Judgment Night (Blu-ray)

January 24, 2019 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

The 90’s were an interesting decade for filmmaking. It was mainly remembered for the rise of independent films, though the “mainstream” cinema still ruled the box office (and still does). So when I see a film starring Emilio Estevez, I’m immediately transported back to the mid 80’s and 90’s – his heyday. Estevez is, of course, the brother of Charlie Sheen and the two had a good decade. Estevez is known for films like St. Elmo’s Fire, The Breakfast Club and the Young Guns films. When the 90’s rolled around, he found a resurgence with The Mighty Ducks and its sequel. Lodged in between those films was this little gem starring then fairly unknown cast. It would be one of Estevez’s last leading roles.

Frank (Emilio Estevez) has just become a father. He and younger brother, John (Stephen Dorff) and friends Ray (Jeremy Piven) and Mike (Cuba Gooding Jr.) have a night scheduled to go see a big fight. Ray commandeers a RV and the quartet is off. However, traffic in the Windy City isn’t cooperating and their impatience leads them off the beaten path (in this case, an expressway). Before they know it, they’ve hit a street thug who is then summarily put to death by local street lord Fallon (Denis Leary). Wanting “no witnesses” Fallon makes it his life mission to ensure that no one saw the crime. The cat and mouse game commences as the guys run and hide from Fallon. Will they survive?

I thought I’d seen this film, but after about 15 minutes I realized I hadn’t. And as much as I wanted to really enjoy it (for nostalgic purposes only), it was just too formulaic and predictable. While not a bad film, per se, it did manage to hold my attention, but we know they’re not going to kill the lead who’s just become a father. The cast, however, is a different story. While Estevez was really the only established star, Cuba Gooding Jr. was fresh off his success in Boyz N’ the Hood and would win an Oscar a few years later for Jerry Maguire. Stephen Dorff would find success in the Blade films and both Leary and Piven would lang long-lasting roles in Rescue Me and Entourage respectively.

Video: How’s it look?

Warner did create a new 1080p transfer for this film, but having never seen it before I have to believe that it looks better than its predecessors. I found the image to be smooth and sheen, lacking any blocking or issues with the contrast. As the name entails, it’s a very dark film that takes place over the course of one night. That said, the black levels remained constant and detail was pretty sharp. It was a good-looking transfer and the 2.39:1 AVC HD image seemed to look the part.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio track has a few moments, but I found the dialogue to be a bit too crisp at times. That and I think that the audio in a few scenes was mis-synched. Or maybe I’m just losing my mind? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad by any means, but the sonic seemed to lack direction and the full, robust soundstage that we’ve become so used to on modern films, is lacking. It’s certainly a passable track, but by no means will it test the limits of your system.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Warner Archive is hoping you really like the film, because there’s nothing extra on here, not even a trailer.

The Bottom Line

While entertaining, there are certainly better films in the genre, though at the moment I really can’t think of any. The cast is solid and it’s a good, nostalgic look back at the early to mid 90’s back when films weren’t trying to make a statement.

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