Plot: What’s it about?
Robin Weathers (Judd Nelson) is a young lawyer known as “Stormy,” because of his unusual methods of working his cases. He doesn’t always play by the rules and if he needs to, he’ll use whatever tricks in the book he can, all in the name of winning the case. After he turns a civil case into a high profile event, he is given a promotion and moved on into a very important case, one that involves a brutal murder. As always, Weathers wants to win the case, but in this instance, he believes his client could be responsible. If he uses his wild antics to get his client Douglas Benoit (John Hurt) off the hook, he fears he will have made the wrong decision. But he is not sure of Benoit’s innocence and keeps pushing forward, trying to put together the best kind of case he can, which isn’t a very impressive one. As he starts to doubt himself, his uncertainty about Benoit grows, and he finds himself in a case that perhaps even cannot win, or perhaps it is the one case of his career that even “Stormy” Weathers hopes to lose.
I most remember this film as Judd Nelson’s chance to hit the big leagues, but it is more than a simple vehicle, I think. Nelson gives us a terrific performance, though not the kind you win awards for and even tosses in shades of John Bender at times. From the Hip is about more than Nelson however, with a solid premise and some good supporting performances, though the movie does sometimes steer off course. This plays like a spoof of those prime-time courtroom programs, as the usual elements are present from those, but here they’ve been wrangled into satiric form. It all starts as a comedic notion and as the film rolls past the halfway point, things take a more serious turn and the real case begins to unfold. The jolt from one side to the other is smooth however, so there’s no real transitional issues to report. This is by no means a classic or great picture, but it has some great moments and some ’80s nostalgia, which is reason enough for me. If you’re a fan or just can’t get enough of ’80s cinema, this one is more than worth a look.
This was supposed his stepping stone to widescale stardom, but as we all know, Judd Nelson never took that step to the next level. He is known to a lot of movie lovers, but more for his work in a few select pictures, as opposed to a generally popular body of work. Even so, Nelson has some talent and he proves that here, with a nice blend of dramatic & comedic skills. I don’t think he does either to perfection, but this role allows him to skirt with both, so he is able to remain afloat and turn in a more than solid performance. I actually like Nelson’s work in From the Hip, even though it doesn’t strike much in the way of traditional acting greatness. Other films with Nelson include The Breakfast Club, Airheads, Making the Grade, St. Elmo’s Fire, and New Jack City. The cast also includes Elizabeth Perkins (The Flintstones, Indian Summer), John Hurt (Lost Souls, The Elephant Man), and David Alan Grier (Blankman, Tales from the Hood).
Video: How does it look?
From the Hip is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I was quite surprised by the transfer here, as a lot of ’80s movies look soaked in grain, but this one has a clean, very sharp source print. Some grain is evident, but at what could be an intentional level, as colors & contrast aren’t impacted for even a second. The colors reside within a natural scope and look good, while black levels are on the mark, without fail. I never thought From the Hip could look this sweet, but once again, Anchor Bay has worked some magic, very impressive work.
Audio: How does it sound?
The included mono track is not too memorable, but it handles the needs of the material, which is what counts. The track seems clean and has minimal age related errors, so distortion & hiss are at a bare minimum at all times. The music is clear and never harsh, while the sound effects come through well also, no errors to discuss there. I found dialogue to be just as sharp, with clean & crisp vocals from start to finish here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.