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Charlie Zone (Blu-Ray Review)

Charlie-ZoneThere is a big mystery regarding Anchor Bay’s Charlie Zone.  Why is this movie called Charlie Zone?  It’s not a character’s name or code name.  It’s not a place.  It’s not a mission.  What is it?  I have no desire to backtrack through it to find out in the event I missed it.  I didn’t catch it the first time.  The film is a dull journey to rescue a junkie and return her to her family that keeps opening new door after new door in terms of the mission’s severity.  It’s all really confusing and drags on.  The film also has a hard time balancing what it really wants to be.  It tries its hand at drama, action, thriller, mystery and even horror, falling flat and uninteresting with every attempt.  The movie does think it’s smarter than it is which kind of feels insulting to the viewer.  You’ll never guess anything that’s coming, mostly because you have no clue as most turns are not earned or built up very well.

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Film

Avery Paul (Glen Gould) is a has-been boxer and former convict, now subject to fighting punks on the street for cheap internet videos.  The mighty has fallen.  Avery is offered enough money to get him back on his feet and back into serious boxing again with one simple operation.  Get Jan (Amanda Crew) out of a junkie house from the clutches of heroin/morphine dealers and return her to her family.  It seems so very simple, but things are far more than they seem and Avery and Jan’s lives are very much at stake.

This film starts out like a simple undercover rescue mission that may have a twist to it.  However, it takes a lot of left turns.  At one time, it feels like you’re watching a light Hostel tribute.  There’s a lot of characters and the connections are never really too clear.  It’s pretty messy.  If the character is not played by Glen Gould or Amanda Crew you just have to assume they are a villain in some sort of fashion.  There’s junkie bad guys, biker bad guys, secret ops bad guys, and corrupt politician bad guys.  Not all of those are working for the others.

The film hums along being dull and uninteresting throughout.  I thought it might find some footing entering the junkie home and investigating, but it doesn’t really spend much time at all there.  There are side characters, but once they are not key to the plot, the movie still kind of follows them, but we don’t really care anymore.  The film just keeps running away and never takes time to enjoy anything its doing.  There’s simple beats for characters, but its all about its confusing plot.  You just kinda have to let this movie happen for you.  And it doesn’t really happen in an interesting way.

Why is this called Charlie Zone?

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Video

The 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoding on Anchor Bay’s release is pretty hit and miss throughout the feature.  There are times when the 1:78:1 frame is full of great detail, but the next moment is a very soft smeary looking night sequence.  The picture in general isn’t very sharp and the dull lighting and presentation isn’t pretty to look at.  I get that the film is about junkies and it should be a little drab, but this just brings an already sub-par film down even further.

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Audio

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is about the equal to its video counterpart.  The dialogue in the center channel is unpleasantly low while the rest of the film appears to be at a normal level.  Some of the foley effects are a bit over the top, but nothing too bothersome.  They’re just very noticeable when they’re too much.  There’s not a whole lot of room to focus on in the surround as a lot of scenes take place in small enclosed rooms.  The biggest qualm with this track is having to lean in to hear the dialogue at many times.

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Extras

Charlie Zone comes with no extras.  Trailers for Pawn and Chained appear before the main menu.

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Summary

Charlie Zone is an unbalanced film with an unbalanced audio and video presentation.  It’s not a very rewarding experience and Anchor Bay gives you no extra material for your efforts.  The film thinks it’s a lot cooler and deeper than it is.  It’s a very uninteresting movie that thinks it has twists to blow your mind.  The only thing that would have blown my mind would have been if something interesting happened.  In all honesty, its not a poorly produced film.  The problems greatly lie in the script and by-the-numbers production.  I’ll give it credit for being a film shot in Canada and not trying to hide the fact it’s in Canada.  The story takes place in Canada.  Charlie Zone‘s biggest crime is that for the most part its just really boring.  The entertainment in it is only to be found in very small doses throughout.  Oh, and, why is this called Charlie Zone again?

Charlie-Zone-Blu-Ray

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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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