Get Carter (2000)

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Once an actor has “lost it”, it’s hard to say if he/she will ever really get it back. Such is the case with Sylvester Stallone. Stallone, an icon of the 80’s “Cold War” era movies, had to deal with his movies not doing so well in the 90’s (and the new millenium isn’t starting out well for him either). A very talented screenwriter, he is most noted for his role as Rocky “The Italian Stallion” Balboa in the seemingly never-ending series of Rocky movies. Other movies like the Rambo series gave him an outlet to flex his muscle (both literally and figureatively) and even blow up some bad guys in the process. Movies like “Cliffhanger” and “Demolition Man” proved that Stallone had what it took to bring audiences back intot theaters, but he never did seem to regain his former glory of the previous decade. So now what? It’s a new decade/millenium and Stallone is doing a remake of an old Michael Caine movie, Get Carter. The first Get Carter moved so slow and methodically, I had to stop and slap myself a few times from going to sleep during it. So what would the remake, ironically starring Caine as well (and what’ even worse is that Stallone and Caine are not that far apart in age), serve up?

For a reason that we really don’t know, Jack Carter’s (Sylvester Stallone) brother has been killed. Carter, a thug of some sort who describes his job as “helping people remember the truth”, is all of the sudden fueuled with revenge for his brother’s death. Billed as a drunk driving accident, his brother has left behind a wife (Miranda Richardson) and daughter (Rachael Leigh Cook) who were both underused in this movie, by the way. Not wanting to believe that his brother died by accident, he leaves Las Vegas and heads by train to Seattle (now maybe I missed it in the movie, but the only way that I figured out it was Seattle was from the back of the DVD box) to do a little investigating of his own. Meeting up with local thugs and old “buddies” like Cyrus (Mickey Rourke) who is now an Internet “Porn King” and claims he’s a legitimate businessman, leads Carter to assume the worst for his now deceased brother. So what was his brother into? This is where the movie gets a bit choppy…First of all, it paints the portait of Carter as someone who hasn’t seen or spoken to his brother or his brother’s family for years, yet now all of the sudden; he’s so full of rage and revenge that he’ll stop at nothing to avenge his death?! And along the way, he even mangaes to make “friends” with his niece…awww, how cute.

Get Carter is what I call a remake of an already bad movie. While the original certainly has it’s audience, I found it slow and boring. You’d figure that in this day an age when Jerry Bruckheimer can churn out a mindless, though entertaining, movie every year that Sylvester Stallone could do the same. Evidently he can’t. Except for a few good car chases, Get Carter falls flat on it’s face. Now let’s talk camera-work here. Director Stephen Kay certainly has an eye for film, but his constant use, or overuse I should say, or so many trick shots is dizzying to say the least. I’m glad I didn’t see this movie in the theater, otherwise I might have lost my popcorn trying to focus on what was going on. The effect that Spielberg used in Saving Private Ryan is used here as well as effects that are uniquely Tarantino and Scorcese. Add this all up, plus no plot and a rather lifeless cast, and there you have it. As much as I like to review and praise movies for some sort of artistic value, I just can’t do that here. Anybody want a copy of Get Carter?

Video: How does it look?

One thing that can be said for Get Carter is the way it looks. As a majority of the movie takes place in Seattle, the atmosphere is gloomy and rainy, hence saturating the colors. I should say what colors there are. The shots in Vegas are rich and colorful as is the city, but Carter’s wardrobe echoes the atmosphere and it’s as lifeless as the movie. Still the 2.35:1 image looks great showing no signs of digital artifacting and the source print is top notch as well. The black levels appear to be right on target and edge enhancement is taken to a minimum as well. Some flicks and scratches here and there might have made me notice some errors, or maybe I had given up on the plot and was busy critiquing the image. Still, a movie I liked with this transfer would have probably received a “5” for the video, but I’m not giving this one the benefit of my doubt. A nice transfer agian from Warner.

Audio: How does it sound?

Unlike the previous version, this version sports a full Dolby Digital 5.1 track and it sounds notihng short of wonderful. The dialogue is clean and clear, though it won’t do you much good to listen to (ok, ok…you probably have the hint that I don’t like this movie by now). The surround effects are very full and rich, and in between car chases you can hear the slight echo of the Seattle rain in your surrounds. A very robust soundtrack is included and it’s a shame that a movie this bad can sound this good. But as the box says “The Truth Hurts”.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Warner continues to show why they outsold Disney last year in the DVD market, as they continually add features to their discs. Sporting a full-length commentary by Stephen Kay, it’s a bit more interesting than the movie itself. He seemed to like the chemistry between Stallone and Rachael Leigh Cook, so it’s odd that there isn’t more screen time between them. Nevertheless, it’s informative and if it’s your cup of tea, it’s there for you. Some deleted scenes are also included, and I usually say “I can see why they’re deleted, but add them back into the movie”. In this case, I can see why they are deleted, but I’m glad that they were not added back into the movie. Maybe the editor had some sense after all! Lastly, two theatrical trailers are included (which make the movie look good), so don’t be fooled and watch these first; as it’s a big let down. All in all, if you’re a fan of this movie then this disc has what you want, I personally didn’t like it, but it’s good to see that the quality of DVD’s coming from Warner hasn’t delcined a bit.

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