McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Adele announces first tour since 2011 for album "25" ...
Kathie Lee Gifford's Family Reveals Her Late Husband Fr...
American Music Awards 2015: Proximity to action matters...
Brad Pitt Says He's 'Angry' at the Finance Industry Aft...
Adele Speaks Exclusively on New Music:'The Most Poignan...
'The Walking Dead' reveals Glenn's fate ...
Adele Performs on Saturday Night Live: Video ...
Blacklisted: The Inside Story of Dalton Trumbo and the ...
Ryan Seacrest Confirms All American Idol Judges Will Re...
Fargo' Preview: 5 Reasons You Should Be Watching This S...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Genius Products presents
Harsh Times (2005)

"I'm a soldier of the apocalypse, man!"
- Jim Davis (Christian Bale)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 12, 2007

Stars: Christian Bale, Freddy Rodriguez
Other Stars: Eva Longoria, Terry Crews, Noel Guglielmi
Director: David Ayer

MPAA Rating: R for (strong violence, language and drug use)
Run Time: 01h:56m:09s
Release Date: March 13, 2007
UPC: 796019799553
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- BA-A C+

DVD Review

Arguably the most talented actor working today, Christian Bale has recently boosted his appeal thanks to some high-profile roles. His turn in The Prestige was phenomenal and he simply is Batman now thanks to the winning reinvention, Batman Begins. Thankfully, it isn't like Bale to rest on his laurels and simply wait for the high-profile blockbusters to fall in his lap. Instead, he shows up in smaller projects like 2005's Harsh Times. This shelved product from Training Day writer/producer David Ayer hit a handful of theaters late in 2006, but is sure to appeal to Bale's growing fan base now that it's available on DVD.

Jim Davis (Bale) has just been rejected by the LAPD, who promised him a position following a tour of duty in the Middle East. The rejection leads Jim on a streak of violence and self-destruction, and, along with his buddy Mike (Freddy Rodriguez), the booze starts to flow, guns are fired, and illegal drugs consumed. While not a saint himself, Mike becomes caught in the middle of Jim's tirades, jeopardizing his already rocky relationship with Sylvia (Eva Longoria). What sounds like a typical day for your average delusional psychotic turns into a hellish downward spiral. The only question is whether Jim takes Mike all the way down with him.

This is Bale like you've never seen him before, and he's always been a rather chameleonic performer. His hardcore, lewd-language-filled tirades and rampant violent outbursts had me thinking the story was going to take a drastic turn and eventually reveal his character to be an undercover cop. Instead, Jim Davis turns out to be just an extremely messed up war veteran. In what could have been a clownish, pedestrian mockery of such a character turns into a tour-de-force by the always impressive Bale. It's so great to see such a big star tackle a role in a small, barely distributed film.

Unfortunately, Jim Davis goes a little too crazy for the movie's good as things progress. The character teeters between edgy and over-the-top during the entire film, but leans more towards the latter down the stretch. However, these shortcomings are easily forgotten, thanks to a shocking ending that features one of the most breathtaking slow-motion sequences since The Matrix. In pulling this dazzling effect off, Ayer actually makes it easier to forgive the unnecessary, distracting flashback cuts that take us back to Jim's military experiences. These have worked in the past for other pictures, but they're just not elaborate enough, generating confusion. If we're supposed to believe that Jim has been scarred by being in the field, such visuals need to be either fleshed out or completely left to our imagination.

Many character studies involving psychologically damaged military veterans carry at least a glimmer of hope. It's this story's complete lack of such that makes it such a tough sell, and an even tougher chore to mentally revisit following the end credits. Yet despite the tough nature of the proceedings, Ayer paces things brilliantly, making it difficult to push the pause button even once. There's a simple opening title sequence, and then we jump right into Jim's crazed mind. There's no letting up for pointless exposition, as gritty and hard-nosed are the order of the day. He's got plenty of room left for improvement, but as far as directorial debuts go, Ayer is off to a good start.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation stays true to Ayer's visual intentions. Image detail is crisp, but some softness and grain do creep in. However, those aspects are simply style choices for this unique visual experience. The flashback sequences feature bright flashes of light, but the overall color scheme remains natural and well-done, despite these bursts. Fortunately, there don't appear to be any unintentional blemishes in the transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is extremely impressive, making wonderful use of the surrounds and directional effects. Bass presence is phenomenal, adding a tight, aggressive punch to the action sequences and rap-music-heavy soundtrack. Despite the often loud activity, the dialogue never suffers, remaining clear throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Black Christmas, School For Scoundrels
9 TV Spots/Teasers
7 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Writer/producer/director David Ayer
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The extras begin with an audio commentary by writer/producer/director David Ayer. He's generally pleasing to listen to, and we get numerous anecdotes about the shoot along with technical tidbits.

Along for the ride are seven deleted scenes that run for nearly 13 minutes, though they aren't major omissions from the finished film. They basically provide extended looks at some sequences, with footage that was trimmed to tighten the pacing a bit.

We also get the film's original theatrical trailer, as well as nine TV spots, four of which are in Spanish.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Barely released and virtually unknown, Harsh Times is a worthwhile rental, if only for Christian Bale's performance. While far from a perfect film, David Ayer shows promise as a first-time director, crafting a down and dirty mood. The DVD features excellent audio and video, as well as an Ayer commentary track and deleted scenes.


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


music, adele, 25, tour europe, spotify, apple music, pandora music inc., television, frank gifford, nfl hall of famer, sportscaster, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, kathy lee gifford, american music awards, talor swift, one direction, jennifer lopez, selena gomez, nicki minaj, justin bieber, movie, the big short, steve carell, ryan gosling, christian bale, michael lewis, brad pitt, hello, 19, 21, the walking dead, amc, davod alpert, glen, heads up, saturday night live, 25 album, skyfall, nrj awards, graham norton, herbert biberman, john howard lawson, lester cole, ring lardner jr., samuel ornitz, adrian scott, albert maltz, alvah bessie, edward dmytryk, dalton trumbo, reality, american idol, ryan seacrest, mariah carey, ellen degeneres, harry connick jr., keith urban, simon cowell, paula abdul, randy jackson, steven tyler, kara dioguardi, televison, fargo, fx, kirsten dunst, jesse plemons, jean smart, jeffrey donovan, bokeem woodbine, brad garrett, patrick wilson, celebrity, bruce willis, laurie metcalf, misery, broadway debut, paris tragedy, u2, foo fighters, steven spielberg, natalie portman, book, the diary of anne frank, otto frank, swiss foundation, daytime talk, 2000 shows, justin timberlake, jennifer aniston, sequel, animated, finding nemo, finding dory, disney-pixar, diane keaton, eugene levy, inventor, hedy lamarr, google doodle, ecstasy, samson and delilah, bbc music, angelina jolie pitt, by the sea, troubled marriage, mr. & mrs. smith, gwen stefani blake shelton, country music awards, the voice, miranda lambert, jon stewart, john oliver, hbo, wonder woman, nicole kidman, amazonian warrior, gal gadot, chris pine, nick lachey, 98 degrees, pot grower, ohio, nanette lepore, oscar robertson, frostee rucker, the red bulletin, james bond, daniel craig, naomi harris, bond girl, a. o. scott, 1977, star wars, elvis, beatles, sesame street, j.k. rowling, israel, palestine, culture for coexistence, harry potter and the deathly hallows, ricky gergais, 2016 golden globes, hollywood foreign press association, jessica biel, 2015 fashion group international night of stars gala, flip phone, the power of love, huey lewis, michael j. fox, back to the future, carrie, bipolar disorder, quinn, saul, jonas

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store