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Vanguard Cinema presents
Damaged Goods (1999)

"You better watch how you talk to me."
- Rebecca (Angela Nicole Babb)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: March 06, 2003

Stars: Angela Nicole Babb, William Salyers
Director: Jason Francois

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, mature themes)
Run Time: 01h:36m:25s
Release Date: October 29, 2002
UPC: 658769206135
Genre: drama

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

DVD Review

Rebecca (Angela Nicole Babb) is a lonely, single executive who is attacked one evening in a parking garage by a violent rapist (William Salyers). She is somehow able to overpower her attacker, knock him out, dump him in her trunk, and take him home. When the rapist awakens, he finds himself chained to a chair as Rebecca's prisoner, and that's where the remaining 95 minutes of Damaged Goods takes place.

This ultimately looks like a two-character stage play made into a film (complete with plenty of fade-to-blacks between dramatic scenes), and over time, victim and attacker engage in meaningful conversations, play chess and develop one of those completely unbelievable relationships that we as viewers are supposed to just accept. Someone please tell me in what world would a woman who is nearly raped calmly play chess with her rapist?

At one point, Rebecca finally decides it is time to kill her hostage, and we follow her as she puts together a crude, homemade silencer out of a two-liter pop bottle filled with cotton balls. Despite much of the simplistic triteness of the script, the build-up to this moment somehow actually seemed genuine and understandable, as does her expected hesitation to actually commit murder. If writer/director Jason Francois had been able to keep this degree of "will she/won't she" tension more pronounced throughout the main section of the film, I may have been more willing to suspend a little disbelief during some of the more talkative chunks. The problem was that the two main characters were almost too polite to each other, and when Rebecca started dressing the wounds of her hostage, I gave up for good.

Francois has loaded Damaged Goods, which is billed, oddly enough, as a dark comedy, with scene after scene of Babb and Salyers going back and forth with revelations and confessions, and I was so far removed from caring about either of these people that by the time he unrolled an unexpectedly clever resolution to the whole mess, I was so deflated I was just relieved it was over.

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


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: The shoddy image transfer is what appears to be a nonanamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen print that is alternately grainy, fuzzy and faded. Colors looked drained, and fleshtones just don't look right at all. Brownie points for being widescreen, but this is just not a pretty sight.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: Audio is presented in 2.0 stereo, and the overall dynamics of the track is rather flat and listless. Dialogue is understandable, but there is a real lack of fullness, though it's not a major detriment to watching the film. The good news is no hiss or crackle, so that's something, at least.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than a full-motion menu and 12 chapter stops, the extras sections is barren.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Damaged Goods is just way too dreary and chatty for its own good, and I never once bought into the whole kidnap-the-rapist scenario. The premise is certainly interesting, but I couldn't make that necessary leap of faith required to buy into it.

It's billed as a dark comedy, but I didn't see anything funny, either.


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