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New Line Home Cinema presents
Heaven's Prisoners (1995)

"I had to live through it too. And I won't do it again, Dave. I can't."
- Annie (Kelly Lynch)

Review By: Jon Danziger   
Published: November 04, 2003

Stars: Alec Baldwin, Mary Sutart Masterson, Kelly Lynch, Teri Hatcher, Eric Roberts
Director: Phil Joanou

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and language, and for some nudity
Run Time: 02h:12m:19s
Release Date: October 07, 2003
UPC: 794043672521
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C- DB+B+ D

DVD Review

Put together a bunch of talented people, and sometimes magic happens. Sometimes it doesn't, though, and that's what we've got here—the credits list capable actors and filmmakers on Heaven's Prisoners, but the movie they made is a serious bore. It's not train-wreck awful (which is actually something of a disappointment), but it makes very little sense and most of it is simply stultifying.

Alec Baldwin plays Dave Robicheaux, who's got a lot of exes attached to him: ex-drinker, ex-cop, ex-city guy. Now he's off the sauce and the New Orleans police force, living out on the bayou with his lovely wife, Annie (Kelly Lynch). They're out on their boat one day, when BOOM, a plane crashes into the water, just a couple of hundred yards from them. Dave daringly dives in after possible survivors; the only one is a little girl, who doesn't speak a word of English. Dave and Annie silently agree on a pact: they're going to keep this child as their own.

Why they do this remains baffling through the run of the movie, though their unspoken desire to start a family motivates much of their behavior. As luck would have it, they picked the wrong little girl off of the wrong little plane. (But hey, I guess you take whichever little girl falls out of the heavens and into remote Louisiana.) They find themselves in the middle of the proverbial drug deal gone bad, and Annie and Dave are soon caught in the crossfire, between the local authorities, the D.E.A., the Mafia, and whatever other generic-looking bad guys the filmmakers can rustle up.

You can tell that the film wants to convey a strong sense of place, and while the locations are lovely, the Louisiana accents are not. Everybody is laying it on really thick, and at times the movie feels like an insanely long and misguided Adam Sandler Cajun Man sketch. The cast is fairly respectable—Vondie Curtis Hall is winning as a D.E.A. agent, and Mary Stuart Masterson is much better than her part deserves—she's a stripper with a heart of gold. How novel. Eric Roberts has very odd braided hair as Bubba, Dave's old pal, and a certain segment of the audience will no doubt be checking out this disc merely because it includes a brief nude scene from Teri Hatcher. But really, that doesn't make this worth the price of admission.

Baldwin made this shortly after playing Stanley Kowalski on Broadway; fortunately, his Louisiana phase seems to be a thing of the past now. Every now and again director Phil Joanou gets it together to give us a shootout or a barfight, but you'll frequently find yourself asking: Who are these guys again? The whole thing is fraudulent, really, and it's not even entertaining. Teri Hatcher with her clothes off and Alec Baldwin loosening Eric Roberts' teeth may be your idea of a good time at the movies; it isn't mine.

Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The whole movie is incredibly glossy—it's shot like a beer ad. The transfer is adequate, and it's too bad that there isn't much else to go with the pretty pictures.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The audio options are bountiful, and are in fact the best thing about this DVD. The DTS track sounds especially smooth and well balanced, though you won't lose much with the 5.1 option (except possibly some low-end cicadas). But don't sweat it, pal—even if your home theater isn't tricked out with lots of speakers, the bad accents are just as clear on the 2.0 track.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Blink, Lawnmower Man 2, Excessive Force
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. DVD credits
Extras Review: Click on More From New Line for the additional trailers, and on the New Line logo for DVD credits. The case says that the disc is DVD-ROM-enabled, and though I can't access this from my Macintosh, the smart money says that this will provide only a link to some New Line websites.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

For the audience, the emphasis here is decidedly on the second word in the film's title, not the first. If you really need to see Teri Hatcher with her clothes off, no doubt you can find the appropriate JPEG on the web somewhere.


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