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New Line Home Cinema presents
Detonator (1993)

"Let me make this very clear. No one will know about this bomb. You will talk to no one, you will not leave this room unless I approve it. We're in a state of martial law, here, and I'm the marshall."
- Malcolm Philpott (Patrick Stewart)

Review By: Jeff Rosado   
Published: October 31, 2003

Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Patrick Stewart
Other Stars: Alexandria Paul, Ted Levine, Christopher Lee
Director: Christian Duguay

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: R for (violence, strong language)
Run Time: 01hr:38m:49s
Release Date: May 06, 2003
UPC: 794043632327
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- D+BB D+

DVD Review

For Pierce Brosnan, the timing of having been given a license to thrill as Agent 007 couldn't have come at a better moment. Thanks to inheriting the role of everybody's favorite secret agent, it saved him (and us) from having to endure movies like Detonator.

A meandering, workman-like "race against time" 1993 movie surfacing via New Line Home Video to cash-in on MGM's recent release of Die Another Day, our story begins in an overseas lab where a German physicist is using stolen plutonium to create nuclear bombs. It's all part of a plot hatched by former Russian General Benin (Christopher Lee) in order to, what else, play Mr. Domination. (And meet girls. Oh, I'm sorry, that was Stripes; sometimes I get my internationally-based flicks a little mixed up.)

Our nemesis hires Alex Tierney, a wacko American mercenary to hijack a Iraq bound train with one of these homemade "go-boom" contraptions. Oh, and if anyone gets in the way of the demands of his boss, they won't survive to hear Til We Meet Again playing over the end credits (I know, just let me be nostalgic). Watching all this activity with concerned bemusement and a theatrical English accent is United Nations Anti-Crime specialist Michael Philpott (Patrick Stewart). Not wanting to mess up his three-piece Botany 500 office wear, he calls upon the services of former colleague-turned-motorcycle-racer Mike Graham, who hightails it from the bluegrass of Kentucky to NYC's LaGuardia to suit up and save the world (if not the movie).

Could someone tell me how you can take three charismatic lead actors and source material from a very popular Alistair MacLean page turner and still strikeout at the plate? Sadly, Detonator manages just that. Though there are some mildly diverting action sequences (and I'm talking mild as a Rod McKuen album) and a decent bit late story twist, how are we supposed to work ourselves into a "guy flick" lather when Levine's character isn't all that much of a meanie? Maybe with a little tender loving care and some Yanni records as part of the therapy process, he might be as redeemable as that big ol' abominable snowman in Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer. Additionally, the "anything you can do, I can do better" battle of the sexes subplot pairing Brosnan with Baywatch's Alexandra Paul does nothing but induce cricket noises. Finally, poor Patrick Stewart; from the unintentionally hilarious voice-over prologue that kicks things off, to the way he carries himself around UN headquarters, he's still so into Picard mode that I halfway expected LeVar Burton and Jonathan Frakes to beam aboard and gently say something along the lines of "C'mon Captain; a few days rest at the infirmary and a refreshing bald wax will 'make it so' you can be your old self again."

Now, that would have been a cool premise for a Next Generation episode.

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


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Full Frame1.33:1 - n/a
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: With its bland colors and a somewhat distractingly dark presence at times (even in daylight sequences), the film looks like a cross between an almost finished final cut and a print source a generation or two down. Maybe this is due to the low budget television origins, but this film should look better than it does here. Sharpness is fine and edge enhancement is very minimal; anamorphic widescreen and full-frame options are both available via the wonders of dual layering.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Typical action/adventure audio in both 2.0 and 5.1 seasonings is present. There's a majestic, wide open musical soundstage (the score is not half bad, by the way), isolated gun fire and other foley doings alternating between screen-specific speakers efficiently, and crisp dialogue that doesn't get buried or overburdened by the action. Not the most memorable track for a film of this type, but it's respectable. Although the 5.1 puts a little more oomph into the rears during the action sequences, the original Dolby Surround track came off as more lively and natural.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring 15 Minutes, The Corruptor, Knockaround Guys, Rush Hour 2
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: There's a quartet of plugs for other (and mostly better) offerings in New Line's action adventure library. That's it.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Though it does display some glimmer of what would make a pre-James Bond Pierce Brosnan so winning as 007, there's just not enough to salvage Detonator.


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