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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
First Shot (2002)

"I couldn't stop it Grant. I tried."
- Alex McGregor (Mariel Hemingway)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: April 06, 2003

Stars: Mariel Hemingway, Doug Savant, Jenna Leigh Green, Dean Wray
Other Stars: Gregory Harrison, Wanda Cannon, Sebastian Spence, Steve Makaj, Andrew Johnston, Michelle Harrison, Christian Bocher
Director: Armand Mastroianni

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence
Run Time: 01h:31m:54s
Release Date: April 08, 2003
UPC: 043396005747
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ CCC+ D+

DVD Review

In an effort not to offend any particular culture or group, writers of today's lower-tier action films have come across a new brand of villain—the militia. Angry at the direction of their country, these digruntled ex-military guys are willing to do anything to destroy the current governement. Their plans usually run along the lines of assassinating a prominent politician, often the President of the United States. These lone-wolf types have no emotional ties and only will be happy when they have caused serious trouble to the American establishment. Of course, a hero always exists to save our country from these unpatriotic souls. Secret Service agent Alex McGregor (Mariel Hemingway) is one of these great defenders who does her job with tremendous fervor and efficiency.

Following in the grand tradition of First Daughter and First Target, First Shot once again places the life of President Jonathan Hayes (Gregory Harrison) into serious danger. You would think that security would be ridiculously tight after numerous past attempts, but the opening certainly remains for enemies to attack the president. This time a sniper's bullet does strike the Commander-in-Chief and send him to the hospital for emergency surgery. Adam Carter (Dean Wray) hopes to succeed where his brothers failed in the past. Bearing a slight resemblance to a modern-day Lorenzo Lamas, Carter wreaks considerable havoc and seems able to slip from authorities without too much trouble. His target is also Alex, who caused his brothers' defeat during a past attempt to kidnap the president's daughter Jess (Jenna Leigh Green). Of course, he underestimates this tough gal, which leads to the expected consequences.

After yielding to Daryl Hannah in First Target, Mariel Hemingway reprises her role as Alex and brings significant weight to the role. Unfortunately, it never seems like her heart is really into the material, which makes the supposedly emotional scenes fall flat. Most occur with husband Grant Coleman (Doug Savant), who also returns from the first two films. While he constantly attempts to plan their honeymoon, her work keeps getting in the way. In other subplots, President Hayes is now dating a new woman, which causes some friction with his daughter. We also have attractive sidekick Courtney Robinson (Michelle Harrison) fawning over a co-worker and having uninteresting discussions with her partner. These moments help to stretch the film to a feature-length running time, but add little to the overall story.

Returning for yet another mundane television action picture, director Armond Mastroianni (First Target, First Daughter) helms with little flair or elements of interest. Everything does flow together competently, but it almost seems like the crew was working on autopilot. None of the acting is laugh-inducing, but it also never moves beyond the straightforward B-movie delivery. It's not really their fault, however, as the bland dialogue can only be taken so far. Perhaps worthwhile for action-film completists, First Shot lacks the creativity to move beyond being a mediocre time-waster.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Although it does utilize a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer, First Shot offers few indications of much visual remastering. Signficant grain exists on much of the picture, and the colors remain fairly muted. Dark interior scenes are not very clear, and even the exterior scenes are far from spectacular. This transfer only ranks slightly above the expected television image quality.

Image Transfer Grade: C


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: This release offers an average 2.0-channel Dolby Surround transfer that presents the sounds relatively clearly. Unfortunately, this track does have quick breaks of silence that showcase the lack of interest by Columbia TriStar in this release. For the most part, the dialogue is understandable and the sounds have a slight punch, but the cuts cannot be ignored.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Japanese, French with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Half Past Dead, I Spy, National Security
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: First Shot's lone extra features are trailers for Half Past Dead, I-Spy, and National Security. It is fitting that a subpar film would be accompanied by previews for three bad movies. Each trailer appears in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer and utilizes a 5.1-channel Dolby Digital track.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

First Shot does not rank among the very bottom of the constantly growing pile of action pictures. The plot does make sense, and the editing flows well enough to generate mild interest. However, this type of story has been told so many times that it is extremely difficult to make it compelling. Probably suitable for a weary night in front of the television, this television picture will quickly be forgotten shortly after viewing it.


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