Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Colorz of Rage (1999)
"War's exactly what we all about. We're taking over where the Black Panthers left off - only we takin' it a little further."- Kaleal (Ali)
Stars: Nicki Richards, Dale Resteghini, Ali, Don Wallace
Other Stars: Leif Riddell, Cherly ‘Pepsi’ Riley, Redman
Director: Dale Resteghini
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language
Run Time: 01h:30m:40s
Release Date: 2003-07-22
DVD ReviewTell me if you've heard this one before: a young couple, he an aspiring actor, she an aspiring singer, head to New York City to make it big. Their families don't understand. Once there, their plans don't quite pan out, and soon they are working menial jobs, money is tight, and tensions begin to surface in their relationship. The lure of easy, but illegal, money is just a little too tempting, leading to trouble with the law. She finally gets her big chance to sing in a club for a record producer, but *gasp* will she miss it because of a family crisis?
Okay, it's not quite that simple. Tony (Dale Resteghini) is white, and Debbie (Nicki Richards) is African-American, and they are very much in love, despite the lack of support from many of their friends, who aren't too happy with the mix. Tony is being targeted by Kaleal (Ali), a leader of a group known as the "New Black Revolution," who have their own internal discord to deal with.
But there's not much else going on here. The characters have all been stamped out with cookie cutters, with the exception of Rocco, an aging club impresario whose habit of speaking of himself in the third person is far out-bizarroed by his endless parade of feather boas, pearls, and shorty kimonos. The dialogue is mostly banal, the characters providing us with a sort of Descriptive Video Service (after Tony and Debbie head for NYC, there's a cut to a shot of the two of them in bed, and Debbie says "Finally, we're in an apartment in New York!"). Framing is pedestrian, the editing often clumsy. Other problems are more likely the result of the low budget of the film—some scenes are out of focus, and there are intermittent sound problems.
But even in a mediocre film there is occasionally one single element that makes the viewing experience worthwhile, and in Colorz of Rage that element is Nicki Richards as Debbie Lewis. She is simply outstanding—beautiful and sexy, with a wonderful voice that is showcased in several concert sequences. As if that were not enough, she is also a talented, natural actress, although she strains a bit in sequences that require extreme emotion. I'm going to take my cue from the movie here and trot out a hoary old cliché—Nicki Richards lights up the screen.
Rating for Style: C-
Rating for Substance: C
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - P&S|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: This is a transfer that couldn't hit the lofty heights of mediocrity in its dreams. It looks like somebody ran some ratty patch cables between their VHS machine and their DVD recorder and hit the "record" button. Day scenes are washed out, with little or no color, and what little color there is frequently takes on a strange yellow or purple cast. Interior and night scenes have little or no contrast, with zero shadow detail. The image is often very soft, although some of this may be inherent in the source material.
The credits are letterboxed at something less than 1.85, with the remainder of the film being pan & scan, which probably contributes to some of the framing problems.
Image Transfer Grade: D+
Audio Transfer Review: The audio is fortunately better than the video. During the concert sequences, the sound is full, lush, and enjoyable, although limited to stereo with no surround activity. The dialogue is usually clear, although occasionally very strident, and the budget problems mentioned above probably contribute to its less-than-stellar quality.
Audio Transfer Grade: C+
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Packaging: Keep Case
- Printed insert with chapter listing
Extras Grade: F
Final CommentsIf you can overlook the plot clichés, banal dialogue, barely-adequate acting, VHS-quality transfer and less-than-stellar sound, you might appreciate this film's plea for racial tolerance and harmony. Or just watch it for Nicki Richards, who outclasses everything else in the film.
Robert Edwards 2003-07-13