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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Urgency DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
There is definitely no urgency to see the movie Urgency. The direction of the movie was disappointing and (aside from Brian Austin Green), the acting was not believable at all.  Even worse, the film was full of silly things that made this serious drama turn into a comedy because I kept chuckling out loud at the stupid oversights and plot errors.






Film (2 our of 5 stars) 

Brian Austin Green stars as Tony West, who is the general counsel for a pharmaceutical company.  West has a very big day ahead of him as it is the day his company is to be taken over.  Sally Kirkland plays the arbitrator of the big deal in a very small role.  Aside from Green and Kirkland, I had never heard of anyone else in this film.  The day is also his anniversary, which he has forgotten about all together and that should have been the biggest problem he had that day.  After his secretary plans an impromptu anniversary date for his wife and him, Tony’s wife goes home early as requested and is promptly kidnapped and held for ransom.  Once that happens, Tony has to figure out who he can and cannot trust with this information and also has to come up with the requested $50,000 ransom.  Along the way he learns that the kidnappers want more than just his money and that things aren’t always what they seem.
There is a very long list of things that bothered me about this film.  Throughout the movie, important details and bits of dialogue flash across the screen.  I found this rather insulting, like the person watching the movie can’t possibly be expected to identify the significant details.  I could spend a great deal of time talking about inconsistencies in the film itself.  There are times when they talk about it being 6 p.m. and the clock on the wall clearly reads a different time, and West is able to get all over Los Angeles with no destination being farther apart than 10 or 15 minutes.  I know those are petty details, but I feel like someone should have cared enough about the movie they were making to watch Urgency carefully and make those corrections.  The movie goes back to a ransom demand left on Tony’s answering machine and I was surprised to see that the machine had an actual tape and he just happened to have a cassette player available so that he could continue to listen to the recording on the go.  This made me check to see when the film was made and I found out that Urgency was released in 2008, and I know at my house we were well beyond answering machine tapes at that point in time.  The one glaring inconsistency that cannot be forgiven, is that a character clearly dies in the film only to return when the voice over at the end of the movie talks about his arrest.
Overall, I got the feeling that there was not a lot of care put into this movie.  I’m unaware if the director Kantz has made other films but this one did not make me want to see his other ones.  The plot got overly complicated for no reason.  I find that people often confuse complicated with interesting.  This could have been a much better film with a simpler more straight forward ransom plot.  There are weird things like a kidnapper wearing spiked heels and a short, strapless dress for no reason.  The only thing I did enjoy was Tony West’s weirdo of a neighbor who tries to help with the situation, by playing super-spy and giving Tony a set of baby monitors that they can communicate through.  Some shooting lessons for the actors in this film would have done a great deal as well.  There are many guns fired in this film and not one of the actors makes it look or feel real.  Some over do it and squint as they pull the trigger, while others move their hand up and down like a child playing with a toy gun would do.  I could imagine those actors thinking “pow pow” in their heads as they pretended to fire their guns.

Video (2 out of 5 stars) 

The video quality was ordinary, at best in the DVD version of Urgency. The film takes place in homes, office buildings, parking lots and outside and all of them lack detail.  A lot of times, low budget movies have poor lighting indoors but look a lot better outside.  This one didn’t look that great anywhere.  At one point it appeared as though a shot was taken with an extremely dirty lens and I don’t know if that was intentional or not.  Black levels were washed out and flesh tones were mainly consistent but were occasionally on the warm side.   Some of the scenes felt as though they were home movies and not professional at all.  Urgency is shown in 16×9 (1.78:1) ratio.

Audio (2 out of 5 stars) 

Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, Urgency offers nothing great by way of sound.  Some of the gunfire sounded rather fake but the dialogue is clear.  The film repeatedly deals with a ransom tape that has details hidden within the ambient noise.  While they played the tape over and over, it was never clear enough to hear what later turned out to be a rather large clue for West.  English SDH subtitles are available on the DVD of Urgency.

Special Features (0 out of 5 stars) 

There are no special features on the DVD.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – every movie should have at least a gag reel (someone must have screwed up a line) and a commentary (someone must have cared enough about the movie to want to talk about it).

Final Thoughts (1 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

I really wish I had more positive things to say about this film, but I just don’t.  Brian Austin Green does a good job, but I found the rest of the actors unbelievable in both their performances and in their delivery of their dialogue.  West’s wife in the film was not a great actress and didn’t even seem to be right for the part as I found them very hard to believe as a couple.  Urgency didn’t make me empathize with either the kidnap victim or for her husband who was frantically trying to find her.  I think chaotic is the best word to describe the plot as well as the direction ofUrgency. This is a film that I had hoped to enjoy but cannot recommend in good conscience to others.
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