Perfect Stranger (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Ah, how the mighty have fallen. But wait…maybe they haven’t. That was my first thought when I saw “Perfect Stranger”, a movie that was at the box office for just a few weeks starring two of Hollywood’s “A” list actors (Bruce Willis and Halle Berry). Willis is having more success with the latest installment in the “Die Hard” franchise and Berry has had a steady decline since her Oscar win a few years back. The movie only made 23 million at the domestic box office, something I’m sure director James Foley was hoping wouldn’t be an issue. Speaking of Foley, he’s managed to direct a few very interesting thrillers, namely “Glengary Glen Ross” and one of my personal favorites “Fear”. However, the stars and director can only do so much if there’s nothing really in the script.

Berry plays Rowena Price, an investigative reporter who loves her job and has just closed a story that will put away a US Senator once it runs. Naturally it doesn’t, Rowena becomes jaded and quits her job. She’s approached by an old childhood friend who tells her of her exploits with Harrison Hill (Bruce Willis); a high powered owner of a New York ad agency. One thing leads to another and her friend turns up dead and now Rowena must pose as a temp in the same ad agency to find out what the real truth is. Naturally Harrison takes an interest in Rowena (who wouldn’t) and with the help of her computer-geek, obsessive friend Miles (Giovanni Ribisi) the two must prove that Harrison was somehow the one responsible.

There’s a lot going on in “Perfect Stranger”, so much so that it feels a bit topsy turvy at times and thus detracts from what we should be paying attention to. All the right elements are there, for sure, but I got a very strange sort of vibe from this film – like Willis and Berry weren’t really into their roles. Despite all of the film’s shortcomings, it’s not terrible or unwatchful. There are a few good scenes and some excellent product placement for Heineken and Reebok. Oh, did I mention the characters in this movie like to drink? In every scene, a Heineken or some vodka is being chugged for no real reason. That’s pointless of course, but notable as well. All in all, the movie ranks up there with a “rent it on a rainy Sunday afternoon” kind of flick and some might genuinely enjoy this movie – I can’t say as I’m on e of them though.

Video: How does it look?

Video-wise, this 2:40 AVC HD transfer looks simply amazing. I really was hard-pressed to find anything wrong with the transfer and I’m still having trouble. Fleshtones are right on target, there is no edge enhancement whatsoever and the detail level is simply amazing. I think in a few scenes I could actually read newsprint on a paper. You can see the subtle folds in Berry’s clothes and each and every pore in Bruce Willis’ face (which, come to think of it, might not be a good thing). This ranks right up there with some of the best live-action HD transfers I’ve seen on the new format and for what the movie lacks in plot, it more than makes up for with how it looks on screen.

Audio: How does it sound?

“Perfect Stranger” has a couple of 5.1 options, a standard Dolby Digital track and the track of choice – an uncompressed PCM track that certainly has its moments. Dialogue was very rich, crisp and clean and though the absence of surrounds in most scenes made it more of a traditional mix, it wasn’t bad. This movie doesn’t rely too heavily on audio, but some of the chase scenes and those involving more action did sound somewhat decent. I hate to use the term “run of the mill” but the audio just didn’t blow me away like the video did. A decent effort here, but nothing that will leave a lasting impression.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There are two routes a studio can go when releasing a box office dud to DVD (or Blu-ray/HD DVD). They can give the disc very few or no supplements at all or load it down with supplements hoping that the movie will find an audience with the home viewers. It looks like Sony has taken the bare bones approach here as all we get is a 12 minute featurette entitled “The Making of Perfect Stranger”. It’s pretty standard stuff, interviews with the cast and crew, etc. The movie isn’t horrible but maybe not worth waiting in line over, either. Great video, so so audio and not really enough supplements to warrant a purchase.

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