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New Line Home Cinema presents
Excessive Force (1993)

"Let me tell you something. I've wasted the last three years of my life on DiMarco. I'm getting tired of watching him walking in and out of courtrooms in his $2000 suits and silk ties."
- Terry (Thomas Ian Griffith)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: November 09, 2003

Stars: Thomas Ian Griffith, Lance Henriksen, Tony Todd
Other Stars: James Earl Jones, Burt Young, Antoni Corone, Paula Anglin, Charlotte Lewis
Director: John Hess

Manufacturer: CVC
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language, sexuality and drug use
Run Time: 01h:26m:46s
Release Date: October 07, 2003
UPC: 794043672828
Genre: crime

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

DVD Review

Thomas Ian Griffith has played everything from Rock Hudson to a bloodthirsty vampire, and in 1993's Excessive Force he gets to tackle the renegade cop genre, playing Terry McCain, a long-haired, earring-wearing Chicago detective who naturally goes against the rules as he battles a violent, drug dealing mobster named DiMarco (Burt Young). When a drug bust goes bad, three million of DiMarco's dollars end up missing, and he blames it on corrupt cops, including good ol' Terry, who has to not just clear his name, but get revenge for the murder of his partner. Didn't see that one coming, did you?

That, my friend, was sarcasm, because there is nothing remotely new or interesting about Excessive Force (right down to its familiar sounding title), and while the finished product is occasionally brutally violent, such as when DiMarco rams a knife into the ear of an unfortunate lackey, the whole film has a by-the-numbers feel to it. Oddly enough, the script was written by Griffith, so if anyone is to really blame for the lack of originality in this it would have to fall back on him. Director John Hess, to his credit, does make the film somehow look good, along the lines of a high-rent original cable film, and even when craggy Lance Henriksen, here playing a craggy police captain, spouts grumbly dialogue, we pretty much know what he's going to say and do before he says or does it. Take it from me when I tell you that the overdone macho swagger that every male in this film exhibits is almost laughable.

The little touches that are supposed to humanize Terry's character, like the fact that he plays piano in a smoky jazz club, run by an embarrassed-to-be-here James Earl Jones, seem literally pooped out of the Screenwriter 101 cliché-o-meter. Add to the mix a black partner (check), sexy ex-wife (check), corrupt cops (check), and you have the makings of a film that can never really succeed because it is just regurgitating stuff that has already been done.

All of the dull fistfights and fiery explosions can do little to make this anything more than it is, which is something we've all seen before, and not necessarily something we would want to see again.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: What's a nice looking transfer doing on such a bad flick like this? New Line has provided both 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full-frame transfers, both on the same side of this dual-layered disc. Aside from the aspect ratio choices, both transfers sport well-rendered colors and deep, dark blacks that had me wishing the content was better so that I could enjoy how well this DVD looked. Kudos to New Line on the transfer.

No complaints at all. In fact, very, very nice.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Like the image transfer, the audio is particularly good, even if the film isn't. Available in either Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 Stereo Surround, Excessive Force manages to sound better than it should. The 5.1 track makes use of the .LFE track quite a bit, making some of the sequences slightly more engaging than they could have been with a lesser mix. Dialogue is clear, though Burt Young's mobster accent necessitated subtitles a couple of times, but overall voices are easy enough to understand. Channel separation and imaging is pronounced, with a significant amount of appropriate sound movement and placement based on what is occurring onscreen.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Blink, Heaven's Prisoners, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The only extras here, aside from the spiffy onscreen menu, are some trailers (Excessive Force, Blink, Heaven's Prisoners, Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace), and DVD-ROM weblinks to New Line properties.

The disc is cut into 24 chapters, and features subtitles in English.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Possibly worth a desperation rental for bored fans of the renegade cop genre, but anyone else would do wise to avoid it.


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