Plot: What’s it about?
Rock Reilly (Tom Berenger) is a veteran Navy man, he’s had all sorts of assignments and transfers, enough so that he can handle pretty much any situation that comes up. His partner Eddie Devane (William McNamara) however, is tired of this lifestyle is ready to be discharged, to return to the civilian realm. The two must work together however, as they’re assigned to a prisoner transfer, which seems simple enough, but this no routine prisoner transfer, that much is for certain. The prisoner is Toni Johnson (Erika Eleniak), a beautiful female inmate who is being taken to jail, due to an AWOL stint. Reilly and Devane think this will be a by the numbers transfer, but Toni is determined to escape and no matter what that takes, she is more than willing to give it a whirl. She runs, flirts, fights, and hides whenever she gets the chance, but each time she is captured again and returned to her confines. Her work is taking a toll on the two guards however, which means with a little more work, she just might be able to make her run for good.
This is not a great film by any means, but it is one I watch on cable often, so I am pleased to see it released on our beloved format. Of course, comparisons to the excellent The Last Detail will be made, but I don’t think that’s fair, as Chasers never aspires to such heights. Instead, it seems content with some solid laughs and entertainment value, which I think it more than delivers. I know this pretty silly at times and never becomes too complex, but I like a good comedic film sometimes, so I won’t criticize Chasers much in the end. I like the lighthearted nature of the film, which keeps things upbeat and brisk in pace, just as this kind of movie demands. The performances are good, but didn’t win any awards and I think the workers were having fun with this one, which is cool. The cast is headed by Tom Berenger, William McNamara, and Erika Eleniak, but includes a varied and well chosen supporting crew, very well chosen. So if you want a movie that makes you ponder all of life’s mysteries, Chasers is not the flick you should pick up. But if you want to have some fun and take a wild ride, then I recommend you give this disc a rental and see what happens.
The most memorable performance in Chasers belongs to Erika Eleniak, who steals a lot of scenes and is a lot of fun to watch here. Of course, she is not the best performer in the business, but she does have a lot of charm and in Chasers, she seems to found her perfect role. She is able to use her charisma and good looks to effective ends, but she also seems at home within the character, which allows her to open up somewhat. So while she seems reserved in most performances, she really throws caution to the wind in Chasers and it pays off in serious fashion. I still don’t think she deserves any awards, but I do think this marks her finest work, at least up until this point in her career. Other films with Eleniak include Bordello of Blood, Final Voyage, Under Siege, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Stealth Fighter. The rest of the cast includes Tom Berenger (Major League, Last of the Dogmen), William McNamara (Copycat, Ringmaster), Gary Busey (Drop Zone, The Firm), Crispin Glover (Charlie’s Angels, River’s Edge), Dean Stockwell (Air Force One, The Rainmaker), Seymour Cassell (Rushmore, The Crew), and Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider, Waterworld), who also directed this picture.
Video: How does it look?
Chasers is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a decent overall transfer, although some problems surface that force me to lower the score somewhat. More than a few scenes contain overly dark contrast levels, which means detail is less evident and that is not too cool, at least in my book. The image is also on the soft side of the coin all the time, which means colors lack depth and again, that is none too good. But on the good side, this is an improvement over the laserdisc and looks good, just not as good as I would have liked.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc uses a new Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but aside from the musical soundtrack, I was unable to pick up on much new surround presence. Of course, there is some use of the surround channels, but no more than you’d expect from a simple surround track, although I suppose this is not really a negative claim. I’d rather have a less dynamic, but natural mix than a powerful, yet hollow one, so no hard feelings there. The music sounds terrific here, very rich and the sound effects have a solid presence, though not as full as you might expect. No issues with vocals however, as the dialogue sounds crisp and clean from start to finish. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Although the case lists a behind the scenes featurette, I was unable to locate it on the disc, which is a let down. You do get some talent files and the film’s theatrical trailer however, so the glass is not all the way empty in this case.