Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Reclaim DVD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
John Cusack (Lee Daniel's The Butler, The Frozen Ground) and Ryan Phillippe (The Lincoln Lawyer, Crash) star in the heart-racing thriller Reclaim, arriving on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD November 18 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The film is currently available on Demand. Featuring a stellar ensemble cast that includes Rachelle Lefevre (TV's "Under the Dome," The Twilight Saga Franchise), Veronica Faye Foo (Detective Dee: Mystery of the Phantom Flame), Luis Guzman (The Last Stand, Boogie Nights), Academy Award-nominee Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook, Animal Kingdom) and introducing Briana Roy, Reclaim shows what happens when an American couple finds all is not what it seems when they become victims of an international adoption scam.
Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Steven (Ryan Phillippe) and his wife Shannon (Rachelle Lefevre) have traveled to Puerto Rico to adopt a young girl named Nina.  Nina is a Haitian refugee, and the couple found her through an online adoption website.  The “International Rescue Adoption” service connects parents and children, provides a car service, a play to stay while getting acquainted and promises to process all the required paperwork necessary for the family to return to their country.  In this case, Steven and Shannon take Nina with them and have about a week to wait for her passport so she can leave the country. They play at the beach, show her pictures of their home in Chicago, and enjoy their vacation. While there. they also encounter a fellow American named Benjamin (John Cusack), staying in the house next door.   

Although friendly and talkative, something about him is immediately off putting.  After a night of his loud music, the family decides to move to a hotel.   Another, less pleasant encounter with Benjamin and his friends has Steven shaken, but he and his family return to the hotel for some sleep. In the morning, Nina is gone. As the couple searches for their daughter, they attempt to show the police a picture from the website. Unfortunately the website is gone. After a visit to the agency office, they learn it’s been cleaned out. The police are very aware of what has happened as the couple are the victims of a popular scam called reclaiming. Human traffickers basically use the same children over and over to meet couples, take their money and leave them with nothing.

However, Steven and Shannon are a unique couple and because of a large settlement, they have more money than the usual targets and they tell Benjamin enough of the details of the payment to make him question the deal he made with the agency. Benjamin comes up with his own plan to increase his payout and strays from the simple reclaim formula that has been successful in the past.

I’ve recently reviewed The Prince and Drive Hard and they've made me start wondering if John Cusack has found his way into every direct to DVD release.  Now that I’ve seen Reclaim I’m sure of it.  I know Cusack is getting older but if he’d get a decent haircut maybe he’d stop looking like the bad guy. I miss Vince Larkin from Con Air, or the sweet guy from Serendipity, but lately all John Cusack seems to play are these kind of roles and he’s mastered the art of being the bad guy. I have never been a fan of Ryan Phillipe but he manages to pull off the role of wannabe father.  I would have liked to have seen this movie the other way around with Cusack trying to adopt and Phillipe as the human trafficker. There was also no chemistry between Rachelle Lefevre and Ryan Phillipe and I'm sure that she probably would have generated a lot more heat with Cusack. The story itself is interesting and keeps a pretty good pace.  Overall, this isn't a bad movie but it's not a great one either and one viewing was probably enough for me.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
Reclaim is available on Blu-ray, but unfortunately I only received the DVD to review so that's what I will cover. I was pleasantly surprised that the DVD quality was pretty good.  The film is shot on location in Puerto Rico and you can feel the humidity in the air and on the actors.  Skin tones appear accurate and consistent throughout the film. 
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
Reclaim on DVD offers an English 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that easily delivers the dialogue, the drama and the action of this film.  Without the Blu-ray’s  DTS-HD Master Audio track for comparison I was satisfied with what I heard. Car chases and gun fire sound authentic, and it’s about what I’d expect from a DVD.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
The DVD contains a decent list of features, but they are very repetitive and don’t add to the movie. The special features include the following:
  • Commentary – Director Alan White provides a feature length commentary. 
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes – Eight deleted/extended scenes which can be selected individually or with a play all feature.
  • “Behind the Scenes of Reclaim” Featurette (16:59) – A look at the cast, director, location and personal connections to the film including successful adoptions and scams.
  • Interviews with Cast and Crew – These interviews can be selected individually or with a play all feature and are most of what you’ll see in the featurette.
    • Alan White – Director (5:50)
    • Ryan Phillippe (1:59)
    • Rachelle Lefevre (3:26)
    • Jacki Weaver (2:05)
    • Briana Roy (1:04)
  • “Fighting the World” Music Video
  • Trailer Gallery – includes Reclaim Trailer and other Lionsgate titles
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Reclaim is a well acted movie with an interesting topic. Most of the intense action happens in the last part of the film. I wouldn’t say that it ever achieved the level of nail biting, edge of your seat thriller, but it was entertaining for its 96 minute run-time. This was probably not a film I’ll watch regularly, and once may have been enough. The DVD comes with a good list of features but they do repeat a lot of the same information.  I’ll put the movie in my John Cusack section, but I’m more likely to pull out Grosse Pointe Blank, Con Air or even Better Off Dead when I want a good dose of Cusack.  

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