I didn't know what quite to expect from Brian A Miller's new film 'Officer Down'. His previous film was 'House of the Rising Sun', which starred WWE wrestler Dave Bautista whose gimmick was at first a deacon and then an enforcer in Evolution, a real WWE faction in 2003. Needless to say, I didn't go into this movie with high hopes. After viewing, if it weren't for the strong performances by the actors and surprisingly good character development, this tired cop drama would have received a much lower rating than it did.
We've seen this story too many times, where there is a corrupt cop who is on his own personal journey to do good and find peace and salvation with himself and family. Of course there are twists and turns throughout the film, but you could see them coming a mile away, and have most likely seen the same thing in a number of films. Add to that its confusing plot line, meaning there are frequent flashbacks to all different times as well as a puzzling scene structure throughout. It's a bit difficult to immediately tell which part and time of the film you are in, mainly due to the film's lack of flow and organization.
Stephen Dorff plays Detective David Callahan, a corrupt cop in Connecticut who is almost fatally shot in the line of duty during a drug deal. We find out that at the time of the shooting, Callahan was undertaking in some criminal activities with some bad guys who owns a strip club, which Callahan was a big part of. Fortunately, Callahan survived the shooting and has since tried to clean up his life and re-connect with his daughter Lanie (Beatrice Miller) and his wife Alexandra (Elisabeth Rohm).
In one of the efforts to right the wrongs in his life, Callahan has been looking for the person who saved his life after he was shot. Somebody does finally come forward by name of Sergei (Zoran Radanovich), whom after a little chit-chat, gives Callahan the diary of a young girl who writes about her time and efforts to get out of a terrible life she has as a stripper at Callahan's former favorite strip club, which just might have been more than just your normal club. Callahan follows clues that lead him to a man known as The Angel (Walton Goggins), who actually looks like he just walked over in full costume from 'Justified'. The Angel supposedly has been taking young women into his sadistic life with no hopes of escape and it is up to Callahan to dive into this seedy underbelly of violence and sex to figure out the truth, which he might not enjoy.
Dorff plays the cop amazingly. How he pulls off dealing with his past and sadistic side is truly remarkable. This guy needs to be in more films. It's Dorff's performance that really carries the film, although Dominic Purcell, David Boreanaz, James Woods, Walton, and AnnaLynne McCord turn in solid performances as well. Goggins is amazing as always, but seems to be the same character as he is in 'Justified'. The direction by Miller is also genuine and looks like he has an artistic eye, with some fresh looking camera shots and angles.
Despite its lack of originality and perplexing scene structure, 'Officer Down' is quite good, due in large part to the amazing cast and character development. The film itself is messy, but in the final act, all of it comes together and has a very good twist in the end. Anchor Bay snatched this film up last year at the Cannes Film Festival and I wish this had received a wide theatrical release, because it deserved it.
'Officer Down comes with a decent 1080p HD transfer and is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This was more or less a low budget film that seemed to not have the highest end oHD video to capture and transfer the film. The colors are at time vibrant, especially in the day time scenes where the detail is quite good, where you can make out individual facial hairs and the stitching in clothes. The flesh tones are natural and smooth, however the blacks tend to be a bit bright in a few spots, which was sort of distracting.
While the detail is pretty sharp throughout most of the film, I did notice several moments where the picture softened a bit and the video went flat. It wasn't that way the entire time and wasn't that distracting as were the black levels. For being done relatively on the cheap side of things, this video presentation looks decent enough for this type of film.
This disc comes with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix that is far superior to the video presentation. The dialogue is crystal clear, easy to understand, and is situated on the fronts very nicely. The ambient noises of people talking and city sounds do a good job in the surrounds with solid directional movement. The gunshots sound very good and are loud and intimidating. The musical side of the film sounds perfect, never drowning out the important dialogue or sound effects. Plus, the bass packs a good punch here when it is needed, making this audio presentation great.
No supplement are provided.
'Officer Down' won't change the cop drama from here on out, you probably won't even remember it a couple of months from now, however, it's more interesting and sharp than many of the other tales out there. The video and audio are decent enough, with the audio outshining the video aspects. Unfortunately, the disc comes with no extras, which in this day and age is ridiculous. I'm sure fans of crime and cop films will enjoy this, but a rental should suffice.