Plot: What’s it about?
Captain Bully Hayes (Tommy Lee Jones) is his own man, he runs his own ship and loves adventure, even if it is the illegal kind. He does use his ship for normal, law abiding tasks, but those are infrequent and most of the time, his ship takes him into trouble. He isn’t above the title of pirate and when needed, he will raise hell in order to do as he sees fit. His latest assignment is one on the legal side of the coin and one that seems to be rather simple, an escort mission. He is to take the young reverend to be Nate Williamson (Michael O’Keefe) and his beautiful fiancee Sophie (Jenny Seagrove) to a lush tropical island. On the island, the couple will begin a new life as missionaries and serve their higher purpose. The trip is smooth, but once they arrive, the island is attacked and while Nate assumes it was Hayes, it was in fact Captain Pease (Max Phipps). Once Nate confronts Hayes and learns the truth, the two forge a partnership of sorts. Nate needs the help of Hayes because in addition to killing the natives, Captain Pease has kidnapped Sophie. Can these two men, from such varied backgrounds work together and rescue Sophie, or will they self destruct?
Thanks to the hype of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, we find pirates in vogue once again, so that means the vaults are searched for high seas adventures. Paramount offers us Nate and Hayes, but is this a worthy swashbuckler or an 80s relic best left to sink? The film is a lot of fun and while not original in how it works, it is still a worthwhile adventure. I was pleased to see ample action, with swordfights and fistfights, not to mention gun battles and yes, even two ships engage in combat. Add in some “inspired” moments lifted from other adventure films and viola, we have a shipshape pirate excursion. The set pieces might not be epic, but they’re more than adequate and don’t seem low rent. The fight sequences are well executed too, with fluid choreography and great tension involved. Tommy Lee Jones leads the cast here and his performance is solid, though this more action than acting, of course. He is joined by Michael O’Keefe who is also fine in his role here, though Jones stands out with more presence. A fast pace and tons of action, just what I hoped from Nate and Hayes, which means I can give this one a high recommendation. Paramount hasn’t done much here however, with a mediocre transfer and no extras, so a rental is your best option.
Video: How does it look?
Nate and Hayes is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is not Paramount’s best work and in truth, it isn’t even close. This is not a bad transfer per se, especially for a lower profile catalog title, but I expected a little more from Paramount. The print is decent, but starts off rough with a lot of grain, though it clears up a little as time passes. Even so, the print has its problems and while I understand a full restoration isn’t always possible, a minor clean up shouldn’t be out of the question. The colors look bright and contrast is good, not great, so in the end, we have a rather mixed presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
The soundtrack is good also, but lacks the range, power, and depth we’ve come to expect. Then again, this is a 2.0 surround option fro 1983, so we have to keep that in mind. The action driven scenes steal the show and sound good, with some well placed surround presence. The power is solid and the presence is terrific, though not in every sequence, just most. The dialogue is clean and clear, while non action scenes come across with no errors in the least. So while not a remarkable presentation, this soundtrack more than covers the basics. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.