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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Cutaway (2000)

Red Line: Your fear is what is keeping you down.
Cooper: My fear of what?
Red Line: Dying.

- Red Line (Tom Berenger) and Cooper (Stephen Baldwin)

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: February 27, 2001

Stars: Stephen Bladwin, Tom Berenger
Other Stars: Maxine Bahns, Dennis Rodman, Ron Silver, Casper Van Dien
Director: Guy Manos

MPAA Rating: R for violence, brief nudity and language
Run Time: 01h:44m:16s
Release Date: January 09, 2001
UPC: 012236114956
Genre: action


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

DVD Review

When I first saw the cover for Guy Manos' skydiving thriller, Cutaway, I was immediately turned off. While I enjoy skydiving and find it to be a fascinating sport, there is something about seeing the faces of Stephen Baldwin, Tom Berenger, and Dennis Rodman together in a film that frightens me. With that said, Cutaway isn't nearly as bad as one might think it would be. The action is well done and the skydiving sequences are very engaging—and even Rodman comes off well.

Cutaway tells the story of a federal agent (Baldwin) trying to infiltrate a group of skydivers believed to be involved in drug smuggling operations. Led by Red Line (Berenger), the close knit group of divers live for nothing else but the thrill of the jump. Cooper is immediately accepted into the skydiving group and is an instant success at jumping. He quickly moves through the ranks and becomes closer to Red Line and the secrets he has. But when Cooper begins to get too personally involved in the case his views of right and wrong become unclear.

If the plot sounds familiar, that is because it has been done before. Cutaway takes its plot from not only Point Break but also the Wesley Snipes film Drop Zone. While it is not uncommon for a plot line to be recycled, do we really need three films about exactly the same thing? In Point Break it was bank robbers and surfers while Drop Zone had skydivers and drug bosses, much like Cutaway.

The biggest problem with Cutaway is that the film is obviously centered on skydiving, yet the subplots have nothing to do with the sport. The whole undercover cop subplot seems to have been thrown in only to pad the running time. Another subplot about the pursuit of a championship trophy would have been a nice focal point for the film, but the pursuit of smugglers just seems tacked on.

The saving grace of the film is director Guy Manos. In his first feature film, Manos handles the action and stunts very well, and it came as no surprise that his previous credits are as the stunt coordinator for Last Action Hero as well as Drop Zone. It isn't hard to tell that Manos is clearly a sky diving fan and it certainly shows here.

And in what may well be the most surprising aspect of the film, each of the actors does a well enough job. Berenger is appropriately over the top and intense as Red Line, and Baldwin does a nice job as Cooper. Dennis Rodman is tolerable as Red Line's sidekick, and Maxine Bahns (She's The One) takes a break from Edward Burns' movies to play the token female love interest. Casper Van Dien and Ron Silver also have supporting roles.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer for Cutaway doesn't rival some of the other transfers I have seen from the folks at Artisan, but it is far from the worst. . The blues of the sky, of which there are plenty, come off nicely as do the other vibrant colors. Black levels are good; sharpness and detail are for the most part very good. The major flaws in the transfer are the excessive print scratches as well as the overly soft look to the film. This isn't a flawless transfer, but as I said, it isn't the worst I have ever seen.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Presented with only a Dolby 2.0 mix, Cutaway isn't a sonic experience by any means, but what is provided gets the job done. Essentially a front heavy mix, dialogue and effects are nicely done and the separation of the right and left speakers makes for a nice 360 degree soundfield. Music and ambient sounds occupy the surround channels for the most part and the .1 LFE mix makes its presence felt more than once.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 15 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Production Notes
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by director Guy Manos; actors Stephen Baldwin and Maxine Bahns
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: The extra features on the DVD of Cutaway are led by two feature length commentary tracks. The first is by director Guy Manos who does admit that he did some of the stunts for Red Line when Berenger was "unavailable." Manos mainly deals with his love for skydiving and how he drew from some of his real life experiences for the script. The other track is by actors Maxine Bahns and Stephen Baldwin, who get along very well, and have some funny stories about their experiences making the film. Baldwin does the lion's share of the talking, but Bahns gets a few interesting tidbits in here and there.

A theatrical trailer, photo gallery, production notes, and a cast and crew section round out the disc.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

While I will admit that Cutaway isn't a good movie, it has its qualities. The stunts and action scenes are very well done and the audio and video portions of the disc are also worthy of note. I wouldn't buy this film, but I wouldn't have been disappointed had I rented it.

 


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