A Common Man (Blu-ray Review)

As I watched A Common Man, I wondered if Ben Kingsley knew or will ever find out what the other side of this movie looked like.  The film is a clear case of throwing all the money in a super low budget film at a big name to shoot for a couple of days to hopefully sell your movie better.  Slap his name above the title, prominently display him on the cover art with a misleading fiery explosion in the background and hopefully someone is going to pick this up thinking at the very least they’ll get a solid B action movie.  Sadly, its far from as it looks as if almost every dollar went to Kingsley for a day or two’s shooting some boring scenes while the rest of the movie suffers from being a, at all too few times laughable, poor production.

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Disclaimer: A Common Man remakes the Bollywood film A Wednesday.  I’m not familiar with this film at all, so I won’t be able to toss around any comparisons.  If it’s any consolation, I have no desire to check out A Wednesday after this.

The film starts out with much promise.  “The Man”(Kingsley) is traveling around Colombo, Sri Lanka planting bombs planted in bags throughout the city.  Everything with Kingsley in the open is shot well and keeps you on your toes as he travels from bus to train to police station trying to be discrete and leaving his bombs without suspicion.  After this, he travels to a remote building that is either condemned or under construction.  From here he pops a squat for the rest of the film.

The Man then phones the police and orders them to release 4 prisoners or he will set off the bombs.  The police resort to panic mode and clumsily try to find and defuse the bombs before The Man has a chance to acquire his demands.  Failing at almost every corner, the police must succumb to The Man’s needs.

After The Man sets up shop atop the building, A Common Man just starts plunging downward fast.  Everything on the other side of Ben Kingsley is incredibly cheap and poorly performed.  The script feels like it was written at a 6th grade level as many events don’t feel thought out and reek of forced clichés.  After just a few scenes, Kingsley, (who does start off good) gets tiring himself.  He’s really given nothing to do but make stereotypical terrorist phone calls.  Maybe he should have played the leader of the police, DIG?  What tries to be a game of cat and mouse just feels like too much focus on a boring bad guy with bumbling cops losing credibility with every tick.

None of the performances in this film (Kingsley aside) are anywhere remotely believable. Everyone looks like people in costumes trying to be in a movie.  The worst of all is a female reporter whom The Man is contacting giving a heads up of each attack location.  It doesn’t help that everyone is poorly dubbed as well.  They play out very much like a mid-90s US Jackie Chan import.  You can’t root for Kingsley and you sure can’t even find interest in these people.

There’s really nothing to recommend here.  Are you on a Ben Kingsley high from Iron Man 3A Common Man will effectively kill that buzz.  It’s a film with a great first 5 minutes followed by poor production and boredom.  There’s a very interesting premise involved, but likely due to budgetary constraints, director Chandran Rutnam is unable to produce anything thrilling or entertaining.

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As bad as the movie is, Anchor Bay’s 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encode is near perfection.  The 1:78:1 presentation is incredibly sharp and full of detail.  Texture is noticeable on every surface. From faint wrinkles on Kingsley’s shirt to rusty barrels, detail is very very high.  The only time when the film sank anywhere below fantastic was during a populated marketplace scene in the opening. It looked hand held video-esque in quality and may have been the result of some guerilla filmmaking (seeing as the film felt very cheap and no dialogue or character interactions occurred).

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As good as the video is, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is the polar opposite.  Everyone in the film not named Ben Kingsley is dubbed and all their voices appear to be recorded at different levels and in many different environments.  The sync is very off an on from character to character or scene to scene.  Also, the volume on the foley work is incredibly loud.  It is set to almost humorous levels at times.  There was the passing of cell phone resembling an audio pop and brushing of microphone.  The score under this track does sound pretty good.  That’s the only real credit I can give it.

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A Common Man comes with no extras.  Trailers for Chained and Pawn appear before the Main Menu.

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Don’t be fooled by the case for A Common Man.  This may be about bombs, but there are really no explosions to speak of, literal or metaphorical.  Anchor Bay’s release features top notch video quality with a near disastrous audio track and no bonus material.  The film itself is a poorly made and incredibly dull (I guess I have to call it a) thriller.  Unless you are some sort of Ben Kingsley superfan completionist (do those exist?), it’s an easy call to pass on this one.


Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a 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. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

3 Responses to “A Common Man (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    First of all…welcome to WSB, Brandon!
    I know from reading this the movie sucked, but awesome review! Thanks for turning this around so LIGHTNING FAST. I’m so sorry the movie sucked. This is the first review I have read on this one, but from the sound of the film and the audio section the gun to the head picture above is a pretty accurate description of having to sit through this one, huh?
    I’ve read good things about Pawn so I hope you enjoy that more.
    But great review again! Appreciate it!

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    Welcome to the war, Brandon!!!

  3. Brandon Peters

    Thanks guys! Excited to be on board! It was grueling challenge, but I’m always up to the task!