Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dying of the Light Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage (Best Actor in a Leading Role, Leaving Las Vegas, 1995) ignites a powder keg of action in the electrifying cloak-and-dagger thriller Dying of the Light, arriving on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD February 17th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The film is currently available On Demand. From the writer of Taxi Driver and co-writer of Raging Bull, Dying of the Light also features Anton Yelchin (Star Trek Into Darkness, Terminator Salvation), Alexander Karim (TV's "Tyrant," Zero Dark Thirty) and Irène Jacob (Three Colors: Red, U.S. Marshals). Evan Lake (Cage), a veteran CIA agent, has been ordered to retire. But when his protégé (Yelchin) uncovers evidence that Lake's nemesis, the terrorist Banir (Karim), has resurfaced, Lake goes rogue, embarking on a perilous, intercontinental mission to eliminate his sworn enemy.
Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Evan Lake is an aging CIA agent who has had a long and storied career. After finding out that he has a brain condition similar to Alzheimer’s and Dementia, he begins showing more symptoms. His protégé, Milt receives some information that the man who tortured Lake 22 years before and was thought to be dead is indeed still alive. Lake brings this information to his bosses, but is told to drop the subject and is forced into early retirement due to his condition.

When Milt brings him his things from the office, they begin discussing the options and Lake decides he’s going to find his terrorist, Benir.  Milt won’t let Lake go alone, so they make the plans and begin their search. Lake and Milt find the doctor who is treating Benir for the illness that brought him out of hiding after two decades.  Lake takes on the doctor’s identity and travels to Benir’s hideout where he meets with him as the doctor. After revealing his identity and having a change of heart, Lake leaves Benir to his illness and ends his vendetta. As Lake and Milt prepare to return to the United States, they are ambushed by Benir’s men. Lake realizes he shouldn’t have left Benir alive and goes back to enact his revenge on him. Finally back in the United States, Lake makes peace with his diagnosis and accepts his fate.

Dying of the Light was so depressing. Oh my gosh, I couldn’t take it. Nicolas Cage was really good as Evan Lake and took on the characters and his flaws. However, this time has passed where Nicolas Cage can be an action star. There are actors who can be action heroes well into their 60s – and shall remain nameless – but he should start thinking about other roles. The story, while depressing, was realistic.  Well, except for him going to hunt his nemesis down. Although, who knows if that’s what really happens to ex-CIA agents with brain conditions.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
The widescreen 2.35:1 presentation of Dying of the Light was average. I wasn’t blown away with the picture. Everything was accurate, from the colors to the picture transition, to the sharpness of the picture. I have no complaints about the video quality of the movie.
Audio (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio was uneven. I had to constantly adjust the volume between the dialogue and the action scenes. The dialogue went from normal to loud and then to soft all before I could find the right volume level. There was no mumbling and when the volume was right, I could clear hear what was being said. English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles are also included if needed or desired.
Extras (2 out of 5 stars)
As with other Lionsgate Blu-rays, most of the features are interviews that are repetitive. 
  • Behind the Scenes of Dying of the Light – Fourteen and one-half minutes of behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and writer/director.
  • Deleted Scenes – Almost 24 minutes of deleted scenes.  None of these scenes added much to the movie and were all good choices to leave out.
  • Interviews with Cast and Crew – The cast and Writer/Director talk about the movie, their characters and their favorite parts of filming.  It seems the questions were pre-asked, and were pretty much all the same for everyone.  It got to be really repetitive.
    • Paul Schrader – Writer/Director – A two-minute interview with the Writer/Director on the concept of the movie and working with Nicolas Cage.
    • Nicolas Cage – About seven minutes with Nicolas Cage on his character, the movie and his fellow cast members.
    • Anton Yelchin – Two and one-half minutes on his character and working with the cast.
    • Alexander Karim – Four minutes on the character, what drew him to the movie, and what it was like working with Nicolas Cage.
    • Claudius Peters – About a minute and a half talking about his character and working with Nicolas Cage.
    • Adetomiwa Edun -- About a minute and a half talking about his character and working with Nicolas Cage.
  • Dying of the Light Trailer – The official trailer for the movie.
  • Also from Lionsgate – A repeat of the previews from the beginning of the disc.
  • Bookmarks – This seems to be a Lionsgate feature.  I don’t really see it on other discs.  I still don’t get the point of it.
Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Dying of the Light was not an action movie. Nor was it a movie about a hero. The only action was in the beginning and at the end. The rest of it was getting the characters to where they were trying to go. The illness of Evan Lake, the main character was super depressing. I likely won’t watch this again, but not because it was bad. It was just too depressing for me.

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