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20th Century Fox presents
The Pact (2001)

"Your gross incompetence has left a witness behind."
- Patton (Nick Mancuso)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: September 14, 2001

Stars: Rider Strong, Lisa Zane, John Heard, Nick Mancuso
Other Stars: Adam Frost
Director: Rodney Gibbons

Manufacturer: Technicolor
MPAA Rating: R for some violence
Run Time: 01h:23m:47s
Release Date: July 17, 2001
UPC: 806469156223
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- D+B-B D+

DVD Review

In the time it takes you to read this review, the chances aren't likely that another child star will hold up another convenience store, but they are likely that they will end up in a bad movie. For former sitcom child stars the path to life after celebrity is often littered with bad choices and very few offers for work. Case in point: Does anyone really know what happened to Urkel? In the thriller The Pact the former star is Rider Storm (Boy Meets World), and the result is a laughably bad thriller without even the benefit of being an "it's so bad it's good" movie.

When Greg (Frost) watches his parents get gunned down by two assassins he enters the witness protection program. His name is now Spencer and his home is Montreal where he begins to get on with his life as he enrolls in college. Spencer fails to make any new friends in his first few weeks at his new school, until another new student named Lenny (Strong) comes along and the two grow close. As they begin to hit it off they soon make a pact to watch each other's back in order to escape the bullying upperclassmen on campus. What Spencer doesn't know, and what will inevitably be a problem for him, is that the two are at odds because Lenny is actually a hit man sent to kill Spencer.

The Pact has the ingredients for an interesting plot, but director Rodney Gibbons has crafted a film that is predictable, and even more, uninteresting. Several scenes meant to feel as though they should be touching or thrilling result in unintentional laughter from the heavy-handed screenplay or poor acting. In what other movie would the headmistress of a college give a student she thinks may be dyslexic a pamphlet to read? There are a lot of questions that come to mind while watching The Pact, and that is not a good sign.

Anyone expecting to see top quality acting can stop making plans to rush out and rent The Pact right now. Rider Strong is perhaps the only actor in The Pact with ability; his character is interesting on occasion, and never as over the top as it certainly could have been. Frost on the other hand seems content on sleepwalking through the film as his scenes have a lot missing, including the early moments where Frost's attempts at sarcasm and anger are laughable. Other supporting players including Nick Mancuso and John Heard (yes, that John Heard), and Lisa Zane are one note and never have a chance to really show great depth as they spout less than stellar dialogue.

In the end The Pact has the look and feel of a TV movie of the week right down to the generic production design. It is uninteresting thriller that would feel right at home late at night on Cinemax, though I am not sure it would play any better.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in full-frame The Pact looks fine, although a heavy amount of shimmering can be seen throughout the picture. Colors are fine as the drab tans and browns of the college look good, and while not perfect black levels show little grain and have nice depth. Edge enhancement is noticeable on more than one occasion, and sharpness and detail are each hard to judge given that the film has a very soft, hazy look.

Image Transfer Grade: B-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Presented in what the packaging calls Ultra-Sound (Dolby 2-channel surround to be correct), The Pact has several nice moments in its sound mix. Music and ambient sounds fill the rear speakers, although the surrounds stay calm aside from those instances. Dialogue is often hard to understand as if it is mixed lower than the other channels, this is especially a problem in scenes with surround activity or when the score builds.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Code Name: Jaguar, and Appetite
Packaging: Alpha
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Trailers for The Pact, Code Name: Jaguar, and Appetite are offered.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

The Pact isn't the worst movie I have ever seen, but it certainly rates up towards the top of the list. Do yourself a favor and skip it, think of what you could be doing with the extra hour and a half you will save in your life.


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