• 88 (Blu-ray)



    Released by: Millennium Entertainment
    Released on: January 6th, 2015.
    Director: April Mullen
    Cast: Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside, Kyle Schmid, Jesse McCartney
    Year: 2015
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    A young woman named Gwen (Katharine Isabelle) suffers from something known as fugue states. A form of amnesia where the sufferer has blackout periods and can't remember what they did while under the condition's influence, she's deeply troubled. 88 opens with her in a diner, slipping back into reality after a fugue episode and panicking when she discovers (after conveniently tripping) that she's carrying a gun. A series of contrived and stupid actions/coincidences lead to her shooting a waitress and suddenly she turns into Geena Davis in THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT.

    Listen. Some auteurs deserve to be buried, and the creator of this unholy mess is one of them. Director/co-writer April Mullen has spent far too much time watching desaturated third rate Tarantino ripoffs. Everything about 88 is derivative and confusing. The plot on paper is deceptively simple - a young lady with a murky past and mental health issues - wants revenge on crime boss Cyrus (a bald Christopher BACK TO THE FUTURE Lloyd) who murdered her boyfriend - but the film insists on an incoherent timeline and excessively jerky editing. Every time the viewer thinks they are getting a handle on what's going on, the movie introduces another flashback or peripheral character. Gwen has a helper of sorts named Ty (Tim Doiron) who shows up to help her execute some sort of revenge plan against Lloyd's bad guy.

    Gwen's killer alter ego Flamingo is a walking cliché that hops around in miniskirts smoking furiously and either rubbing up on various thunderstruck male geeks or shooting people. 88 is filled with scenes you've seen in far better films. Breakout assault on a police station? Hello first TERMINATOR. And how many times have you seen the sexy assassin in a Quicky-Mart flashing some leg for the teenage male cashier? Or the crime lord who kills a sloppy associate in front of his other underlings to "make a point"? Hell, that last one showed in Canon's 80's magnum opus AVENGING FORCE that was recently issued on Blu. Can we get an original idea in the house? And how does this all resolve itself? I'd tell you but I'm not sure I know myself. So call this review spoiler free.

    As for the acting, it's generally good enough but Lloyd seems on auto pilot and Isabelle is too anemically "deer in headlights" as Gwen and too broadly obvious as Flamingo. Michael Ironside shows up in a bit role as a sheriff and he's very good but it isn't enough to save the film. Doiron is saddled with terrible dialog and a kooky character that doesn't really work. The film's visual aesthetic is dull and the camerawork unsettling in an unnecessary way. Everything about 88is just trying too hard. The basic production values are there, and the film never looks cheap, but the whole construct is an empty shell.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    88's 2.39:1 1080p AVC transfer handles the key issues well. Detail is good and color repro unremarkably solid. Any fleeting examples of crush and banding seem very much intentional. Part of the film's derivative nature is its occasional use of screwy color schemes. These bits are handled well, but this will never be a home theatre demo disc. A solid B rating fog the video.

    The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track is similarly competent but nondescript. This is an average track with no serious flaws but lacking in interesting surround effects or noticeably lively LFE. Dialog and effects are well balanced. Gunshots sound a bit flatter than normal but otherwise this is a track that simply gets the job done. A Lossy stereo track and English/Spanish subs are also present.

    The only real extra is a nearly 40 minute "behind the scenes" documentary that rounds up the usual gang of participants (director, cast and crew). This is very much an extended fluff piece with everyone seeming enthusiastic enough about the project. Truthfully though this is really just a long EPK. Fans of the film will find it informative enough however - if a bit overlong. There's also a 3 1/2 minute making of piece that's completely unnecessary considering the presence of the other extra. 4 previews for other discs are also included.

    The Final Word:

    88? You've already seen it and probably bought the T-shirt. An utterly derivative revenge thriller saddled with an unnecessarily confusing script, this one fails to engage on any real level. It's at best a functional time-waster for fans of the DTV revenge genre but honestly you are better off finding an old Cynthia Rothrock flick. Not recommended.


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    Comments 1 Comment
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Man, thanks for that. Almost watched on Netflix yesterday, but it looked suspiciously like another Tarantino ripoff. Even the cover art!