"In a world of high tech secrets, the survival of justice is at stake...and all that stands between anarchy and order (dramatic pause) is one man..."
If movie trailer guy says it, it has to be true. Well, maybe not so much. View the trailer for 'Drop Zone,' and you start to wonder about a certain deep voiced gentleman's credibility. The two minute clip parades around like a pun-riddled, smarmy bantering piece of horrendously unintentional comedy, so if the film were anywhere near as entertaining as its trailer, I would have been in for the ride of my life.
Then I watched it. I don't know if I've ever been more mortified during a film, ever. Not even Kathy Bate's floppy performance in 'About Schmidt' scared me to this level. All I wanted to do was laugh, like the trailer promised me I would. I suppose the level of ineptitude shown in 'Drop Zone' could be considered funny, if it didn't chill me closer to the bone than the sense of vertigo I had watching both sky divers and careers plummet.
"This is serious guacamole."
Before Wesley Snipes was a wanted man himself for his excessively creative tax returns, he was The Man. An air marshall, mind you, but still, the man. Working under the alias Pete Nessip, Snipes gets put under the microscope (and under review with no badge or gun) when a prisoner transfer he is supervising gets hijacked, with an explosion killing numerous innocent civilians, and his fellow marshall brother. The culprit? Gary Busey, whose ginormous teeth don't let us believe his alternate persona "Ty Moncrief." Snipes must infiltrate the world of competitive skydiving, as his hunches are never, ever wrong (you'd think someone who is right about every assumption he makes would be in a higher position, like psychic chief or some shit), with the help of Jessie Crossman (Yancy Butler) and her thick-as-a-roll-of-dimes eyebrows. The super-cop who currently isn't a cop on a technicality has to become as daring as his skydiving compatriots to prevent the evil Busey from stealing the DEA's supply of teeth whitener/list of undercover agents worldwide.
Alright, to be honest, Snipes doesn't actually portray himself...but he may as well, considering he shows less range here than a man in a full body cast. However, Busey, in all his maniacal goodness, does play himself. Little known fact: he hijacks planes on his off time. The rest of the cast includes Michael Jeter (who didn't get past the Double A farm club) as hacker Earl Leedy, and Kyle Secor as an unbathed wildman skydiver named Swoop.
What is there to say about 'Drop Zone' that doesn't include numerous curses against all that is holy? Characters literally think out loud when there's no one to hear them. Snipes doesn't even do a good job portraying his stereotypical Wesley Snipes-esque character, despite the years of practice. Montages? You betcha there's some montage action, hot, nasty montage goodness. Ridiculous special effects, a terrible, borderline hackneyed plot that snowballs at the end in a brainless deluge of bullets at the crescendo for no apparent reason, and meaningless conflicts involving background characters that do nothing to advance the plot? More than enough!
If I were ever to sit down to 'Drop Zone' again, I'd want a recut version. Basically, all Gary Busey and his Nick Nolte DUI picture-esque hairdo. Why not, as he's the only positive in this film. It's hard to see why Snipes' career nosedived considering such an amazing effort he put out in this award worthy film. In addition to the money he's had to repay the government, I'm going to ask him for my money back, and I didn't even pay to see this steaming pile of unfortunate career choices. In lieu of any further mean spirited comments concerning 'Drop Zone,' it may be best to use this space to discuss a matter that should be taken with the utmost seriousness, as it affects us all. If you, or someone you know, thinks the best thing they can do with nearly two hours of their life is rewatch 'Drop Zone,' treatment is available.
"We have tasted your free sample and have decided we want more."
'Drop Zone' isn't anywhere near the zone on Blu-ray...it kinda dropped the ball. Ah, the puns, they're a flowin'. Presented with an AVC MPEG-4 encode (1080p, 2.35:1), 'Drop Zone' is mired with inconsistency.
Colors are solid...ah wait, scratch that. The picture is sharp, loaded with detail...scratch that too. It's extremely clear and...wait, nevermind. You get the idea. In addition to the constant contrast wavering, color discrepancies, and detail and clarity ups and downs, there is some light edge enhancement, some frozen grain (check the shot starting at the 20:24 mark for a frozen grain background that shifts around like it were a piece of cardboard being waved by a ten year old), and light artifacting issues. Blacks are soft and never hold up, while dirt gets thick and thin randomly. Best of all, backgrounds look like they were all matte painted, they stand out so horribly, while better yet, special effects are slowed down, with differing colors, a ridiculous bump in softness, and receive a wonderful three dimensional bump by being completely removed from the picture. As much of a joke as the film is, this transfer is almost as bad. It shows promise at times with wonderful clarity, then utterly mucks it all up, just to show it can.
'Drop Zone' may be a mess in the video department, but the audio wants to take a moment and state that it is the highlight of this release. That said, the comparison is much like a wrestling bout between John Cena and a sack of potatoes...he may win, but it isn't like it's some massive accomplishment.
Dialogue is occasionally overpowered by the action, but it's still faintly discernible in said moments, and it never has the cajones to stray past the front channels. Additionally, it's occasionally muffled with a light tint of feedback. Funnily enough, directionality and localization effects are solid, though movement is as clunky as the special effects. The sound is often incredibly hollow, with some interior scenes having a massive echo to boot, when logically speaking, there would be none. The highlights of this track include the low end, which provides some very fun rumblings (though they are far from consistent), and the wind effects that hit the rear speakers often, putting me and my vertigo in a tizzy from time to time. Thanks, 'Drop Zone,' for sounding good enough to give me the cold sweats!
It's hard to hate on any film that has such intricate exchanges as:
"We're right on schedule..."
"Well the schedule's gonna change!"
That said, not even the sparkling, intellectually stimulating dialogue can save the film from itself. The entire movie is an atrocity, and nowhere near as entertaining (even for the wrong reasons) as the trailer would indicate. The Blu-ray release of the film has sporadic video qualities, solid audio, and pathetic extras. Skip it, and buy one of Lionsgate's other catalog titles, like 'The Running Man' or 'The Phantom.'