My Name is Modesty

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Modesty Blaise (Alexandra Staden) hasn’t lived a routine, normal life, instead she has taken a path of hardship and danger, though not by her own choice. She was orphaned while still a child, she was unable to experience the love and support of a real family, though she was soon taken in and raised by someone else. That someone was a man who ran a casino, which meant he had ample cash, but he also had ties to the criminal underworld. As she grew up, she learned how to lie, steal, and cheat to accomplish her goals and with such good role models around her, she became quite skilled in those trades. Modesty also trains in various martial arts, to be able to defend herself against the bad element that surrounds her in her lifestyle. When she is older, she becomes the casino owner’s personal bodyguard. That level of trust provides her some kind of bond, so she tries to protect him by any means, including sacrificing her own life. She is able to fend off most threats, but when an old enemy returns and is willing to do whatever it takes to eliminate him, even she is hard pressed to defend him. So he is taken down right in front of her own eyes, an event which sparked a vengeful rage within herself. Now she is determined to settle the score, but can even she manage to overthrow these powerful foes?

The character of Modesty Blaise was created in 1963 by Peter O’Donnell, then a motion picture was made in 1966. The cinematic debut of Modesty Blaise wasn’t a hit with audiences, but had some fans and continues to be a cult attraction. Now we have a new Modesty Blaise adventure, based on the graphic novels of the same name. While the original film was brisk and kind of a satire on the spy genre, this new film moves in a new direction. The camp element is gone here, which leaves us with a cool character, but little else. An action movie is perhaps the toughest genre to produce while on a lower budget, as evidenced in My Name is Modesty. This was a direct to video project and it shows, as there is minimal polish and no grand set pieces. In a movie about a kick ass female assassin, you need wild, perhaps even over the top stunt set pieces, but in this case, the resources just weren’t there to make it happen. The direction is solid and the performances are passable, but the elements don’t create much of a whole. My Name is Modesty has some moments, but they’re few and far between. There seems to be talk of sequels, but unless more resources are involved, that would be a poor decision. I was let down across the board by My Name is Modesty, so if you choose to check it out, a rental should suffice.

Video: How does it look?

My Name is Modesty is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a more than solid visual presentation, though it lacks the refinement needed to attain reference level scores. The colors look bright, but not too rich and flesh tones are natural, no real complaints. The contrast is well balanced also, stark shadow depth and of course, no visible detail loss is evident. I also saw no serious flaws with the source material, though it was never as sharp as I would have liked. I think this transfer is more than good enough, so I won’t knock the score much.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is an action movie and as such, a good audio track could enhance the experience by leaps and bounds. I wouldn’t call the included Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track dynamic by any means, but it offers a solid atmosphere and never falters much. The surrounds don’t pulse from start to finish, but there’s a good amount of activity and in the end, it has the depth needed to provide adequate coverage. The action scenes are more dominant than others of course, but on the whole, this is a more than solid audio effort. I also never had a problem in terms of dialogue, as vocals were clean and crisp, with no volume errors to report. This disc also includes subtitles in English and Spanish, should you need those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

You can sample two audio commentary tracks here, one with director Scott Spiegel and producer Ted Nicolaou, the other with writers Lee and Janet Scott Batchler. I found both tracks to be lackluster, both in terms of delivery and substance. The sessions aren’t as candid and honest as I would have liked, so flaws are glossed over. We end up with self promotional tracks instead, which is a disappointment. A general behind the scenes featurette is up next, followed by interviews with Spiegel, Modesty Blaise creator Peter O’Donnell, and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. This disc also includes a retrospective of Modesty Blaise artwork and comics, which lets us see just how this film was botched.

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