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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Pendulum (2001)

"I guess the murder of one man takes precedence over the murder of three women."
- Detective Amanda Reeve (Rachel Hunter)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 04, 2002

Stars: Rachel Hunter
Other Stars: Matt Battaglia, James Russo, Alain Kalanj, Alissa Alban, Stephanie Vogt
Director: James D. Deck

MPAA Rating: R for Strong violence, sexual content and language
Run Time: 01h:33m:47s
Release Date: February 26, 2002
UPC: 012236124863
Genre: suspense thriller

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

DVD Review

After working with director James D. Deck on the trashy Two Shades Of Blue (2000), former supermodel Rachel Hunter, who still is just plain gorgeous, joins forces with him once again in this wannabe-thriller. This is another of those prostitutes-are-being-killed movies, where high-powered political games threaten to keep the truth from coming out. Of course, only dedicated police detective Amanda Reeve (Hunter) is moral enough to unearth the truth. Or is she?Reeve's trouble starts when she is pulled off the prostitute case, and assigned to the case of a murdered law school professor, whose death occurs during the film's opening sequence. This pretty much establishes that this particular murder will figure prominently in the dramatic narrative over the next 90 minutes. Reeve alternately butts heads with Mills (James Russo), the tough DA, and occasionally daydreams about her former lover, William (Matt Battaglia), who just happens to be the DA's assistant. As she slowly peers into the life of the murdered prof, Reeve crosses paths with a mix of stock suspects fresh from the Screenwriting 101 red herring pond, including a pair of sexually adventurous female students.For some reason, Deck tries to make Hunter not appear overly glamorous, and it proves to be an apparently difficult task. While she is far from runway glamorous here, the problem is once a model, always a model, and Hunter is too good-looking to fully sell her character's frumpy detective look. She spends a lot of time in Pendulum looking pensive, or furtively studying some incriminating documents, and she does that very well. At one point, during a flashback, she is arguing with William and utters the line "You haven't made love to me in months!" Now that's acting, my friend, because we're supposed to actually believe that in some bizarro universe that would happen.This film also suffers heavily from what I call the "Coincidence Factor," a tired plot device that allows the main character—in this case Reeve—to just happen to cross paths with a number of pivotal, minor characters, or arrive just in time to see someone enter or leave a building. It conveniently prevents us from having to sit through endless hours of stakeouts, or worse, watching actual procedural police work. No, I guess it's easier when it's possible to plop down on a barstool, in a populated city like Dallas, and just happen to be three seats away from another wronged character whose story ties in with the murder of the law professor. What luck!Even with the comically lazy screenwriting, Deck cobbles together a few scenes that work surprisingly well. A sequence that occurs during a police stakeout features a POV switch with the killer that is effective, but unfortunately those moments are few and far between.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

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

Image Transfer Review: Artisan has issued Pendulum in a 1.33:1 full-frame transfer, and somehow I don't suspect we are losing much in the process. The film has a made-for-cable feel, and consequently plays nicely in full-frame. The source print is free of any noticeable wear, though a fair amount of fine grain rears its ugly head during the night sequences, in addition to some hot reds that bloom sporadically. Daylight scenes fares better, with well-saturated colors and natural fleshtones.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 surround track here showed great promise during the opening credit sequence, with a nice display of the William Richter score. Rear channels filled out the music track well, and there was a fair amount of low end rumble. The rest of the film's presentation wasn't as impressive, but it comes across very clean. Richter interjects enough orchestral zingers to make you sit up, and that is about the only time the rears get any workout. Overall dialogue is mixed well, and spread across the fronts with minimal imaging.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 27 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: A single full-frame theatrical trailer for the feature, Spanish subs and a healthy 27 chapters are the only "extras" here. In other words: not much.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Here's a thriller that doesn't thrill much. In its favor it stars the eternally beautiful Rachel Hunter, who might not be the most believable detective in film history, but she's not the worst. Deck's film tries to titillate, and even manages to offer a few well-executed moments, but as a whole it is rather labored.Predictable.


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