Tokarev (Blu-ray) (2014)
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Trailer-x 6 for other films
|Year Of Production||2014|
|Running Time||98:06 (Case: 94)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Paco Cabezas|
Pasha D. Lychnikoff
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Paul Maguire (Nicolas Cage) is a successful businessman and property developer. He dotes upon his 16 year old daughter, Caitlin (Aubrey Peeples) from a previous marriage, and has a beautiful supportive wife in Vanessa (Rachel Nichols). But Paul has a dark past; 15 years ago he had been part of the Irish mob headed by Francis O’Connell (Peter Stormare) but on the death of his first wife he had determined to go straight to look after Caitlin. One night Paul and Vanessa go out to dinner and leave Caitlin at home with a few of her school friends. Their dinner is interrupted by the police with news that there has been a home invasion and that Caitlin has been abducted.
When no ransom or demand is received from the kidnappers and the police seem stumped, Paul enlists the help of two old friends who had been with him in the mob, Kane (Max Ryan) and Danny (Michael McGrady), to turn the town upside down looking clues of Caitlin. But no-one knows anything and Paul’s worse fears are realised when Caitlin’s body is found dumped in a creek. She has been shot in the head, and police ballistics identify the weapon as a pistol used extensively by the Russian mob led by Chernov (Pasha D. Lychnikoff). Nineteen years before, Paul, Kane and Danny had stolen a huge sum from the Russian mob, killing Chernov’s brother, but they had kept it a secret between them. Now Paul believes that someone has betrayed them, and that the killing of Caitlin is an act of revenge. So Paul starts a war against the Russians with deadly and bloody consequences.
Tokarev is an excellent film, far superior to most revenge thrillers around. It ticks all the boxes: there are chaotic action sequences, a car chase and some quite brutal torture, but the film is also perplexing and exciting and does not go quite when one might expect. Other plusses include Spanish director Paco Cabezas, an intelligent script, an atmospheric score and a good performance by Nicolas Cage.
Paco Cabezas, is perhaps known for his Spanish language film Neon Flesh (2010), and Tokarev is his first English language feature. He brings a slightly off kilter non-Hollywood sense to the material, developing it perhaps more slowly than an American director might as well adding a few artistic touches, such as images of cloudy skies. He is aided by a superior script by Jim Agnew and Sean Keller, neither of whom have anything as impressive as Tokarev on their resume. Their script avoids clichés, is complex and intelligent, and the revelation towards the end is well set up and believable. I have read reviews which criticised the ending of the film, but I must say I found it compelling; it is certainly not standard Hollywood, which is perhaps why it was criticised!
The non-Hollywood feel is aided by a score by French composer Laurent Eyquem. It is moody and atmospheric, nicely complimenting the visuals. Nicolas Cage can act; he won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas in 1996 and was nominated for Adaptation in 2003 but lost out to Adrien Brody in The Pianist. In the mid-90s he was at his action hero apex with the wildly entertaining trio of The Rock (1996), Con Air and Face/Off (both 1997). Recently it seems he will do anything for money, with a succession of action films such as Ghost Rider (2007), Bangkok Dangerous (2008), Season of the Witch and Drive Angry (both 2011). I also reviewed recently the Cage film Stolen (2012), with a not dissimilar plot set up. However, in Tokarev Cage is very good, avoiding those all too familiar facial expressions and mannerisms and giving a powerful performance.
Tokarev is one of the best thrillers I have watched this year. It is exciting, brutal, complex, well made and well-acted with Cage in good form, while the plot that does not go where expected.
First the sad news: Tokarev is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, cropped from the 2.35:1 original ratio. It is in 1080p using MPEG-4 AVC code. One mark is deducted from the total in line with site policy.
This is not as tragic as some films with extensive widescreen exterior sequences, but it is still noticeable that there are often faces half out of frame, or conversations between characters in which one participant is unseen, or partially seen. I really do not understand why in day and age this is still done.
In all other aspects Tokarev is a good looking print with sharp, crisp detail and colours that look pleasantly natural. Blacks are excellent, shadow detail fine and skin tones good with little of that yellowish look that digital filming often creates. Contrast and brightness are consistent.
The print shows occasional slight motion blur but there are no marks.
There are no subtitles.
Audio is a choice of English DTS-HD MA 5.1 or English Dolby Digital 5.1.
Dialogue is generally clear although some sentences were a bit difficult to hear. The surrounds and rears were not overdone but delivered a nice soundstage providing ambient sounds, weather and storm effects, some pans during the car chase, music and gunshots. The sub-woofer added bass to the music and crashes, as well as to the thunder.
The score by Laurent Eyquem is moody and atmospheric and was very effective support for the visuals.
Lip synchronisation is fine.
|Surround Channel Use|
About 7 extended or deleted scenes. Three add details to the robbery Paul, Kane and Danny had committed 19 years previously, another scene extends the alternative ending; none are essential. The audio is in various stages of production so varies a lot.
Adds one shot to the ending in the film, only a marginal change to the narrative. The one used was more effective to my mind.
These interviews were shot during the filming of Tokarev. Questions are posed on a text screen that are answered by the interviewee talking to the camera. There is no film footage. Topics vary, but may include how they got involved, working with the director, the location. There is not a play all option, so as each interview segment is fairly short this is quite clunky. The interviewees are:
After the Dark (2:44), The Outsider (1:56), April Rain (1:44), Life of a King (2:03), Isle of Dogs (1:41) and American Muscle (2:07).
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There is not currently a Region A US release of Tokarev and the Region B UK version is not due for release until September 2014. There is a Region B German version that seems to have the same extras plus B Roll footage and an audio commentary (although I cannot find out who does the commentary). However, the huge plus is that this release is listed as being in the correct 2.35:1 ratio, so is the best option.
Tokarev is exciting, bloody, brutal, complex, well made and well-acted, with a plot that does not go where expected and a powerful ending. With Nicolas Cage in a return to form, it is one of the better thrillers I have watched this year.
The video and audio are very good, except for the incorrect aspect ratio, which is a shame. Extras are good, although the Region B German release has more and is in the correct aspect ratio.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|