Friday, December 19, 2014

No Good Deed Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Terri (Taraji P. Henson) is a devoted wife and mother of two, living an ideal suburban life in Atlanta when Colin (Idris Elba), a charming but dangerous escaped convict, shows up at her door claiming car trouble. Terri offers her phone to help him but soon learns that no good deed goes unpunished as she finds herself fighting for survival when he invades her home and terrorizes her family.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Colin Evans (Idris Elba) spent five years in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter in a bar fight. He is suspected of abducting five women, but the manslaughter charge was all that would stick. Evans is up for parole, but a parole board member doesn’t buy into this charm and those decisions must be unanimous. Evans quickly escapes his prison transport, and tracks down his ex girlfriend. He learns she hasn’t waited for him and strangles her in her home. He takes off, crashing his car in a rain storm and heads for a nearby home.

Terry (Taraji P. Henson) is home with her two young children. Her husband has left on a golfing trip. She cares for her kids as she waits for her best friend to come over for a girls night. When the doorbell rings, she expects her girlfriend but finds Colin, the handsome stranger. He asks for a phone to call for help. Colin says all the right things and makes Terry feel at ease. She invites him in to dry off and wait for his tow truck. Terry is polite and helpful but it is her friend that realizes he’s just not right. Finally, Terry realizes that her good deed will have serious consequences for her and her family.

What’s interesting about this film is that you know from the very beginning that Colin is the bad guy. It’s not a question of if, but when he will turn on poor Terry. A bit of tension builds as the clues start mounting, and his true nature begins to reveal itself. The typical scare moments from a car alarm and lights going out certainly won’t make you jump. Despite knowing who the bad guy is there is still more suspense than you would imagine waiting for Colin to turn on his hostess. As with all good thrillers, there is a twist at the end. But the twist is where they lost me. I was entertained for most of the movie but I wasn't really wowed during any part of it. Most thrillers disappoint much more than that. 

Idris Elba was a very good choice for the leading role. He makes a really good bad guy, but brings the appropriate level of charm to the character as well. He’s not the type of bad guy women would instinctually run from, he’s the type they would let in their home during a storm. Taraji P. Henson is believable in her role as both an overwhelmed housewife and as a mother who will fight to protect her children. The part I disliked came when Terry explains that she used to be a prosecutor and knows all about killers, most of which are pretty dumb. It seems like an overly contrived plot point just to point out that she used to be a woman that took down men like him.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
As predicted, Sony’s Blu- ray presentation is near perfect. The 1080p image is crisp and sharp. Fine detail in clothing and skin imperfections is impressive. At night, in the rain, and even inside Terry’s vehicle the film remains clean and with accurate black levels. This is the reference quality Blu-ray you would show someone who wants to see why Blu- ray is better than DVD.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
No Good Deed’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound equals the video quality. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to hear the rain pour around you as the film makes use of all channels with well balanced music and effects. Dialogue too remains even, and is intelligible throughout the film.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
I've come to expect more than just three brief features with a Sony film, so I must admit I was disappointed in the short list, although I don’t know what else I would have cared to learn about with this film.

In addition to an ultraviolet digital copy, No Good Deed contains the following supplements: 

  • Making a Thriller – Just over twelve minutes of basic making of information including an overview of the plot, characters and location. 
  • The Thrill of a Good Fight - An in depth look at the fight sequences. 
  • Good Samaritan – A brief look at the characters and the way the audience would react in the same situations. 
  • Previews for other Sony titles. 
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
No Good Deed is the kind of film that has fooled me in the past. It’s always one I miss in its theatrical release that cries to me from the store shelves. It’s a decent film with enough entertainment value to make it worth while. It’s unusual in the fact that you’re not waiting for the bad guy to reveal himself, you’re just waiting to see what he does. What always gets me is the fact that I hope for an edge of your seat thriller that I'll want to watch time and time again. I usually end up with no more than your average suspense film that I’m regret buying when I could have just rented it. I would recommend renting, or catching this on sale, as it is worth watching, but it's just not something that you’ll  be raving about to others. 

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