Road to Paloma (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 10-Sep-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama/Thriller Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 90:28
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jason Momoa
Studio
Distributor
Anchor Bay Entertainment Starring Jason Momoa
Robert Homer Mollohan
Timothy V. Murphy
Lisa Bonet
Wes Studi
Chris Browning
Lance Henriksen
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Chad Benchetrit
Justin Small


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, constantly
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     As Road to Paloma commences, Robert Wolf (Jason Momoa), a Mojave Native American, has been a fugitive for six months after killing the man who had raped and brutally bashed his mother to death. His mother had been a Mojave and her killer had faced white justice and had been set free. However he was white, so now Wolf is being hunted by the FBI’s hard-nosed Agent Williams (Timothy V. Murphy) and the more understanding Agent Schaeffer (Chris Browning). Wolf is joined on the road by Cash (Robert Homer Mollohan) and they travel on their bikes into the desert to visit Wolf’s father (Wes Studi), a policemen who is bitter after the failure of American justice to try the killer of his wife. They then ride north into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to visit Wolf’s sister and to scatter Wolf’s mother’s ashes onto a mountain lake. But Wolf knows that retribution, and the FBI, will not be far away.

     It is clear that Road to Paloma was a very personal project for Jason Momoa for as well as starring he was director, co-writer and co-producer of the film. Such involvement can often lead to poorly executed vanity projects but that is not the case here: Road to Paloma is an impressive, beautiful and well-crafted film. It is ostensibly a road movie of the Easy Rider genre; two men on motorbikes seeking America, but not a lot actually happens so those seeking an action filled adventure will be disappointed. Instead Road to Paloma is a film full of beautiful images, of people and bikes in majestic desert landscapes silhouetted against a hazy sun with country and western or rock music on the soundtrack, of snow clad mountains. The film is also thoughtful and reflective, almost art-house in its sensibilities and pacing, and it does not climax in a blaze of Rambo type action but in something which is far more powerful and moving.

     Road to Paloma also benefits from excellent performances by the two leads Jason Momoa, who has a beguiling easy charm, and Robert Homer Mollohan and they receive good support from Wes Studi, in a small role, Timothy V. Murphy and Chris Browning. Of the other “known” faces, however, Lance Henriksen has a tiny cameo while Lisa Bonet (who is Momoa’s real life partner) is pretty much superfluous as a woman the two men meet on the road.

     Road to Paloma is Momoa’s feature directing debut, and an impressive one it is. Known for a “pretty boy” image in Baywatch or muscles and swords in the underwhelming Conan the Barbarian remake, Road to Paloma shows that Momoa has clearly something to contribute behind the cameras as well as in front.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Road to Paloma is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, close to the 2.35:1 original ratio, using the MPEG-4 AVC code. The Blu-ray cover indicates the film is in 1080i, but it is indeed 1080p.

     The print is a mixed bag. There are some beautiful images of Utah landscapes, red sunsets, dusty plains and snow clad mountains where the colours are natural and detail good. However, in a number of scenes the decision has been made to film the characters in front of a large hazy sun or other light source which gives the print a very hazy, indistinct look. As well, dark scenes are very dark leading to a lack of detail and it is difficult to see what is happening; stop the film at 41:28 for example. Otherwise colours have that glossy, digital look which does affect skin tones. Blacks are a bit gloomy, brightness levels and contrast consistent.

     Other than slight motion blur, marks and artefacts are not evident.

     English subtitles from the Hearing Impaired are provided in a clear, largish white font. Orange subtitles come on automatically to translate the Mojave dialogue.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is English Dolby TrueHD 5.1.

     The dialogue is centred and mostly easy to hear, although some of Momoa’s dialogue is indistinct when the subtitles help. Otherwise the sound design is effective, with the roar of motorcycle engines, crowd noise and music in the rears and surrounds and occasional directional effects as the bikes journey through the frame. The subwoofer added bass to the music, songs and engines.

     The original electronic score by Chad Benchetrit and Justin Small is atmospheric and it is augmented by an eclectic mix of heavy metal, rock, country and western and blues music including songs by Super Highway, Shovels & Rope, Michael Hayes, Griffith Young and Radio Birds among others.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Deleted Scene – The Hunt (4:30)

     Shows the lead up to Wolf killing the murderer of his mother. It is unnecessary and correctly cut from the finished film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US Blu-ray is identical to ours except for Spanish subtitles.

Summary

     This film was not what I was expecting. Road to Paloma may be too thoughtful for those expecting an action film but it is an impressive, reflective, beautiful and well-crafted road movie from director, co-writer, co-producer and star Jason Momoa which shows clearly that he has something to contribute behind the cameras. Road to Paloma is a film well worth seeking out.

     The video is a mixed bag, the audio good. The one extra is also all that is available in Region A.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 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 DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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