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Rampage: Capital Punishment (DVD Review)

Rampage-Capital-PunishmentHe’s been called the German Ed Wood.  He’s began his directorial career with makes video game adaptation after video game adaptation.  There’s urban legends that he keeps getting money to make movies because he has some stash of Nazi gold hidden somewhere.  But, in 2009, something of an anomaly happened.  Uwe Boll made a rather decent film.  That film was Rampage; the story of a young man sent over the edge with rage that he goes on a killing spree in his hometown.  It was actually well received and found a fanbase NOT out of irony.  Uwe and star Brendan Fletcher return to the character of Bill Williamson in Rampage: Capital Punishment in what they hope is the second installment of a trilogy.

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Film 

Bill Williamson has been missing for 3 years, last seen in an internet video admitting it was he and not his friend Evan that committed the murders.  He decides he has a message he wants the world to hear, so he gets back into shape, practices killing by picking off civilians in front of a Target and heads to the local news station.  There, he goes on a shooting spree but this time takes hostages.  He wants them to air his important video and also to give an interview with their head honcho lead reporter.

Well, lightning can’t really strike twice here I guess.  Capital Punishment isn’t downright terrible by any means.  And its not bad in typical Uwe Boll fashion.  The film feels like it had about 30 minutes worth of story to tell, but decided to stretch it out to an hour and a half.  Its pretty tedious and gets very boring.  This is evidenced by the overuse of flashbacks from the first film.  The movie starts up with a full on recap, but doesn’t stop there, throughout the film we’re treated to plenty of footage from the first film.

One thing keeping the film from putting you to sleep is its star, Brendan Fletcher.  Fletcher really grasps this character and gets full on into him.  He’s also the co-writer with Uwe, so he’s very much invested.  There’s such a lifelike realism to him that he’s actually very scary.  And he’s such a wildcard/loose-cannon it helps keep you on edge.  When he DOESN’T kill its a big time surprise a perfect bait and switch from the last movie where it was shocking when he killed people.

A part of this plot that really kinda bothered me was the whole “video must be seen”.  Bill didn’t need to go to a news station to show the video.  I don’t understand how he couldn’t have just gone and uploaded it to YouTube.  Then if he REALLY wanted it seen, he could have advertised it with some sort of killing spree to support it.  Honestly, in this day and age that probably is a much more effective means to reaching the biggest amount of people than the local news.  For that aspect, it kinda felt out of touch or not with it and part of what makes this thing a little boring.

If you’re a fan of the first film, you’ll obvious be extremely curious as to where a second one would go.  Unfortunately, it got taken to a much less interesting, and much less budgeted story of just sitting around and doing nothing.  If you liked the first movie, don’t worry, you’ll get be reminded of it constantly with scenes, clips and flashes to the original.  Its got some interesting bits, but would have been made much better for a 20-30 minute short as opposed to feature length film.  I do need to give Uwe props though, he’s come along as a director after many many MANY misses if he continues to do work like this.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-2

Resolution: 480i

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  Displays about as detailed and image as a DVD can get.  A nice vibrant and clear image that looked pretty good on my television.

Depth:  This film doesn’t offer much, but nominal for a 480i image.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep, and have minimal crushing.

Color Reproduction:  Grays and blacks prove to be the strongest colors.  Its not a very pretty picture.  Very plain.

Flesh Tones: Cold and consistent.  Good detail in the close-ups.

Noise/Artifacts: None witnessed.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  I was very impressed with this Dolby Digital track.  It was very clean sounding and ever present.  Gunshots and explosions sounded terrific.  Effects were well rounded.

Low Frequency Extension:  Explosions and assault rifles got an extra kick from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Mostly a front heavy track, but did have some good right to left interplay.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Crisp and clear.  Very very good dialogue track.

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Extras 

Audio Commentary – Director Uwe Boll speaks not as much about making this movie as he does going on political rants that follow the theme of the film.

The Making Of Rampage: Capital Punishment (SD, 25:24) – Interviews with the 3 leads of the film plus Uwe one-by-one interspersed with behind the scenes footage of the film.

Trailer (SD, 1:46)

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Summary 

Rampage: Capital Punishment is a disappointing follow up to the solid first outing.  This DVD release provides good video and a surprisingly grand audio track.  The bonus features are enough to enlighten following the film (I would be SHOCKED if there are full deleted scenes from this).  Brendan Fletcher is terrific here, but the film stretches far too long and much overstays its welcome.  Hopefully if the third chapter is made it has a lot more to do.

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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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