Mercury Plains (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 22-Jun-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Trailer-x 5 for other films
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 102:06
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Charles Burmeister
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Scott Eastwood
Nick Chinlund
Austin Park
Angela Sarafyan
Justin Arnold



Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Austin Wintory


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

†††† Mitch (Scott Eastwood) is a young unemployed man in a small, dead end Texas town living with his sister, his mother and his motherís boyfriend. With a friend he crosses the border into Mexico for a night out but his friend abandons Mitch in a bar, leaving him with the tab and in trouble with the locals. Coming off worse for wear, in the morning Mitch meets Jesse (Austin Park) and is introduced to The Captain (Nick Chinlund). The Captain may be FBI and is recruiting men for a group to take down people who are running drugs into the USA.

†††† Mitch agrees reluctantly and is taken to The Captainís ranch in the Mexican desert where he finds a very amateurish para-military group without weapons and consisting primarily of young teens. Mitch bristles at the discipline and comes to realise that rather than fighting the drug cartels The Captain is really about getting rich, even going so far as to attempt to hijack a Mexican police van. When the Mexican police quickly respond Mitch has to try to get back to the USA, hopefully with some of the loot.

†††† Mercury Plains is a rambling and somewhat unfocussed film from director / writer Charles Burneister, whose only other feature film was Columbus Day in 2008. Mercury Plains starts off as a film about fighting the drug cartels in Mexico, but then throws in some quasi-military discipline (aka Full Metal Jacket (1987)), a solitary confinement sweat box (The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) or The Great Escape (1963)), a couple of heist sequences, a superfluous love interest and ends with a man-on-man chase / hunt across the desert (any number of westerns). A lot of it is pointless, compounded by an almost complete lack of backstory, motivation or character development. Scott Eastwood looks like his more famous father and has some of Clintís iconic smile. He tries hard with the material and is worth watching, as is experienced actor Nick Chinlund, but they are defeated by a meandering plot that really does not know what it wants to be.

†††† Mercury Plains is at its best when it is creating atmosphere. The opening sequence of a small, dying Texas town with boarded up shops, rusted machinery and abandoned premises is economically done and the film is helped immensely by some beautiful widescreen images of the desert landscapes and colourful sunsets, courtesy of DP Phillip Roy, and the good score by Austin Wintory. The film, however, provides nothing that has not been done before, and better.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Mercury Plains is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

†††† This is a fine looking print. Detail is sharp and clean, colours are bright and glossy but never unnatural, with desert landscapes and vibrant red / yellow sunsets that look beautiful. Blacks and shadow detail are very good, skin tones natural, brightness and contrast consistent.

†††† I did not notice any artefacts or marks.

†††† There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

†††† Audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1.

†††† Dialogue is clear. This is not a particularly enveloping audio track and the rears are limited to music, ambient effects such as insect noises, and engines. Gunshots were sharp. The sub-woofer was not overused, but provides some support for engines, gunshots and crashes.

†††† The score by Austin Wintory, utilising guitar and mandolin, supported to the visuals nicely.

†††† There are no lip synchronisation issues.

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

Extras

Trailers

†††† Trailers for Mythica: A Quest For Heroes (2:20), All the Wilderness (1:59), Break Point (2:20), Electric Slide (2:16) and Grassland (1:58) play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

R4 vs R1

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

†††† Amazon.com only lists DVDs of Mercury Plains in both the US and UK. A review of the US DVD indicates that it includes as extras an audio commentary by the writer / director which is said to be decent, and 5 deleted scenes. For Blu-ray however, the Australian release seems to be the only option at present.

Summary

†††† Drug Wars and child para-militaries should made for a compelling and potent story but Mercury Plains does nothing with the premise nor provides anything by way of character development or motivation. Still, there are some impressive widescreen images to watch and the relationship between Scott Eastwood and Nick Chinlund is interesting. But if you do want a film that focuses on the drug wars on and across the US / Mexico border try Cartel Land or Sicario (both 2015).

†††† The video is good and audio fine; there are no extras except trailers for other films.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, July 23, 2016
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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