Body Parts, Harold Robbins' (Vital Parts) (1999)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||1999|
|Running Time||86:49 (Case: 90)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Craig Corman|
Magna Home Entertainment
Will Foster Stewart
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Before I start, let me repeat the same ... clarification ... that you are probably going to get from every other review of this film you are likely to read. No, Harold Robbins' Body Parts is not a documentary about Harold's arms, or liver, or crotch. Hang on ... come to think about it ... it probably is about his crotch, but I digress.
If you have every read any of Harold Robbins' best-selling novels, you will know that his stories kind of mix equal amounts of sex, action and improbability into a package that hopefully will appeal to the lowest common denominator. Well, this adaptation of one of his novels into what I presume is a TV movie is no different.
Ty Kinnick (Richard Grieco) is an officer in the US Navy on a night out in Hong Kong with his wife Rachel (Athena Massey) and his best pal and fellow officer J.J. Kemp (Will Foster Stewart) - except that J.J. is also involved in a drug racket with some Manilan mobsters called "the syndicate." J.J persuades Ty to help him in a drug/money exchange which goes horribly wrong when J.J. decides to double cross everyone by killing his suppliers (so that he gets to keep the drugs and the money). In order to avoid the syndicate avenging the deaths of their men, he is going to make it look like they got busted. To ensure that the syndicate believes his story, he needs one of his men killed - so he shoots Ty and leaves him for dead.
Except Ty didn't quite die. The doctors rescued him, but had to remove one of his kidneys. Sentenced to prison for drug trafficking, he is finally released as part of a gesture of goodwill five years later in 1997 when Hong Kong returns to Chinese rule. He returns back to the good ol' U.S. of A. only to find out from his ex-wife Rachel that J.J. is trying to get him killed to prevent him spilling the beans about J.J.'s treachery back to the syndicate. Next thing you know he's in the Phillipines trying to track J.J. down (who has since resigned from the Navy and works full time for the syndicate) to kill J.J. before J.J. kills him.
In the Philippines, Ty teams up with a friend of Rachel who works for J.J.: nightclub owner and brothel madam Lina Balang (Teresa Loyzaga). He also meets up with, and shacks up with (in more ways than one) comely prostitute Inez Roxes (Joyce Jimenez). Soon he discovers that he is always one step behind - he is just being used as a pawn in a chess game between grandmasters of betrayal - and the true stakes are far higher, and more gruesome, than he can imagine.
Shot on a budget in the Philippines, the film looks cheap and is cheap. Even the beginning of the film, supposedly set in Hong Kong, looks like it may have been shot in the Philippines as well - the extras don't look very Hong Kong Chinese to my eyes and certainly don't sound Chinese. I suspect even the scene in Santa Monica (where Ty sails into a marina on a yacht) may have been shot in the Philippines as the ending titles credit the "Subic Bay Yacht Club."
And of course, this being a dramatization of a Harold Robbins story - there is lots of gratuitous sex, but softer than soft porn so all we get to see are lots of exposed heaving bosoms and painted fingernails clenching on muscular backs. The action sequences are pretty pathetic, but at least the storyline keeps moving (after all, you wouldn't want the audience to start thinking and uncovering holes in the plotline, do you?)
I don't know what the original intended aspect ratio of this film is, so the 1.33:1 non-16x9 enhanced transfer is either in full frame or pan & scan. If it is a TV movie, then I suspect it is probably a full frame transfer - I certainly did not notice any badly cropped frames.
Apart from the fact that the transfer seem a bit soft and on the grainy side, and the colours look a bit muddy, this is an average transfer. Luckily, there doesn't seem to be any signs of artefacts - film, video or MPEG. I suspect that the quality of the film used to shoot this movie is probably not the best so the transfer is probably as good as it is likely to get. Given the slight video glitches that I can see every now and then, the transfer appear to have been sourced from an analogue video tape.
There are no subtitles on this single sided single layered disc.
There is only one audio track on this disc: English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192 Kb/s).
Despite the surround flag not being turned on, I suspect the audio track is surround encoded. The end titles says the audio has been recorded in "Ultra Stereo" (which I think is the no-frills version of Dolby Surround).
In any case, the rear channels are quite effectively used in many places in the film - especially for music and ambience. For examples, see the thunderstorm around 19:48 onwards, background music around 24:10 onwards, and other spots throughout the film.
The quality of the audio track is also surprisingly good, despite the low encoding bitrate. The audio tracks sounds quite full-bodied and dynamic - and the sound of guns discharging bullets can probably put some Dolby Digital audio tracks to shame.
Despite the lack of a subtitle track, I did not have any issues listening to the dialogue and there are no audio synchronisation issues.
The original music score by Brad Segal and Nic TenBroek are fairly derivative and forgettable.
|Surround Channel Use|
This disc has very limited extras: namely just the theatrical trailer.
The main menu is full frame and static but is accompanied by background audio.
This is also presented in full frame and Dolby Digital 2.0.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;
I wouldn't say the additional extras on Region 1 are particularly compelling, so I would call it even.
Harold Robbins' Body Parts is a low budget thriller. It is presented on a disc with an okay but nothing spectacular video transfer, and a surprisingly good audio transfer, particularly in its rear surround channel activity (given that it is a 2.0 track with the surround flag turned off). There are no extras apart from a theatrical trailer.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-626D, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (203cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front and rears: B&W CDM7NT; centre: B&W CDMCNT; subwoofer: B&W ASW2500|