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Miramax Pictures presents
Steal (2002)

"There's no such thing as too far!"
- Slim (Steven Dorff)

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: April 07, 2005

Stars: Steven Dorff, Natasha Henstridge, Bruce Payne
Other Stars: Steven Berkoff, Clé Bennett, Karen Cliche, Steven McCarthy
Director: Gerard Pires

MPAA Rating: R for language, some violence and sexuality
Run Time: 01h:24m:26s
Release Date: April 05, 2005
UPC: 786936249385
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- CBB+ C

DVD Review

Steal is a wobbly near-miss that tries real hard to rise out the forgettable B-movie pits to almost make it to the level of certifiably good "bad" action movie; it's a noisy, stunt-filled collection of scenes that generally don't make much real-life sense, but they occur with such a relentless effervescence that in a couple of spots I found myself getting hooked by the keep it movin' rhythm of director Gerard Pires.

And that rhythm seems to be more over-the-top form than logical content, so there is a need to make some leaps of faith when extreme rollerblading bank robber Slim (Steven Dorff) and his gang need to look inconspicuous after making a high-speed escape during their latest heist (that is, after leaping over countless cars and racing down busy streets during the opening credit chase sequence); they do so by helping a beautiful woman they randomly encounter moving heavy boxes into her new house. Of course we all know that is going to be one of those great movie cliches of convenience, because the beautiful woman is played by Natasha Henstridge, who we find out a scene or two later just happens to be a detective assigned to the case of catching Slim and his gang. Really, what are the odds?

There is the obligatory sexual chemistry between Dorff and Henstridge, resulting in some blatant body-double nudity, as well as the typically ruthless crooked cop (Bruce Payne) out to use the extreme crooks to line his own pockets. Steven Berkoff, barely disguising his real French accent, sports a towering pompadour and mangles his was through scenes chewing it up as a twangy Southern preacher/enforcer with a violent streak.

The good news, when you strip away the dumb dialogue and hammy acting, is that Pires fills Steal with a handful of above average stunt sequences, with things like a semi roaring along a highway on just its driver-side tires and the roller blade/bank escape bit that opens the film, both of which come off looking admittedly well done. The fact that the premise under which these situations occur is ridiculous is beside the point, because there isn't any believable connection between these scenes. They just happen. Yeah, they're supposed to be advancing the plot—something about Slim and the gang trying to cash $20 million worth of bearer bonds—but they mostly feel like set pieces that were created first, and then a story was written to fill in the cracks.

I've seen a lot of god awful B-movie action films in my time, and this is far from being the worst. To their credit Pires and D.P. Tetsuo Nagata at least makes Steal look like it cost 10 times what it did, and that is meant as a compliment. Most of the time it has a slick, highly-polished veneer, something most cheap action flicks lack.

Pires may have overused scenes of squealing police cars racing around town here, but he makes up for it by tossing in a nifty CG-induced bad-guy-getting-hit-by-multiple-cars scene that delivers a twisted payoff

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: I mentioned that Gerard Pires makes a good looking low-budget action film, and the 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer from Miramax does its part to also make this one look it cost a ton more. There is a subtle increase in orange hues throughout, a bit on the overprocessed side, making fleshtones look a little too hot at times. Image detail is above bar for a B-movie, and there are no major compression issues; the print is clean and blemish-free.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Only one audio choice, but it's Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Dialogue, even Bruce Payne's guttural mumbles, sound clear at all times. Rears get used quite a bit, and the sub provides the appropriate thumps during the frequent explosions and car crashes.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
1 Other Trailer(s) featuring Dracula III: Legacy
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Steal: Behind The Action (04m:10s) is your basic quickie EPK with Pires and most of the cast, showing the setup for some of the stunt sequences. Much of the same-old same-old, and Pires comes across like a spunky fellow who deserves more studio money to flex his action jones.

The disc is cut into 20 chapters, includes optional subtitles in English or Spanish, as well as a trailer for Dracula III: Legacy.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

This one looks good, delivers some cool stunts, but the story is on the laughably lame side. Pires, if he had a bigger budget and a better script, shows in Steal that he has the chops to carry off the requisite macho action machinations rather well. He just needs the right vehicle, and this isn't it.

 


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