Plot: What’s it about?
Denzel Washington is my favorite living actor. There’s no two ways about it, I think the man is one of the most talented and gifted actors working today. His roles have ranged from memorable (Malcolm X, Glory) to the somewhat forgettable (Virtuosity) and a lot of great ones in between. His collaborations with filmmaker Spike Lee have been interesting as well. Movies like “Mo Better Blues”, “Malcolm X” and “Inside Man” are worth watching and even “He Got Game” showcased a side of Washington that we don’t see all too often. However they say the true test of an actor is by taking a role that’s challenging. Such is the case with “The Bone Collector” in which Washington plays a quadriplegic with only the use of his index finger and his brain. If “less is more” then this role is the understatement of his career.
As mentioned before, Washington plays Lincoln Rhyme, a NYPD crime scene investigator who was crippled on the job leaving his body useless, except for his mind. He passes the time wanting to die and the constant seizures that are becoming more and more frequent will eventually leave him in a vegetative state. But a mysterious string of murders brings policewoman Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) into the picture and she becomes Lincoln’s protégé. Clues are left at every scene that will tell the time and location of the next murder, but can Amelia and Lincoln (and most of the NYPD) have the smarts to figure out where and when it will happen?
“The Bone Collector” could be dismissed as a typical late 90’s thriller, but I’ve always enjoyed it for a few reasons: a great cast, Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie and I’ve always found serial killer movies fascinating. I don’t think that, at the end of the day, it will go down on their respective resumes as one of their better movies, but you never know. The movie was directed by Phillip Noyce who also helmed “The Saint”, “Clear and Present Danger” and “Patriot Games”, all very enjoyable movies in their own right. While “The Bone Collector” won’t (and didn’t) win any awards, it certainly serves its purpose as entertainment. And I’ve found that Angelina Jolie has actually gotten better as an actress here as she’s pursued more of the “leading lady” roles these days. For a good time on a rainy day, you could do a lot worse than “The Bone Collector”.
Video: How does it look?
“The Bone Collector” is one of Universal’s early HD DVD titles and this is the exception to the rule that everything in HD looks crystal clear. I found the HD transfer to be especially grainy and somewhat dark as well. The 2.35:1 image lacks the edge enhancement that plagued the early DVD release, but it doesn’t seem to take advantage of the format as other titles do. The movie isn’t really that old (7 years as of this writing), so I can only guess that the print used wasn’t the best one around. Black levels are good and certain scenes do have that level of detail that is associated with High Definition (notice the individual beads of sweat on Washington’s forehead in several scenes) but when compared to other HD titles, this one doesn’t really keep up.
Audio: How does it sound?
The title offers up two tracks, a Dolby Digital Plus track and a DTS track as well. I listened to both and found each to have their strengths. The DTS seems a bit stronger in some of the more quiet scenes but the Dolby Digital seems to pack more of a punch during the action scenes. Dialogue sounds great, very rich and natural. When compared to the older DVD release, the tracks sound pretty much the same but there are some obvious strengths to the tracks on this HD DVD release.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The supplements are taken right off of the DVD from a few years back and nothing new has been added. We start off with a “Spotlight on Location” featurette with some behind the scenes footage and a feature-length commentary with director Phillip Noyce.