Crime Spree (Imagine Entertainment) (2003)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Fear X, Black Cadillac, For The Moment, The Barber
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 95:05
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:09) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Brad Mirman
Studio
Distributor
GFT Entertainment
Imagine Entertainment
Starring Gérard Depardieu
Harvey Keitel
Johnny Hallyday
Renaud
Saïd Taghmaoui
Stéphane Freiss
Shawn Lawrence
Albert Dray
Joanne Kelly
Richard Bohringer
Abe Vigoda
Gino Marrocco
Sal Figliomeni
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Rupert Gregson-Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Bloopers in end credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Crime Spree is a crime caper comedy. While the bulk of the cast is French, the film was actually a co-production between Canadian and British production companies.

    Three incompetent thieves (Gérard Depardieu, Stéphane Freiss, and Albert Dray) are sent by their boss Laurent Bastaldi (Richard Bohringer) to Chicago to rob a private home of some jewellery. The boss sends along three more crooks: Marcel (Johnny Hallyday), Zero (Renaud) and Sami, an American hiding from the law in Paris (Saïd Taghmaoui).

    They mistakenly rob the home of Chicago mafia underboss Frankie Zammeti (Harvey Keitel). This mistake makes them outlaws from the police, the Mafia, some Latino hoods and the FBI.

    Unfortunately, the film is a misfire. The screenplay is underdeveloped by-the-numbers stuff, and the attempts at wry humour come across as forced. The personalities and charm of the craggy-faced lead actors are not enough to overcome the pedestrian storyline, and even Harvey Keitel is dull in a role he could probably do in his sleep. In fact, sometimes he looks as if he wishes he was home in bed.

    Veteran actor Abe Vigoda plays the local godfather, looking no older than in his Barney Miller days. Both Hallyday and Renaud are ageing French pop stars, and one scene has them at a radio fighting over stations which are playing their songs - this would need explaining for most viewers, including me.

    There are some outtakes from the film shown during the closing credits. These are more amusing than anything in the film, though that is not really saying much.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This film has received a very good transfer, with no issues of any note.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which means it is slightly cropped from the original 1.85:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The film is not perfectly sharp, but comes quite close. Shadow detail is fine. The colours are a little drab, but this seems to be the way the film was shot.

    Some aliasing is present at 4:35 on chairs with weaved backs, and again at 79:26 on the grille of a car. Otherwise, the transfer is free of film to video artefacts. I could not detect any film artefacts. There is no grain or low-level noise to speak of.

    There is no subtitle stream, although ingrained subtitles are provided for the French dialogue.

    This is an RSDL-formatted disc with the layer change occurring at 76:09, well placed during a scene change.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is very good.

    There are two audio tracks, the default being the Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. I did not listen to the 2.0 track.

    Dialogue is clear for the most part, although the English of the French actors is sometimes difficult to understand. The actors speak English during much of the film, except when only French characters are present.

    The surround channels are used sparingly, and the subwoofer kicked into life only during a bar scene and when a neighbour was playing loud music. The surround channels could have been used more to create ambience, but this is only a minor quibble.

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

Extras

The Making of Crime Spree (39:07)

    This extra is simply someone's home movie of the production, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 without any narration. It looks as if it was prepared for a French-speaking audience, as the English dialogue is subtitled in French, while the French dialogue is (irritatingly) not subtitled. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 and is mostly hard to hear due to the source being a handheld video camera. The interest in this extra is that the set-up of various sequences is shown, then the finished product as it appears in the film follows, so you can see how various scenes were put together. However, there is too much hugging and clapping for my liking.

Deleted Scenes (13:44)

    This is a series of deleted scenes as well as different versions of scenes that appeared in the film. These is presented in the original aspect ratio but not 16x9 enhanced. Timecodes are present as well as copyright information. This extra is of minor interest and the video quality is not up to that of the main feature.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is the US release trailer with the same voice-over artist who seems to do all US trailers, and is of little interest.

Imagine Trailers

    There are 4 trailers, one of which is presented in 16x9 enhanced mode. I wouldn't count this as an extra.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    Aside from the additional 5 minutes of footage, the Region 1 also has an audio commentary with the writer-director Brad Mirman and producer Gary Howsam, plus an optional Spanish stereo soundtrack. You would think that this would tip the balance in favour of the Region 1, but the manufacturers have added a pan and scan version of the film on the same dual-layered disc as the widescreen version. Reviews of this disc indicate that there are significant compression artefacts as a result, so the Region 1 must be ruled out.

    The two-disc Region 2 French version has 50 minutes of interviews with the actors in addition to the extras we get in Region 4, but this disc has a French soundtrack with no English subtitles. If you speak French, this might be the version to get.

Summary

    A mediocre film presented with a very good transfer, but I could not recommend buying it unless the material really appeals.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    There are substantial extras, but they are not worth watching more than once.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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