This generation had their war – HD-DVD vs BLU-RAY (and we know who won that!)
Well, if you’re a child of the 80s, you will remember the first format war – VHS v BETAMAX.
VHS won – it was in every home, pub, school and oil rig! When I was a kid, it was a revolution that people take for granted now – recording TV! “You mean I can record TV and watch it again and again?” Never mind being able to own my favourite movies – I can record movies from TV and keep them (for a period allowed by copyright, of course!).
I remember my grandparents had a VHS recorder before us- we were poor (and yes they were not cheap back then!) I remember watching videos from the local rental shop at my grandparents – I got to see films like Tron, Gremlins, The Goonies and Robocop! But the film that got watched the most was Raiders Of The Lost Ark, which my Granddad had recorded for me off ITV! But what was even more of a revelation was what my granddad had done for his film-mad grandson. He had recorded the film and cut out the ad breaks with the mighty pause record feature! Now that's love!
For me, VHS was everything. It was my generation’s movie vinyl! By today’s standards, the quality of picture and sound were shocking at best. But that wasn’t the point. I could relive the movie magic – I could watch my favourite films again and again. More importantly, a movie buff obsession was born – “the collection”. We all have them – films racked up everywhere around the house on bookshelves. My spare room, the landing, most of the living room dedicated to this “collection”. To be honest, it would probably take me a year or more to watch every film I have – and don’t get me started on the debate of whether to organise them alphabetically or by genre or... But, none the less, we need that film in our collection.
And so, it’s 2012 and I have a cupboard full of VHS – films I’ve not seen in years and years, some I even forgot I had or films I forgot existed. My plan? Simple, I’m going to give my VHS collection away to my younger brother-in-law. But, before I do, I’m going to re-watch a lot of them and I’m going to share what I find – the good, the bad and the downright ugly!
It’s simple – In doing this, it will help me decide which films I have to replace on DVD/Blu-Ray and those I can happily never own again!
So first up!
This film stars Damon Wayans (hot off his co-starring turn opposite Bruce Willis in The Last Boy Scout) and Adam Sandler. Sandler was very much on the beginning of his career – be it a quick rise after 1996. The film was produced from the Saturday Night Live world and the film feels it. This film is a prime example of “I didn’t even know I owned it or it existed”!
The film itself is a buddy cop action movie. Sandler plays a common thief who is arrested by the undercover cop Wayans – they have to get across the country for Sandler to turn evidence against the villain – played by the great James Caan! A basic join-the-dots plot for a basic movie. The good parts of the film are it’s actually funny – it’s a performance by Sandler where he isn’t hamming it up overly. He plays a very likeable rogue on the screen and you genuinely find him funny in parts. Wayans, however, is not believable as the hard-ass cop – he’s just terrible in the role. You can’t help but feel the role should have gone to someone like Bruce Willis (which would have brought some action credibility to the film).
The film is rated 18- and by today’s standards this film would never have been an 18. It’s an 18 because they have deliberately made it excessively violent within the action scenes. People don’t just get shot- they get shot and large holes explode in them, blood gushes from large gaping wounds- very 1980s action movie style and surprising for a mid-90s film, and a little jarring when you have wise cracks and then really gory bullet holes in the next shot!
All in all, the film does what it sets out to do – to entertain. But it is obvious after one film into the action genre that Sandler has not returned – he’s just not convincing within the genre. Seeing Sandler holding a gun and trying to look mean and hard – well, it’s probably the funniest thing he’s ever done on film. Shame when it’s not supposed to be funny!
2 out of 5 stars