Nothing To Lose

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1997 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 93:57 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Steve Oedekerk
Touchstone Pictures
Warner Home Video
Starring Martin Lawrence
Tim Robbins
John C. McGinley
Giancarlo Esposito
Kelly Preston 
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music Robert Folk

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.0
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.0, 384Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ?Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, after credits

The Rant

    So you thought that I had nothing more to rant about, right? Well, even after the monumental rant with Three Men And A Little Lady, there are still things to rant about when it comes to Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases. This time it again revolves around the packaging.

    A minor one it is, but nonetheless it really should not happen: the description of the soundtracks on the disc are incorrect on the rear cover. Sorry, there is no English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the DVD. There is however an English Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack. The remaining soundtracks are described as stereo but would appear to be in fact surround-encoded. Close, but no cigar as they say in the classics. Oh, and this one is definitely not one of the classics!

Plot Synopsis

    And so we turn to the film, which ultimately is a disappointment as it promised so much but failed to deliver on just about every count. Nick Beam (Tim Robbins) is a young, white advertising executive in Los Angeles with a good job, nice home, beautiful wife Ann (Kelly Preston), and basically nothing much wrong with his life. Terrence (call me T.) Paul (Martin Lawrence) is a black man with no college degree, struggling to provide the best for his wife and kids and needing to moonlight as a hood to make ends meet since job prospects are non-existent. Their worlds are about to collide in ways that they would never imagine. Nick comes home early one afternoon for a hot night on the town with his wife, only to find what appears to be her in bed with what he presumes to be his boss. Thinking the worst, despite no previous grounds for suspicion, Nick heads off in his car to who knows where. Whilst aimlessly driving around, he pulls up at a set of traffic lights, where T. jumps into the car to rob him. Roused from his torpor, Nick proceeds to turn the tables on T. by becoming the victim from hell - and eventually ending up in Arizona, where they hatch a plan to gain revenge upon Nick's boss and thus head back to Los Angeles. Cue the local Arizona convenience store robbers who object to T. and Nick (apparently) intruding on their territory and end up following them to L.A. to seek revenge of their own. Back in L.A. and both parties gain their respective revenges, although Nick also discovers that Ann was not fooling around with his boss and needs to reverse the revenge post-haste otherwise his entire life is really screwed. Since this is a Disney film we all know that (all together now) everything works out fine and we all (sort of) live happily ever after.

    Now, whilst the story sounds a tad banal, it really did have the seed of what could have been a really good and interesting film. Perhaps one day someone will actually make that film, for the one that we have gotten is not it. Whilst it tries hard, every time it looked like it might actually take off, it sinks again back into the mire. Part of the problem is in the casting - Tim Robbins to me does not suit this role and really there is a distinct lack of spark between him and Martin Lawrence, who is in fact well-suited to his role. I guess part of the problem here is that in a similar buddy movie with Will Smith (Bad Boys), Martin Lawrence really excelled in a strong on-screen relationship that created real energy, so sadly lacking here. The other part of the problem may well be the direction from Steve Oedekerk, who on the evidence of this showing is certainly no Michael Bay. He just seemed to lack the right sort of nous to be able to push the leads beyond what was in the script and make something more of the dialogue that what were simply words on a piece of paper. Of course, when your entire film is so dependent upon the two lead characters, if there is no real chemistry the whole film really falls flat on its face - and that really is sadly the situation here. A really great opportunity has gone begging, and what could have been a really good film ends up being little more than a mediocre effort.

    That is not to say that at some level that this is not amusing, as it certainly is. The laughs however are few and far between and in this instance the blurb writer was certainly overindulging in some form of intoxicant. Do not be mislead - this is not a hilarious movie, and is by no means the best comedy around. If you really need to indulge in buddy movies, then there are definitely better around to command your attention.

Transfer Quality


    Well after the rather lacklustre transfer given Three Men And A Little Lady I was certainly hoping that the return to a 16x9 enhanced widescreen presentation would see a return to some sort of excellence from Buena Vista Home Entertainment. Sadly, I am once again disappointed and whilst this is certainly a slightly better transfer, it is still a rather average effort. The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 but this was once again quite a flattish looking transfer in general, with a complete lack of definition at times. Indeed, this was so lacking in definition at times that I was thinking that perhaps my eyes were just too damn tired and I needed a good rest. But others watching the DVD were also passing the comment so I can only presume that it was not just me having difficulties with the definition. This lack of definition was not exactly helped either by a slight lack of clarity that was a feature of the transfer throughout. Shadow detail was reasonable if not especially great throughout the transfer, and there did not appear to be any problems with low level noise.

    Once again the flattish feel of the transfer is highlighted by a lacklustre palette of colours. There really was not much in the way of bright colour here, to the extent that neon lights were hardly neon lights: these sorts of colours should really have jumped out at you but they simply did not. I was truly expecting a greater degree of vibrancy here than we got and this really ends up being quite a bland looking transfer in general, relieved only by the odd moment of something barely approaching a flashy, bright, vibrant colour. Whatever else, the transfer is at least reasonably consistent in the presentation of the colours. There is no hint of oversaturation at all, other than perhaps in the opening credits where there was also some evidence of colour bleed.

    There are no apparent MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There were no apparent film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. There did not seem to be too much of a problem with film artefacts, although there were a few rather noticeable dirt marks here and there. None were really intrusive and they really did not detract from the film too much at all.


    As indicated previously, there are three audio tracks on the DVD: an English Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack. Not wishing to push my luck too much, I listened to the English default soundtrack.

    One thing that I do find just a little annoying about Martin Lawrence is that his diction at times leaves something to be desired and accordingly there were a couple of instances during the film where the dialogue was just a little difficult to understand. There did not appear to be any problems at all with audio sync in the transfer.

    The original music score is from Robert Folk and a thoroughly non-distinguished effort it is too. Somewhat clichéd, this really is lacking any sort of spark of originality.

    Really for a Dolby Digital 5.0 soundtrack, this is quite a disappointment. It seems to lack any sort of space in the sound and comes across as quite congested in the mix at times. The ample opportunities for some nice ambient support, through the rear channels especially, seemed to go begging repeatedly and of course we have no bass channel to worry about. In all honesty I would be hard-pushed to say that I heard anything distinctive out of the rear channels. This is not the greatest soundtrack that I have ever heard and would best be described as serviceable and nothing more. At least it is free of distortion.


    Once again, completely and utterly missing in action. At least it makes this section of the review quick when one is doing a Buena Vista Home Entertainment DVD.


R4 vs R1

    The Region 1 release misses out on:     NTSC format and not 16x9 enhanced? No thank you! Region 4 is the way to go here people, unless the Region 1 release has a seriously better transfer - which my readings would indicate is not the case.


    Another rather ordinary Buena Vista film on another ordinary DVD. Worth a rental on a cold winter's night perhaps but I doubt that there is sufficient here to induce anyone to actually buy the disc, particularly as there are better efforts in the genre already available in Region 4.

    An ordinary video transfer.

    An ordinary audio transfer.

    An obligatorily absent extras package.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
16th June 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL