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The Prince (Blu-ray Review)

The-PrinceThe Prince is brought to us from producers behind last year’s films Lone Survivor and Escape Plan.  That’s a weird balance as I really enjoyed one of those quite a bit and sort of despised the other.  And if you want a clue as to which, lets just say its the one that wasn’t based on a true story.  The film boasts an impressive one-two punch of actors for me as I’ve never seen two of my favorites, John Cusack and Bruce Willis in a film together before.  According to my research this film did play in theaters, but seems to be more of a straight to video or Video OnDemand kind of film.  And no, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that as there have been some truly terrific films going by way of VOD over the past couple years and sort of the replacement of sorts for an outlet for independent genre films.

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Film 

Paul just seems to be your average normal auto mechanic.  He’s been widowed but still has a daughter.  A daughter who strangely disappears.  Paul goes out looking for her, and we find out that Paul is a retired mob boss and former assassin in hiding.  His old rival has kidnapped his daughter and wants to exact vengeance for what Paul had done to his family in an attack many years prior.  Paul gets the aide of his daughter’s friend in the search and is helped by his best friend in his attempts to infiltrate and take back his daughter.

So basically, this movie is Jason Patric’s Taken.  We get the guy who has a past with a bit of “special skills” who is brought out of retirement to seek out and find his daughter who has been kidnapped.  Along the way, he’s kicking ass and taking names showing us the ruthless man of action he used to be.  I mean, there’s really no other way around it.  Its more a homemade Taken as it doesn’t feature any of the elegant and exotic overseas locales that give that movie its flavor.  This movie just basically takes place in anywhere, USA.

John Cusack and Bruce Willis are in this movie, but they are in much smaller supporting parts.  There’s a flash of Bruce in the beginning but he doesn’t show up until somewhere in the second act.  And for something that you know he had a short schedule for and probably had his “sleepwalking paycheck”, he actually seems to be enjoying himself here.  He gives a bit of care to his lines and deliveries.  No, its not some amazing part or performance or anything, its just impressive that’s he’s giving it a full on performance when in recent years we’ve seen him yawn out his lines.  Cusack on the other hand looks and acts extremely bored in this film.  And he gets to do some pistol slinging even.  His part isn’t much, but you can see it in his face that its not much.

The action in this film is a bit of a patient shaky cam.  The action scenes aren’t terrible, its just that they’re pretty basic and not much to them.  Its straightforward beat downs and gun firing.  Jason Patric’s Paul does get to be pretty intense and cold-hearted.  There’s one scene that took me buy surprise where there was an injured thug on the ground that he questioned and just sort of out of nowhere put one in the guy’s head.  There’s blood in the film, but its not overly reliant on it.  And it doesn’t appear to be CG ridden either as plenty of squibs go off in the film.

Jason Patric leads a pretty generic, straight-to-video Taken knock off that features some high profile performers in small roles (No doubt to help sell the thing with floating heads on a poster).  Its funny that this is totally Patric’s movie, yet the box art plays him down.    Back in the 90s this kind of movie that harkened to a similar bigger title were a dime a dozen and pretty fun.  This one is a decent piece of modern action trash if you’re up for it.  Its short and pretty to the point.  Something you can just turn your brain off and crack open a brew to.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail:   This is a really well represented vibrant and popping picture.  Impressively water (in a pool most notably) is incredibly smooth and effortless.  Textures on clothes and surfaces are incredibly detailed and every pattern is visible.  Some instance do have a tad bit of smoothness too them, but for the most part this is a razor sharp digital image.

Depth: Depth is pretty solid.  Everything is real clear here no matter foreground or in the back.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and inky.  You can still make out hair follicles in much of the film as well as textures, though some scenes do prove a little too dark to make those things out.

Color Reproduction:  This bright vibrant picture pops with all its colors.  Reds and purples stick out pretty good.  Most every color is well represented here.

Flesh Tones:  Flesh towns are vibrant and consistent.  Detail is extremely high.  You just know what the facial stubble on pretty much every male character feels like just by looking at it.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean picture, no residue.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  This is a really solid action-based 5.1 track.  There’s a good balance between score, voice and effects.  The palette runs loose and life like.  When the film hits its action beats, it becomes quite tense and lively.

Low Frequency Extension: Car crashes, gun shots, punches and kicks are all given a bit extra from the subwoofer.  Vocals even get a little enhancement.

Surround Sound Presentation: A very front heavy track, the rear are used for ambiance and score.  There is accurate screen to speaker placement of sound as well as appropriate volume designations for sound.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Crisp, clean and well prioritized.

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Extras 

The Prince includes an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Brian A. Miller and Actor Jason Patric

Capturing The Prince: Behind The Scenes (HD, 9:58) – Features interviews with the director, writers and cast.  They describe the story, their interest in the film and the characters they are playing.  They also give credit to the city they shot in.

Extended Scenes (HD, 10:28)

Interviews With Cast And Crew – These are the same interviews used in the Making Of featurette, maybe a little extra line or two here or there.  Look at Cusack in this…note how short his is, and look how unhappy he seems to be there lol!

  • Brian A. Miller – Director (HD, 4:01)
  • Jason Patric (HD, 2:06)
  • John Cusack (HD, :56)
  • Jessica Lowndes (HD, 2:27)
  • Curtis Jackson (HD, 2:36)
  • Gia Mantegna (HD, 2:01)

The Prince Trailer (HD)

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Summary 

Lionsgate brings The Prince home with an above average presentation of a low rent movie.  There’s plenty of extras here to supplement your viewing enjoyment.  I’m not sure this is one I’d recommend purchasing though.  Unless you collect every Bruce Willis or John Cusack film (Any Jason Patric collectors?), I’d say this is a rental.  But, more than that, this is the kind of late night channel surfing movie you just stop on and say “What the hell, ok”.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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