The Hot Spot

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Harry Madox (Don Johnson) is a drifter with little moral fabric, but he always seems to come out on top, in more than one way. You see Harry seems to have a certain charm that the ladies pick up on, so he can use that to further his own needs, which serves him well. In addition to working his mojo on the chicks, Madox sometimes chooses to pull some robberies, whether it be banks or other institutions. The next destination on Madox’s path is a small Texas town much like others he has been to, but this stop is one that will change Harry’s life forever. He arrives in town and starts scouting out the bank right away, while working at a local used car dealership. After some casing work and other preliminary scouting, Madox stages an incredible heist inside the bank…during total daylight! He seems to have pulled it off but soon finds himself in need of an alibi, which is provided by Dolly Harshaw (Virginia Madsen), the town’s elusive blonde bombshell. She has some plans for the drifter, but soon finds her plans on hold when Madox falls for another woman Gloria (Jennifer Connelly), the accountant at his work. This sparks into motion a triangle of deceit and danger, and who knows which of the three will make it out alive…

I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much out of this movie since Don Johnson just doesn’t work for me unless he’s in Miami Vice. I had never seen this movie before but the package described it as an erotic thriller, and I had serious doubts about how Johnson would fare in that genre. But toss in a couple hotties like Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Connelly, and things start to look more interesting. I’ve now seen the movie of course and I will say it exceeded my expectations, and turned out to be a pretty good way to spend a couple hours. I’m not sure I would use the term “erotic thriller” to sum up this movie, but there is a lot of suspenseful twists and even more sex, so I can see how someone would claim it is just that. It follows the main guideline of suspense/thrillers, which is always keep the audience guessing with twists and turns, so I would place it within that genre I suppose. The “erotic” part is where I disagree though, since sex doesn’t always mean eroticism. But to get back on track, this is a terrific film that deserves a chance, but I am not sure how well the movie stands up to repeat viewings. If you love the movie then by all means you should purchase right away, but all others should make sure to rent first.

This film was directed by Dennis Hopper, who is just as skilled behind the camera as he is in front of one. Perhaps Hopper is best known for his acting in such films as Speed and Waterworld, but Hopper is also a respected director and has more than a few memorable films under his belt. In this movie Hopper creates the perfect atmosphere for this small town story, and gives us just enough to keep us on edge before springing the next shocker on us. Hopper also directed such movies as Chasers, The Last Movie, Colors, Out Of The Blue, and the classic Easy Rider. While Don Johnson is billed as the lead in this film, I feel the three main performers share the burden in equal rations. Johnson (Tin Cup, G.I. Joe: The Movie) gives a good turn, much better than expected but still leaving much to be desired. The females tend to steal the show from him, but with beauties like these that’s to be expected. Jennifer Connelly (Labyrinth, The Rocketeer) plays the shy, sweet type well while Virgina Madsen (The Rainmaker, The Haunting) sizzles as the town’s mysterious sexpot. The supporting cast also includes Jerry Hardin (Big Trouble In Little China), Charles Martin Smith (Deep Impact), and William Sadler (The Green Mile, Rocket Man).

Video: How does it look?

The Hot Spot is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. While 16X9 enhanced transfers from MGM are rare these days, when they issue them they look terrific and this release is no exception. While this transfer isn’t reference quality, it looks many times better than the normal laserdisc rehashes MGM issues. The colors seem vivid and bright within a natural scale with no bleeding evident, and flesh tones look natural as well. The contrast remains at the intended levels at all times, so while some scenes appear overly dark, they’re supposed to. The source print seems to be in fine condition and I could find no compression troubles.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included 2.0 surround track handles the audio in an adequate manner, but unless there’s music present you won’t notice the rear channels much at all. But this isn’t an audio driven movie, so I didn’t expect a knock down the walls audio mix in the first place. The music has a rich texture to be sure, though the effects seem flat in some places. The main focus in this mix is the dialogue, which comes across clean and crisp.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This release contains the original theatrical trailer and that’s all…

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