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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
One False Move (1990)

One False Move (1990)

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Released 19-Mar-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Audio Commentary
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 101:21
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (59:17) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Carl Franklin

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Bill Paxton
Billy Bob Thornton
Michael Beach
Cynda Williams
Earl Billings
Jim Metzler
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Peter Haycock
Derek Holt

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 English
German Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Whoever the writer for the Sunday Express was who proclaimed One False Move as 'far and away the best-written, best acted thriller to have come out of America in a long time' obviously doesn't get out of his house too often. I could probably rattle off at least half-a-dozen thrillers made around the same time that make this film pale in comparison. The Silence Of The Lambs springs immediately to mind. Anyway, ignoring the usual advertising on the back cover of this disc, I settled in to watch a film that I had somehow missed during its earlier theatrical and/or home video release.

    Bill Paxton stars as Dale 'Hurricane' Dixon, the local sheriff in small town Star City, Arkansas. Seemingly content with busting peeping-toms and stop-sign runners, Dale's quiet small town job is about to be shaken up. When three drug dealers commit a few rather bloody murders in Los Angeles, the trio set off across the country to Star City where one of them has an uncle. The three; Ray Malcolm (Billy Bob Thornton who also wrote the screenplay), Pluto (Michael Beach), and Lila (Cynda Williams) have few morals and will willingly murder anyone in their way in quite cold-blood (stabbing seems to be the preferred option). Meanwhile two Los Angeles cops (Jim Metzler and Earl Billings) head to Star City to assist Dale and wait for the three to arrive. The LA police chief feels Dale may be out of his depth with this case, and sending in some 'real' police is the only way to assure that the murderers are apprehended. Dale wants to prove to them otherwise and sees solving this case single-handedly as his ticket to getting a job with the LAPD. He may just encounter more than he bargained for here and may really be out of his depth.

    There is a solid performance from Billy Bob Thornton as a murderous thug and Bill Paxton is his usual All-American annoying self, playing a small town sheriff with what appears to be a reasonably low IQ. There are a couple of minor plot twists that add a small amount of credibility to the story and attempt to flesh out the characters from what could easily be a very two-dimensional storyline. In the end, though, this is little more than your average run-of-the-mill cops and murderers shoot-out.

    This film would have received its R rating only for a couple of violent murder scenes that are quite chilling, though mostly devoid of blood, and the excessive use of the F word throughout.

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Transfer Quality


    Columbia Tristar roll out yet another fine transfer. This is further proof that older source material need not be given shoddy treatment, as this film is over ten years old and yet looks like it was made last week. Overall, I was quite happy with this video transfer.

    An aspect ratio of 1.78:1 graces this video presentation, which is also 16x9 enhanced.

    The level of detail is quite good, with a nice sharp picture overall. There is a trace of edge enhancement on occasion. The most notable example of this occurs at 78:40. The level of shadow detail is excellent, and although grain does appear throughout, it is quite minor in nature and in no way obtrusive. There is no low level noise at all.

    The colours aren't exactly what I would call super-vibrant, but on the other hand, there aren't any problems with them either. Skin tones are natural and blacks are suitably deep and true. Some of the external Arkansas woods scenes are in a deep, rich green, which comes across rather well. There are no problems with bleeding or oversaturation.

    There are no MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts are also absent. Considering the age of the source material and the low budget that was available to the filmmakers, the print is in remarkable shape. There are very few film artefacts evident. A little dirt appears here and there (41:20 is the most obvious example), but this is mostly a pleasing transfer and a pleasant surprise.

    A staggering twenty five subtitle options grace this transfer. There are twenty for the film soundtrack and a further five for the director's commentary (though the latter does not feature an English stream). I watched the film all the way through with the English subtitles on during the commentary and found them mostly accurate. There were some words missing and some sentences abridged, but mostly they were fine.

    This is a dual layered disc that features a barely perceptible layer change at 59:17.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There's nothing really stunning in the audio department. There is no remixed 5.1 soundtracks this time around - we only get the original Dolby Surround soundtrack.

    There are a total of six soundtracks available. There are English and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded tracks, and three Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks in French, German, and Spanish. There is also an English commentary track. I listened to both of the English tracks.

    There are no problems with dialogue at all. It is clear and well-balanced in the overall sound mix as it dominates through the centre channel. There are no audio sync problems

    The score is fairly archetypal of this style of early 90s thriller. Tension building when needed, bland and unnoticeable at others.

    There is very little surround use, and the subwoofer likewise is not utilised.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer

    The U.S. domestic trailer that runs for only 1:24 minutes. Presented in an aspect of 1.33:1 Pan & Scan, it has the usual cheesy American voiceover and does make the film seem far more dramatic and tense that it actually is. I suggest not watching this trailer until after the feature as it contains several plot spoilers and also juxtaposes a couple of scenes together that simply do not appear that way in the film. Audio is provided by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Audio Commentary

    Somewhat surprisingly for an older and lesser known title, we get a full feature-length screen-specific audio commentary by director Carl Franklin. He discusses all aspects of the film-making process, touching on the technical aspects, some of the casting decisions, the score, the character development and the fact that the whole thing was shot on an incredibly small budget of only two million dollars. He seems quite proud of several of the short-cuts they had to take to keep within budget, and of the changes that he insisted occur in the script and how he managed to convince writer Billy Bob Thornton to make them.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Very brief bios and selected filmographies for the director Carl Franklin and three cast members in Bill Paxton, Cynda Williams, and Billy Bob Thornton.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 disc misses out on

    The Region 1 disc misses out on

    Not much difference here, with the addition of one trailer not enough to swing the balance in favour of the Region 1 title. We also get the couple of additional languages, so I'll favour the local disc for price and PAL formatting.


     One False Move is certainly not the greatest thriller I've ever seen, though it does provide some reasonable entertainment for a couple of hours. A couple of pretty solid performances from Billy Bob Thornton as his usual crazed self and Bill Paxton as a country hick style All-American are the highlights.

    The video quality is excellent and far surpasses many films of a similar vintage and budget that I have seen in the past.

    The audio is average with a workmanlike soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround only.

    The extras are limited, though the inclusion of the director's commentary is excellent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, June 05, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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