The Last Ride (2004)

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Released 15-Dec-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Menu Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 81:05
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (37:35) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Guy Norman Bee
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Dennis Hopper
Will Patton
Chris Carmack
Nadine Velazquez
Fred Ward
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Frankie Blue


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Russian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Flashback arrest sequence during credits.

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

Plot Synopsis

     Some time back when I reviewed The Butterfly Effect 3 I found cause to praise its young male star, Chris Carmack. Ex-fashion model Carmack, with his rather off-putting too beautiful face and Greek god physique, manages to project an honesty and simplicity that raises the material he is often asked to work with, such as the otherwise deplorable Into the Blue 2: The Reef. In the "old Hollywood" under the studio system, a handsome young man with Carmack’s abilities would have been groomed and nurtured by one of the majors. It must be so difficult today for a young actor to make his own way without the guidance and support, albeit controlled support, which in the past was given by that defunct system. Back in 2004 Carmack appeared in a made-for-TV movie called The Last Ride which handed him a script that gave him the opportunity to shine and grab attention for reasons other than his good looks.

     The Last Ride is the story of three generation of the one family. Pre and during the credits we are on the Californian / Mexican border witnessing the capture of Bonnie and Clyde wannabes Ronnie Purnell and his wife Kate. Kate is shot and killed and Ronnie is captured, all witnessed by his eight-year old son, Aaron. Post credits we jump to present day San Diego where Matt Purnell (Chris Carmack) is on the brink of following his grandfather into a life of crime. His Father, Aaron (Will Patton) was raised by the cop responsible for Ronnie's capture, Darryl Kurtz (Fred Ward), and Aaron is now a detective, much to his son's disgust. Aaron informs his estranged son that Ronnie (Dennis Hopper) is about to be released on parole. Matt meets Ronnie at the prison gates, and learns that his grandfather is out for revenge, though the nature of that revenge is not quite clear.

     What follows is a crime / family drama that involves Matt's Hispanic girlfriend JJ (Nadine Velazquez) in some quite exciting escapades as Matt and his Grandpa try to right a thirty year old wrong. JJ is a modern day gal, an auto-mechanic par excellence with acetylene torch at the ready. Naturally the movie has the required number of car chases. These, though, are thankfully brief, and at least one, which begins at an auto show, contains some originality. However it is the family drama that is paramount. Thankfully the three actors are excellent in their roles. As Ronnie, Dennis Hopper gives one of his best, and understated, performances. Who would ever have thought that the callow young actor giggling at James Dean's harassment in Rebel Without a Cause all those years ago would have become such an enduring star. Will Patton (Brooklyn's Finest) beautifully conveys strength and sensitivity as the man who has been emotionally damaged by childhood trauma. Chris Carmack more than holds his own with these two, working particularly well with Hopper. Their restaurant scene is so good you wish there was more of their relationship in the film. Also good is Nadine Velazquez, although a couple of her lines were almost obliterated by her heavy accent.

     Director and writer Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious / Daylight) delivers a movie that is intelligent and terse. The strict time confines of television no doubt discourage the excesses often suffered through in the cinema these days, many filmmakers equating "more" with "better". Although some viewers may be put off by the early "rev-head" scenes, these are merely establishing scenes and not the real meat of the film. Some of the editing is clever and trendy, but this is limited to the action sequences and is actually quite effective. The director Guy Norman Bee has the unforgettable short-lived TV series Jericho in his CV, and excellence is seen in the action sequences and the intensely close-up dialogue exchanges. Photography, credited to Karl Herrmann (TV's Kyle XY), is either dazzlingly clever, such as in the car sequences, or simple and unobtrusive as in the dramatic scenes.

     Not to be confused with the Hugo Weaving starrer Last Ride, this 2004 The Last Ride is no longer listed as being available in Australia. It's worth a search through the rental shelves if you enjoy a good solid family/cop drama with some exciting car action. If you like finding fresh, interesting talent, Chris Carmack is well worth watching. His most recent 2010 movies, both made for TV, have been Beauty and the Briefcase and Deadly Honeymoon, with an as yet "untitled 3D shark thriller" in post-production. There goes the shirt again! Poor Chris Carmack!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video transfer of this telemovie is of a very high standard. The 16x9 transfer is presented at the original ratio of 1.78:1.

     The transfer is very sharp and clear. The opening 1970 sequence has muted colour and is more grainy, but this is obviously intentional. Apart from that the colour is extremely attractive, with a tendency towards emphasising browns and oranges in some scenes. In other scenes the colours really pop, as in the gleaming cars, and skin tones are very pleasing. Detail is extremely good, with the car show sequence coming readily to mind. Shadow detail is also good, which is fortunate as there are numerous night scenes, and scenes in dark car interiors.

     The disc is an RSDL, with the layer change occurring at 37:35. There is a momentary freeze during a car interior close-up of Chris Carmack.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Russian. The English subtitles were sampled and were excellent.

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

Audio

     There are two audio streams : English and Russian, both in Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 384 Kbps.

     The front and centre dialogue was clear and perfectly easy to understand, apart from the couple of minor problems with Nadine Velazquez's accent. There were no sync problems. The musical score from Frankie Blue (I Kissed a Vampire - who hasn't these days?) was not a drawback to the film, but nor did it add anything. The "adult" musical mode sounded like one of those meditation tapes that were the rage back in the 80s, while the youth and car oriented scenes were pretty heavy rock with lots of noise. The surround speakers were utilised quite extensively for the music. Although there was little human directionality across the front, car effects, zooming left, right and rear, were featured extensively.

     All in all the sound design is vibrant and alive, with plenty of bass, complementing the action on the screen without ever grabbing our attention.

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

Extras

     There are no extras other than the Main Menu.

Main Menu

     After some initial animation and audio of a speeding car, the menu is displayed over a silent still of Carmack, Hopper and Velazquez.

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.

     The now unavailable Region 4 release missed out on these extras which are on the Region 1 release :

Summary

     This minor crime / family drama, made for TV, delivers more entertainment than many major cinema releases. A tight and intelligent script is efficiently directed and photographed with an accomplished cast giving their best. Action sequences are very well handled and the whole adds to just over eighty minutes of dramatic and enjoyable entertainment.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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