Plot: What’s it about?
After working on a case involving gun runners, Interpol agent Simon (Dennis Rodman), has a run in with another agent, this one a second rate CIA worker named Nick (Dane Cook). After some mutual explaining, Simon discovers that Nick is only dropping off ransom money for a kidnapped girl, and after the deal falls through, Simon decides to join up with Nick in retrieving the girl. Fights, near misses, and car chases all ensue, and the deeper Simon gets, the more dangerous the scenario gets. They get help from the “Monks of Death,” who are masters of surveillance and help track the baddies for Simon. Also giving them help after a while is Simon’s ex-girlfriend, who only helps Simon after she beats him up a bit. By the time it’s all said and done, all those people are involved, as well as the kidnapped girl’s boyfriend and father, the arms dealer Simon is seeking, and even the Eiffel Tower! Can Simon put all the pieces together and save the kidnapped girl as well as shut down the arms dealer?
I admit it. I didn’t want to watch this movie. I don’t care for Dennis Rodman, and the previews were not interesting. But when this disc arrived, I gave it a chance. I was suprised at it’s quality, but not that suprised. Rodman’s performance was just as I expected, lackluster at best. He seems awkward during the fight sequences and delivers lines like he is reading cue cards, I mean that in the worst way. But here’s the part that makes Rodman’s acting skills work, his character Simon is a personality devoid paper thin agent. Whether that was the intent by the writers or not, that’s how he comes off. So, while Rodman is a miserable actor, his skills are adequate for this role. The rest of the cast is decent, but nothing to stand up and cheer about. Dane Cook does a nice job as Simon’s new partner, but needs work for sure. The rest of the cast includes Ricky Harris (Hard Rain), John Pinette (Revenge of the Nerds 3), and Natalia Cigluiti. I swear the actress who plays the kidnapped daughter is from Saved By The Bell: The New Class, but I could be wrong. Oops, I just revealed my obsession for Saved By The Bell…
Now, by reading the above, you can see that acting is not the focus of this film. What is then? Action. While not on the same level as say, True Lies or something, Simon Sez has some very cool action segments, including a nice car chase, complete with two wheel motion! Rodman is lanky, as you all should know, so it looks foolish when he tries to fight. I don’t buy the guy as a martial arts star, he seems more of a sucker punch kind of guy anyway. That being said, he doesn’t come off that bad because no one else in the movie can fight either. Gunplay is frequent, and that’s always a plus in my book, although a shortage of bloody wounds gets a mark against the film. I always love the sight of blood gushes when someone gets shot. Unless I know them personally of course. The special effects are miserable as well, with the electricity effects looking like something from Tron, only not as good. There is a love scene, but it contains Rodman, so I’m glad the clothes stayed on. I did like the way the scene was shot however, with intense strobe lighting and very little color use.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve done nothing but bad mouth this movie, right? Wrong! I told you I wasn’t that suprised, didn’t I? Seriously though, one thing I like about the movie is the frame work and the overall style. Some of the camera work is great, and the framing is excellent, very suprising for any movie from this genre, especially this flick. The use of color is superb, with many bright neons and darker surrounding shades, that really sets a flashy mood for the film. The look is very polished, and the color scheme reinforces it well. I’m a big fan of flashy colors with a dark base, and this movie implements that idea frequently. This is not a great movie, or even a good movie. It is in fact a movie that is so bad, with it’s cheese filled action and plot, that is actually decent. It’s something to say that for this movie, because I went into watching it thinking about how bad this review would be. I know it sounds like I hate this movie, but it is decent, and I will recommend it to action genre fans, but rent it first by all means. Another reason I am able to recommend this disc is the value involved. You get a top notch audio/video treatment and a couple nice features for twenty bucks, and at Wal Mart I saw this for fourteen ninety-nine. For that price, with this great treatment, the movie is worth your money and time.
Video: How does it look?
Simon Sez is presented in a sparkling 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with no option for full frame. As I said in my review, I really like the color scheme used by the filmmakers, and this transfer makes sure it looks the best it can. Colors are vibrant and the brightest ones have a nice glow to them, which is good with those neonish colors. No oversaturation or bleeding is evident either. Those radiant colors would not look as radiant without these perfect black levels, which makes sure the blacks are deep and full. A suprisingly great transfer for this lower tier release.
Audio: How does it sound?
Dolby Digital 5.1 is used, and it sounds really good! The soundtrack is filled with light techno, which is decent, but I yearn for the harder type, as found in Mortal Kombat. The music choices fit the scenes well, but that harder music would have been great for those fight scenes! The effects are very good, and your system will get put through it’s paces. But that’s not to say this is a demo disc, because there are other discs with more to offer your speakers than this. It makes good use of the surrounds, but not to the extent many other do. The dialogue is clean, and never gets pushed aside by the music or effects.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Simon Sez contains some nice features, much more than I would expect from a value priced title like this. You get the original theatrical trailer, as well as a bonus trailer for Rodman’s other action movie, Double Team. I really enjoy the trailers, and I like it when a bonus trailer is included. You get a talent file on Dennis Rodman, but no other cast members. Like Rodman has enough talent to warrant a file anyway. Well, maybe if they included rebounding. Rounding out the disc is a Making Of, which lasts about five minutes, and features some behind the scenes footage spliced in with movie footage. I know it does not seem like much, but this is a cheap disc, it would not have been unusual for it to be movie only. I like the trend Columbia is taking, by putting some features on these value series discs!