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Home Vision Entertainment presents

Kick 'N Rush (2 Ryk og 1 aflevering) (2003)

Jakob: What kind of men are we?
Mikkel: LEGO men. They don't have any balls.- Jacob Krarup, Esben Smed Jensen

Stars: Jacob Krarup, Cyron Bjørn Melville, Esben Smed Jensen, Marie Bach Hansen, Niels Ellegaard
Director: Aage Rais-Nordentoft

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (some language, sexual content, and drug use)
Run Time: 01h:34m:07s
Release Date: 2005-06-21
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- C+BB+ D


DVD Review

Europeans may be more receptive to the kinds of cinema many Americans find slow, cerebral, and unentertaining, but they also eat up our blockbusters. As a result, they too create mass consumption cinema. There's money to be made in genre films, such as the eminently popular coming-of-ager. The Danish-born Kick 'N Rush finds its footing in this category, but comes off as quite schizophrenic: it's a soccer movie, romantic comedy, and crime drama rolled into one, and it seems unsure which genre to lock in on.

Jakob (Jacob Krarup) and his two friends, Mikkel (Esben Smed Jensen) and Bo (Cyron Bjørn Melville), are soccer teammates and classroom buddies in Lystrup, Denmark. Their minds gravitate toward the usual high school fare: sex and liquor seems to take precedence over studying history. Each is on his own path, but Bo's life seems to have the most potential. A blossoming soccer star, the youngster has a real chance at a professional career, but his parent-less life and misguided choices threaten his future. Strangely, Jakob and Mikkel don't seem too concerned; they're content to let the consequences of Bo's actions hit him hard.

Meanwhile, Jakob has said goodbye to his high school crush. As she departs for Africa, a new girl enters his life. The stunning Mathilde (Marie Bach Hansen) has noticed Jakob for a while, but he only recently took to her charms. Both are quite innocent about the whole pursuit, but they dive in. It's a chaotic time of breaking into summer houses for late-night drinking, grueling soccer games, and hashing through the turmoil of first love. At the other end, lessons will be learned, and friendships tested.

Kick 'N Rush is a mixed affair. I appreciate the film's attempt to bring a maturity to its exploration, avoiding the throwaway juvenile hijinks of such teenyboppers as American Pie. Still, there is a hollow feeling to the story here, which is somewhat undeveloped, jarringly shifting from moments of goofy comedy to straight-laced, hard-hitting drama. There are major loose ends throughout: A friend is essentially framed for a crime, and the story just forgets about it; Jakob has a strange and disturbing encounter with a friend's sister that is also swept under the carpet; it seems actions come without consequences in suburban Denmark.

The film is shot in a grainy, dingy documentary style that makes this resemble a Dogma 95 picture. This look is kind of distracting at times, but the film still engages with some interesting use of fisheye lenses and its bizarre color palate. Performances seem quite inexperienced, but they're by no means horrible. Jacob Krarup's gaping-mouth rendition of the protagonist is effective in a Keanu Reeves kind of way, and the beauty of newcomer Marie Bach Hansen surely made the experience more bearable.

I'm kind of torn on this one; I was more entertained than I expected, but the film's lack of focus and inexplicable plot choices hurt the experience. Still, check it out if you're up for a twisty soccer tryst.

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


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: As stated, this is a heavily stylized film. Colors are oversaturated and dingy throughout. Detail is on the softer side, and grain is heavy. This looks to be a fine, accurate transfer of the film's intended look, but it won't be demo material any time soon.

Image Transfer Grade: B

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Danishno
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Danish Dolby 5.1 track is quite lively when called for. Dialogue is clear and surrounds are engaged for ambient fill, or sound effect support during Jakob's daydreams. LFE kicks in during a dance sequence.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+ 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Insert containing an interview with director Aage Rais-Nordentoft
Extras Review: Aside from a letterboxed trailer (which is quite misleading and crude in its marketing strategy), the only extra is an insert containing an interview with director Aage Rais-Nordentoft. He reveals the original concept of the film, which leaned toward a collection of shorts; that may have been more effective.

Extras Grade: D

Final Comments

This Danish coming-of-age outing is not a complete failure, but it suffers from an empty lack of focus. There are still some moments that ring true. Home Vision's presentation is on target, but lacking in extras.

Matt Peterson 2005-06-20