 minutes, the movie is relatively swift and event-filled enough to keep us watching. And when it does lag a bit, that scenery remains lovely (the end credits make the kind of use of this scenery that I have not seen previously).

Basically a two-hander (the few supporting characters barely get a chance to register), the movie allows both actors to turn in decent performances. DeNiro, above, seems to have cornered critical appreciation (such as it was; reviews were not particularly posi-tive), but Travolta (below, in the "villain" role) does a nice job, too.

To keep the plot thrusting forward, the tables must be turned, of course, and then turned again, then turned some more. (You may eventually want to yell at the filmmakers, "Would you leave those fucking tables alone!") How and why this happens generally remains just this side of believable, so you'll probably continue until the finale is reached.

The audience for this sort of thing would seem to be mostly us guys, and probably the older ones, at that. Audiences raised on The Rock and now Channing Tatum and his ilk will probably worry that our two old fogeys will sprain their ankle or throw their lower back out. Considering this, both De Niro and Travolta (along with their stunt doubles) seem singularly spry.

Killing Season, from Millennium Entertainment, hits the streets this coming Tuesday, August 20, on both Blu-ray and DVD, for sale and/or rental.

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