Plot: What’s it about?
Don Morell (Mario Van Peebles) has spent a lot of time on the case of Claude Whitman (James Remar), but now that time has come to an end. Whitman had an extensive run as a serial killer and left behind a blood laced wake of death, but now he has been captured and faces execution. I don’t mean that Whitman resides on Death Row either, I mean he has been placed into his final moments and put to death for his crimes. Morell has sacrificed a lot to bring this man to justice, but now he can return to his life and attempt to make up for lost time. He needs to settle his own mental stress levels and regain control of his personal life, especially his marriage. But his new life is soon shattered, when members of Whitman’s jury begin to turn up murdered. As Morell looks into the murders, he sees right away that the killer follows Whitman’s patterns and that leaves him shaken. Has Whitman overcome the restraints of death to take revenge on those who punished him, is a copycat killer on the loose, or has Morell finally been pushed over the edge of sanity?
I am always game for a new serial killer flick, so while I am not a fan of Mario Van Peebles, I was looking forward to Blowback. The cast didn’t look too impressive, but I do love serial killer movies and director Mark L. Lester has had some good flicks in the past, so I figured Blowback was worth a shot. The case promises a twisted tale with a hideous villain, but I wasn’t falling for those lines, I assure you. I expected a middle of the road serial killer thriller, but in the end, Blowback is a pretty strange movie. The killer is on some hell bent religious curve, so you’ve got these naked chicks on crosses and such littered throughout the film. There is some rather gruesome moments, but this is no gore driven film, though queasy viewers will want close those eyes a few times. All in all, if you want to watch a decent serial killer picture, Blowback is more than worth a look. I think a rental will suffice in most cases, though you might want to spin this one twice to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
I know Mark L. Lester has never been an elite in his field, but I always look forward to his new efforts, so Blowback was of interest because of his involvement. Lester’s career hasn’t been spattered with blockbusters by any means, but he does have several films that have amassed large fan bases. In this film, Lester ventures into thriller/action territory and always, he delivers a more than solid technical effort. Lester is not a visual dynamo by any means, but he does give Blowback a sharp visual impact and that’s cool. Sure, Lester might not be an “A” list guy, but he is still on the good side of the business to me. Some of Lester’s other movies include Misbegotten, Roller Boogie, Class of 1999, The Base, Showdown in Little Tokyo, Armed and Dangerous, and Commando. The cast of Blowback includes Mario Van Peebles (Solo, New Jack City), Sharisse Baker (Inferno, Terms of Endearment), Stephen Caffrey (The Babe, Buried Alive 2), Gladys Jimenez (Secrets of a Chambermaid), and James Remar (What Lies Beneath, The Base II).
Video: How does it look?
Blowback is presented in a full frame transfer, which is the intended aspect ratio. This film was released direct to video, so you can’t expect perfection, but this image does look good in the end. I saw some wear and tear on the source print, but the transfer is free from any sort of compression flaws, which is always welcome. The colors look bold and without real issues, while the black levels are strong and well defined. I think this transfer is the best the film will look, though the source equipment just doesn’t seem up to par with bigger budget offerings. I don’t think the image is up to the usual standards of the format, but this looks good for a direct to video issue, which is adequate.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which is put to best use when the guns are pulled or the music is taking the spotlight. The music comes off well in this mix, but never overpowers the other elements and that’s good, of course. The sound effects range from gunshots to squealing tires to more subtle uses, all of which sound good in this mix. The more powerful ones use the surrounds more of course, but all of them come across well in the end. The dialogue is a snap as well, no problems in the least in that department. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround track and subtitles in Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes an informative audio commentary with director Mark L. Lester and performer Mario Van Peebles, which makes for a worthwhile listen. The two discuss the challenges during the film’s production, as well as trade memories and interesting stories. A nice mix of information and anecdotes, this track is more than worth a spin if you liked the film. This disc also houses some talent files and the film’s trailer.