• Color Of Night (Kino Studio Classics) Blu-Ray Review

    Released By: Kino Studio Classics
    Released On: August 21, 2018.
    Director: Richard Rush
    Cast: Bruce Willis, Jane March, Ruben Blades, Scott Bakula, Brad Dourif, Lance Henriksen, Lesley Ann Warren
    Year: 1994

    Color Of Night - Movie Review:

    I don't remember much from the 90's, but I can tell you one of the things that stands out; Bruce Willis' dong. That's right. Even though it wasn't featured too prominently, "Bruce Willis' dong" was the word-of-mouth advertising campaign around Richard Rush's film, Color Of Night. I don't know why it was such a huge deal at the time, but Mr. Moonlighting's private parts were definitely what was being talked about, and why my lady friend at the time brought the film home as a rental.

    Following the same idea as Die Hard, kinda, Color of Night finds Bill Capa (Willis) taking a break from his profession in New York City to go visiting in sunny Los Angeles, but this time he's not a cop, he's a psychiatrist. And he's not heading to the Nakatomi Plaza to make amends with his wife, he's instead visiting old school chum and fellow head doctor, Bob Moore (Scott Bakula), trying to get his head around the violent death of a patient. Moore, also a successful author, is sympathetic to his old buddy, letting him stay at his very fancy and very paranoidly over-secure home, and even decides it would be nice if Bill came to one of his group therapy sessions.

    The group have mixed reactions to Bill; not surprising, given their assortment of ailments; and he uses the session to take in the varied personalities of flighty Sondra, widower Buck (Lance Henriksen), OCD-driven Clark (Brad Dourif), pompous dickhead Casey, and Richie, a teenager with a speech impediment and some serious mental issues. After the session, though, Bob confesses to Bill that he's received some death threats believed to have originated from one of the group members. Turns out that Bob is right to be worried, because it's shortly after that conversation that he's found dead in his office, with eighty-seven stab wounds and a giant piece of glass stuck through him.

    The police, led by Detective Martinez (Ruben Blades) become very curious about Bill's involvement, being that his dead patient happened to commit suicide in front of the doctor, but Martinez waffles between taking jabs at Bill's culpability in Bob's murder, and wanting his help in identifying which of the group members is responsible for the crime. Bill meets again with the group, determined to learn more, but finds things get a little more complicated when he begins a romance with a very young woman named Rose (Jane March) who bends his fender in a vehicular collision, a very young woman who soon inserts herself into just about every aspect of his life while he inserts himself into just about ever....well, you get the idea.

    It's a hot and steamy romance with tons of long, awkward sex scenes, the kind we'd expect from Tommy Wiseau, but it's not all fun and games as Bill starts digging into the pasts of each of the group members. Dead bodies, high-speed chases, and rattlesnakes up the ante considerably, as Bill begins to close in on the murderer, putting his own life in danger; and it's going to take more than his majestic and slightly visible wang to get out alive and bring the killer to justice.

    Aside from Die Hard boners, Color of Night is also notorious for being a horrendously shitty film, with Director Rush having the film hijacked by Executive Producer Andrew Vajna and cut to pieces for it's theatrical presentation. Rush was able to finagle a deal with Vajna, however, to have his version released in the home video market, which is presented in this Kino release alongside the theatrical cut. What's the difference? Not too terribly much, if you don't count the sex scenes, which were almost completely chopped from Vajna's cut. Why do I mention this? Mainly to set straight the idea that the "Director's Cut" is a version that nobody has ever seen, or that there are so many differences between the two that Rush's longer version is somehow a masterpiece.

    That's right, in any incarnation, Color of Night is freakin' BAD. There's no doubt that Willis, Bakula, and even supporting actors like Henriksen and Dourif can act, and act very well. But not in Color of Night. Not even a little bit, unless you count the extremely lucky Bakula, who gets killed off before he has a chance to suck as much as the others. Willis' dialogue is silly, the characters are silly, the plot twist is idiotic and apparent almost from the get-go, and Rush's decision to set up scenes like Bill meeting Martinez at the Whisky to have a 38 second conversation before leaving, are questionable at best. Color of Night's storyline is full of holes and unlikely character decisions, and I'd actually argue that dumping in a bunch of sex scenes between Willis and March makes it even WORSE. And speaking of March (who, along with Willis, was nominated for a Razzie for her performance) look no further to find some of the lousiest acting ever put to celluloid. Her performance defies description, truth be told, and without getting into spoiler territory, there's a lot of performance to be stunned stupid by.

    Lousy characters, lousy acting, lousy writing, and questionable artistic choices in direction add up to make Color of Night a genuine suckfest, which even the unintentional laughs can't save it from. And at almost two-and-a-half hours (Director's Cut), the pain and suffering go on for far too long. So, if you saw Color of Night on video back in the day and don't remember anything about it except that Willis' phallus guest stars, but have heard about a superior Director's cut; don't worry about it. You've seen it. It sucked then, and it sucks now.

    Color Of Night - Blu-Ray Review:

    Color of Night comes to blu-ray courtesy of the Kino Studio Classics line in a 1.85:1 AVC-encoded transfer that is uninspiring and dated looking. Though the outdoor daylight scenes do come off as passable, interior shots and nighttime scenes are murky and muddy, with detail being swallowed up. It should be noted that there aren't any noticeable issues with dirt or debris, but if I were to hazard a guess, this is an old scan.

    The audio doesn't fair much better, with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track and a DTS-HD 2.0 track (English) being offered up, both suffering from the same drab presentation as the video. Though there aren't any problems with hearing the dialogue, distortion was present in a few scenes, with neither track really standing out as the winner.

    Both cuts of the film presented (each on a separate disc) have the same look and sound to them.

    A pair of commentaries are included here, each unique to their respective cuts. For the Director's Cut of the film, we get Director Richard Rush, moderated by Elijah Drenner, and even though it's scripted near the beginning of the film, this is the one to listen to for anyone interested in Color of Night or what it was that happened to the film when Vajna took over. Rush doesn't spare any details in talking about how Vajna had screwed him over prior to making Color of Night and how he should have learned his lesson, the on-set sabotaging of characters by Bruce Willis, or the controversy over the cuts to the film. Even though I didn't enjoy the film, this is the kind of commentary there should be more of, with no punches pulled.

    And speaking of polar opposites, the Theatrical Cut comes with a commentary by Writer Matthew Chapman, moderated by Heather Buckley, and it is the kind of commentary that should be eradicated from the planet, with the two sounding like they have no idea what they're talking about, eventually discussing themselves. I'd be lying if I said that I listened to the entire thing.

    Trailers for Color of Night, The Rich Man's Wife, The Tie That Binds, and Deceived are also available.

    Color Of Night - The Final Word:

    I figure this has to have its fans for somebody to decide to release two equally bad cuts of a bad film. I am not one of those fans. In any case, it's nice to have both versions, I'm sure, but a lacklustre transfer and no decent extras outside of Rush's commentary make this easy to not recommend.

    Click on the images below for full sized Color Of Night Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Matt H.'s Avatar
      Matt H. -
      The differences between the theatrical and the director's cut are massive. The TC actually re-arranges the events of the film to change the meaning and completely alter the narrative. The editing in the TC is ludicrous and totally crass; it removes any nuance, humour or style that Rush was attempting.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      I didn't find them to be massive as far as the addition of new footage goes, nor did I find the rearrangement to be significant, but that depends on your opinion of the Director's cut. If you found humour and style in the extended cut, the alterations would be significant in that Vajna ruined the film. I don't feel that he did, I didn't feel that Rush was going for humour intentionally, or that his style was anything more effective than putting a glass sphere in front of the lens to distort the image, or using unconventional lighting.

      Not saying that you're wrong on this, just that we have very different opinions about the film. I was unimpressed by both versions, for so many reasons; all of which are listed in the review. In addition, the poor transfer and that so many people (from all accounts online) are under the impression that this Director's cut brings some kind of revelation to the film, when it's likely the version that they saw, make this one a flat out Do Not Buy for me.
    1. Mark Tolch's Avatar
      Mark Tolch -
      Anyone interested without watching the film, the majority of the changes can be found here: