Plot: What’s it about?
When I think of the films of John Woo, I think it’s natural to go back to the 80’s and 90’s. Films like Hard Boiled, Face/Off and Mission: Impossible 2 will forever be etched in my memory. Let’s face it, the man is a master with the camera. He’s not done anything too particularly noteworthy in quite some time, though. It would appear that directors, like actors, have their prime and then seemingly fade away. Granted, this is Woo’s first American film since 2003’s aptly-titled Paycheck which even star Ben Affleck says he did for the money. Hey, I would too. But if you’re looking for a Death Wish vigilante action flick – look no further.
Brian Godluck (Joel Kinnaman) is a blue collar working-class father who loses his son in a drive by shooting. He purses the killers across town and ends up shot in the neck by Playa (Harold Torres), one of the gang members. This shot causes Brian to lose the use of his vocal cords rendering him mute. This sets the stage for a relatively unique experience in that there’s really not a lot of spoken dialogue for the remainder of the film. Moving on, we see that Brian has spent the next year of his life preparing revenge on the gang. There’s not a lot more substance to the plot, but then again revenge-style films are generally pretty straightforward.
Woo’s films are a thing of beauty to look at. This isn’t one of his better works when it comes to visuals, but there are some tell tale signs of the acclaimed director. And while I was somewhat intrigued by the setup of this film, it just didn’t feel like a John Woo movie. Maybe that’s just me talking (or thinking, hoping) that it’d be something like his earlier works. Still, when it comes to movies like this (and I know I sound like a broken record), they’re by and large the same sort of thing. Fans of Woo and/or Kinnaman might get a kick out of it and for fans of the latter, do check out For All Mankind or The Suicide Squad – they both feature some amazing performances by the actor.
Video: How’s it look?
By and large, these kinds of movies are generally dark. Since the movie epitomizes the genre, this looks – you guessed it – pretty dark and dismal. We all know that Johnn Woo can paint a picture with the camera and the 2.00:1 AVC HD image isn’t really ever challenged in the least. The darker scenes are rock solid, there is no movement in the shadows, no black crush and contrast is strong. Detail looks good as well, as we’d might expect, this is particularly unnerving when we see some of the creates that the film has to offer. Again I find myself saying this – it’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect from a Blu-ray that’s new. While I found a few areas in which I think it was challenged (a bit of grain on some of the scenes), don’t let it bother you – this looks good.
Audio: How’s it sound?
No need to wait for the 4K version with this one as the Dolby Atmos track is included and does its job rather well. Vocals are crisp and rich (to a point and once you’ve seen the film, you’ll know why), directional effects are used with great ambition and the front stage manages to stay pretty active throughout. While this isn’t the most active and robust mix I’ve heard, it’s really hard to find fault with these modern films. Even those that don’t have a lot going on still manage to sound pretty darn good and Silent Night is no exception.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Actions Speak Louder than Words – The only “real” supplement here is this 15 minute piece that covers all the bases. It’s a step above the average “Making of…” featurette and we get insight from the cast and crew as well as, you guessed it, some behind the scenes shots.
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
This might be a far cry from some of Woo’s films from the 90’s, but it’s actually a fairly decent flick. Yeah, it’s a bit predictable and the plot is “been there, done that” but I found it enjoyable. Lionsgate’s disc delivers top notch audio and video quality, though it’s a bit light on the supplements.