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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
The Harvest (1993)

"The days are a little like the women here—slippery and hard to stay on top of."
- Steve Mobley (Tim Thomerson)

Review By: Robert Edwards   
Published: October 24, 2004

Stars: Miguel Ferrer, Leilani Sarelle
Other Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Anthony John Denison, Tim Thomerson, Matt Clark, Henry Silva
Director: David Marconi

MPAA Rating: R for violence, language, and strong sexuality.
Run Time: 01h:36m:43s
Release Date: October 26, 2004
UPC: 043396060166
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

So a guy walks into a bar, and a friendly local buys him a drink. The next thing he knows, it's the next morning, as he wakes up in a bathtub full of ice. He's suffering from severe lower back pain, and a trip to the doctor reveals the horrible truth—he was drugged and one of his kidneys has been surgically removed.

This classic urban legend of organ harvesting for profit has been making the rounds for years, and The Harvest is one more variation on the myth. Miguel Ferrer stars as Charlie Pope, who's on Prozac after a bitter divorce-induced nervous breakdown. He's been writing and rewriting a screen play for his boss Bob (Harvey Fierstein) for the last two years, so he packs his bags and heads to the sunny climes of Costa Azul to do some research. It's never too clear exactly what he's up to, but it's not long before he finds out that a supposed mob hit was really a police coverup for the murder of a "gringo" involved in child pornography.

Pope follows the lead to a gay nightclub, where he's quickly hit on by an American guy with painted pink toenails, but he's far more interested in the blonde beauty Natalie (Ferrer's wife Leilani Sarelle). She's not exactly the shy and retiring type, and all it takes is an ice cube down her shorts, which she removes, rubs over his fevered brow and then pops into his mouth, to pique his interest. But their midnight assignation goes horribly wrong, and Pope wakes up on an operating table, an IV stuck into his arm, and a large incision down his lower back.

The Harvest is a fairly silly movie, which doesn't have a clue as to what it wants to be. The DVD packaging promises a "shocking psycho thriller," and this reviewer immediately thought of the chilling Coma, but the kidney harvesting is only a tiny fraction of the plot. The poorly-developed budding romance moves forward mostly via supposedly erotic scenes that look like they're out of some late-night movie on Cinemax, and the repeated and ultimately annoying scenes of Pope being pressured by his boss add nothing to the story. Within the muddled plot, there are scenes that are filmed so poorly as to be laughable, most egregiously so in a late-night drive where Natalie stands on the car seat and sticks her head out of the sun roof, her long blonde hair a-blowin' in the wind. It's so obviously filmed in a studio that not even a child would be fooled. Worse, there are not one but two clichéd and trite plot twists at the end, one of which might be a justification for the poor writing, but isn't.

If there is a reason to watch The Harvest, it's because it looks great. Director David Marconi and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki make the best of the exotic Mexican locations, and the film is filled with local color. Lubezki's palette is filled with yellow and earth tones, and he makes great use of natural light, so the film has a beautiful honeyed look. This is Marconi's only film as a director, but there are some scenes or parts of scenes that are skillfully done, including some clever graphic matches.

The performances are okay, although Miguel Ferrer doesn't have much of a range, and one suspects that Leilani Sarelle didn't get the part based solely on her acting ability. Harvey Fierstein is, well, Harvey Fierstein, and the other supporting roles aren't much better.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: The pan-and-scan transfer is good. Colors tend towards the brown end of the spectrum, but this is a feature of the source, and not a fault of the transfer. There's a fair bit of detail, although there's also some grain, and black levels are not very good.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno

Audio Transfer Review: The two-channel Dolby sound is also good, with reasonable dynamic range and lots of stereo separation. It's clear enough to reveal the sometimes-muddled location dialogue, as well as the obvious ADR lines dubbed in later.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Resident Evil: Apocalypse, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Secret Window
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The three trailers are presented sequentially, with no menu. Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Secret Window are anamorphic with 5.1 Dolby sound, and look and sound great. Annoyingly, the less attractive I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is nonanamorphic, forcing those of us with widescreen televisions to repeatedly reach for the remote control.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

The Harvest is a muddled, clumsy film that can't decide whether it wants to be a horror film, an erotic romance, or a an out-an-out action movie. Despite the pan-and-scan transfer, it looks good, but don't wait in line for this one at the video store.


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