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Blu-Ray : One to Avoid
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Release Date: November 22nd, 2011 Movie Release Year: 2011


Overview -

A single mom and her child are carjacked by a bank robber.

One to Avoid
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
25-GB Blu-ray Disc
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p/MPEG - 4 AVC
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
Spanish: Mono
English SDH, Spanish
Special Features:
Behind the scenes featurette
Release Date:
November 22nd, 2011

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


One of the many problems I had with Sophia Coppola's 'Somewhere' was that it was hard for me to picture Stephen Dorff as the world's most famous movie star. I mean really, Stephen Dorff? The same guy who has starred in such hit films as 'Space Truckers,' 'Felon,' and now 'Carjacked?!' It just wasn't believable, but now the question is what's Dorff like as bank robber on the run? The answer: Just about the same as always.

Lorraine (Maria Bello) is a down-on-her-luck single mom trying to raise a kid on miniscule pay. Her husband done up and left her and now she's home alone with her son, Chad (Connor Hill), struggling to make ends meet. It's a tough life, and no matter what poor Lorraine does she can't seem to catch a durned break. Things just get worse when her car is hijacked at a gas station by a bank robber named Roy (Dorff). Roy tells her to, "Just drive."

Roy does a lot of talking, mainly trying to act smug, like everything's okay. But, it's not okay. Lorraine and her son are in danger and she knows it.

The cover of the movie would have you believe that you're getting strapped in for some kind of action thrill ride. Prepare to be disappointed. This is more a movie about Lorraine coming to terms with how awful her life really is and how Roy helps her realize that. It's always great when bad guys can dispense words of sound wisdom.

One of your first clues to the blandness of this movie should be the tepid praise from the quote on the back of the case: "One of the more exciting thrillers to come out this year!" Really? That's the best quote they could find. A quote that basically says nothing more than, "Well, it's okay."

It's no surprise that a direct-to-video movie like this is as bland as they come. Lorraine spends her time wallowing in self-pity while Roy spends his time wallowing in self-aggrandizement. Maybe with different backing, actors, and director there's some kind of great story to be mined here. Oh, wait, it already happened and the movie was called 'Collateral.'

There's just nothing fun, or worthwhile about 'Carjacked.' Even the movie's name exudes all kinds of boring. It's simply a generic-as-they-come hostage thriller that culminates into one of the funniest climaxes in recent memory.

The third act is full of so many "Did that really just happen?" moments that I gave up counting. (Spoiler warning) Locked in the trunk of a burning car, Lorraine procures a handgun and shoots her way out. Not only did Roy, who just left seconds ago, fail to hear gunshots coming from the trunk, but somehow his peripheral vision didn't register a scared woman running away from the scene. The convenient coincidences continue to pile until it all just becomes too much and you'll most likely find yourself laughing, just like I did, through the rest of the movie.

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

This Anchor Bay release features a standard Blu-ray keepcase packed with a 25-GB disc. The back of the case indicates a Region A only release.

Video Review


'Carjacked' looks just as you'd suspect a low-budget straight to home video release would look. It isn't overly awful, but there's just nothing that really stands out in this 1080p video presentation.

Crushing is an issue throughout the movie as most of it is set at nighttime as the characters drive on the freeway through the night. Shadows regularly obscure facial details, hair, and objects. Instead of accentuating definition these shadows simply cover everything indiscriminately. Daytime scenes look good although they harbor some harsh light and unnaturally hot whites. There is some fine detail during the well-lit scenes. Dorff's stubble and Bello's age-lines show up easily. The ugly yellowish hue isn't doing the movie any favors. Bathing the nighttime images in a soft yellow glow reeks of unnatural skintones.

I did notice a few compression problems. There are some very noticeable jaggies on a few freeway guardrails that you see during many of the second-unit shots featuring the outside of the car driving down the road. Halos are visible near the end of the movie. Not the greatest looking transfer, but it isn't the greatest movie either. So you won't really mind.

Audio Review


Another lackluster affair is awaiting you with the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix. In true low-budget thriller form, 'Carjacked' features a pretty uneven mix. Dialogue is pretty muffled, but then Dorff yells something and it suddenly permeates every channel. Then it's right back to the soft, un-engaging soundtrack that we were listening to before.

The rear channels are silent much of the time, but do get their fair share of creaking, crunching metal during the car wrecks and explosions. LFE is a little on the light side, even during shotgun blasts and roaring gasoline fires. Like the video presentation the audio is serviceable but it won't blow you away at all. It's an utterly forgettable audio mix in the end.

Special Features

  • 'Carjacked': Behind the Scenes (HD, 3 min.) – A short montage of clips from behind the scenes is the lone feature on the disc.

Final Thoughts

Now that the review is over with you can go back to your lives, never knowing that 'Carjacked' even existed. Bello is a good actress (she's been doing great things on TV's 'Prime Suspect'), but even she can't overcome the mundane monotony of 'Carjacked's utterly monotone script. The audio and video are average at best. Really, there's nothing to see here. Move along now.