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Paramount Studios presents
Mach 2 (2000)

"Somtimes I feel like everybody works extra hard to make my life suck."
- Jack Tyree (Brian Bosworth)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: March 20, 2001

Stars: Brian Bosworth, Michael Dorn, Shannon Whirry
Other Stars: Lance Guest, David Hedison, Cliff Robertson
Director: Edward R. Raymond

Manufacturer: AD/CA
MPAA Rating: R for violence
Run Time: 01h:33m:16s
Release Date: March 13, 2001
UPC: 097368603042
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D D-C-C- B-

DVD Review

Captain Jack Tyree (Brian Bosworth) arrives in the cringe-inducing prologue of Mach 2 to halt a terrorist bomb threat aboard a civilian-filled train. But first he must have a virtually incomprehensible conversation with the local authorities. The editing scheme in this scene makes absolutely no sense, and this corresponds with the nature of this story. In a terribly generic opening sequence, Tyree tackles nearly all the clichés of the action genre. Villains fire and miss him from ten feet away, and a bomb (with a convenient timer readout) ticks away toward imminent doom. Plus, with seconds to go, the enemies remain on the train with a greater interest in fighting Tyree than staying alive. The execution of the opening scenes is amateurish and dull, and this is only the beginning. It gets worse.

In the tense race for president, one candidate is using more than campaign speeches to win the office. A disk exists that could incriminate his dastardly schemes, so his henchmen must hijack the Concorde to ensure his victory. Lead by Rogers (Michael Dorn from Star Trek: The Next Generation), they overtake the supersonic plane and place its passengers in dire peril. However, they don't count on the persistent efforts of "Washout" Tyree - an Air Force officer who can't fly a plane. Through his heroic actions, their plans may not run as smoothly as expected.

Some action films are riddled with clichclichés and stupidity, but they remain interesting because of over-the-top stunt sequences and ridiculous plot devices. This "silly action film" genre does little to stimulate the mind, but at least provides a few hours of enjoyment. Unfortunately, Mach 2 lacks even the attributes of this genre, and instead belongs in another category—"BAD action films." Unlike their counterparts, these movies take themselves too seriously and play the story straight and too dramatic. The horrendous acting, dialogue, and plot combine with terrible execution and a serious nature to create nearly unbearable cinema.

With the cheesy, patriotic background music at full blast, the main characters board the Concorde for their fateful flight. We're introduced to Shannon Carpenter (Shannon Whirry), the campaign advisor for presidential candidate Stuart Davis (David Hedison). In other words, she's the attractive female counterpart for Tyree to battle and then hook up with at the end. Her hatred for him at the flight's beginning makes no sense other than to set up their reconciliation later. The other passengers include a completely unconvincing fligth attendant; a caricature of a reporter, and Davis' former speechwriter (Lance Guest from The Last Starfighter). These characters have no defined personalities and act only as elements of a dull story. The plot is fairly simple, but a random character must clearly explain it in language designed solely for the uninterested audience.

Edward R. Raymond has directed over 60 films, but he still fails to make this story exciting. The Concorde is an impressive aircraft, but the shots here are dull and often ridiculous. Why set the story on the Concorde and waste it? Also, the fight scenes lack even the life and energy of the worst Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. Brian Bosworth isn't a terrible actor, but he's given absolutely nothing to do but throw a few punches and break a few necks. This is action filmmaking in its simplest form. The landing scene reminded me of one from Airplane, which actually was more convincing than this sad excuse for a finale. Mach 2 features numerous blunders in the script and editing that are nearly impossible to comprehend. In one instance, the villains state that they're 10 minutes from the drop zone, than jump out of the plan seconds later. During another scene, Rogers tells one of his henchman to kill Tyree, and the supposed professional hesitates for several long, excruciating minutes. There's no explanation for this delay other than allowing Tyree time to find a way to save himself. Finally, U.S. Vice President Pike (Cliff Robertson) plays a key role in the story, but he shows up for only a few minutes, and this eliminates any tension. Watching Cliff Robertson reminded me of Escape from L.A. - a major disappointment that induces cringing inside whenever I think of it. Sadly, Mach 2 makes that film look like a masterpiece.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Mach 2's anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer contains nothing particularly impressive or noteworthy. The colors have poor definition, and lack the clarity inherent on most digital transfers. Especially poor are the aerial shots of the Concorde, which contain a serious level of grain that removes any grandeur from the view. The entire transfer is grainy and contains a significant amount of defects on the print. It resembles a mediocre video transfer and adds another element to the problems of this disc.

Image Transfer Grade: C-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: An irksome problem on this 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer is the extremely quiet dialogue. Even if the words are silly and pointless, it still would be nice to hear them without turning up the system's volume to high levels. Also, the sound levels vary throughout and requiring adjusting during the louder action scenes. As with the image transfer, the term "digital" should be used loosely because this sound field lacks most of the qualities of usual DVDs. This disc also contains a 2.0-channel Dolby Surround track that contains less power, but actually is less annoying than the other track because it keeps a more steady sound level.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Director Edward R. Raymond and Actress Shannon Whirry
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Mach 3's only substantial extra is an enjoyable feature-length commentary from director Edward R. Raymond and actress Shannon Whirry. While the nature of this film makes an in-depth discussion impossible, both of them have a lot of fun talking about the picture. Raymond totally understands the tenets of the silly action genre and often mocks his own films. He also provides some interesting information on the background of this production. The main portion was shot in only 15 days, with extra scenes (including the air traffic controllers) added later on to spread out the scope of the story. Whirry asks him some fairly stupid questions, but they work because both of them have a nice chemistry. The comments are fairly scene specific, but they're fairly interesting given the poor level of this film.

This disc also features the theatrical trailer and brief biographies of the main stars and Raymond.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

The lone positive of Mach 2 is its brief running time. With that exception, this film is a failure in virtually every aspect. On the intellectual level of HBO's "Guilty Pleasure" movies, it even lacks the crazy action, women, and overacting that makes those films watchable. This dull story plays too seriously to reach that level, and falls into a small category of movies that should never have been made in the first place.

 


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