HTF REVIEW: "Deuces Wild" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 30, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    Deuces Wild

    Studio: MGM
    Year: 2002
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 97 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    and Standard (1.33:1) Transfers

    What happens when The Sopranos ends its
    season? Members of the cast go and make B-rated
    movies like Deuces Wild that leave a sour
    taste in your mouth. Watching this film makes
    you quickly realize why it sat on the shelf for
    two years before it was finally released.
    Deuces Wild is about the golden age of
    teen gangs, back in the days when switchblades
    were exotic. Although the film is set in the
    Sunset Park neighborhood of 1958 Brooklyn, the
    entire film looks like it was shot on a studio
    back lot.
    The film begins with a rainy flashback to 1955.
    Leon (Sean Doff), discovers his brother has
    overdosed on drugs supplied by Marco (Norman Reeds)
    and Jimmy Pockets (Valhalla Jetty), members of the
    rival gang, the Vipers, that also inhabits their
    neighborhood. Leon decides to clean up the
    neighborhood so this never happens to anyone else
    on the block. This includes sending Marco to
    jail for selling his brother bad drugs.
    It's now three years later, the summer of 1958.
    The Deuces enjoy a truce with their rivals, the
    Vipers, and life couldn't be better. But there
    is tension in the air as Viper Marco Vendetti is
    about to get out of prison.
    Although the two gangs share an uneasy truce due
    to the efforts of Father Aldo (VINCENT PASTORE) as
    well as small time mob member Fritzy (MATT DILLON)
    who's the one who really runs the neighborhood, two
    events transpire that begin to threaten the peace.
    For one, Bobby has suddenly become involved with
    Jimmy's sister, Annie (FAIRUZA BALK), who's just
    moved in with him and their mentally unstable
    mother, Wendy (DEBORAH HARRY).
    Then there's Marco who has just been released from
    prison after three years and is looking for
    retribution. He teams up with Fritzy in a heroin
    operation and tensions begin to escalate.
    What's basically a good guys vs. bad guys story
    turns into one huge stereotypical cliche' with a
    standard wearying mix of violence accented with
    stylized slow-motion moments that only adds to the
    film's overall silliness.
    How is the transfer?
    The transfer looks very good. Picture is clean,
    detailed and sharp with nice solid black levels.
    Facial tones look very accurate. The daytime
    exteriors are extremely clean and even with
    no grain. The interior shots, however, do have
    sport a small amount of graininess.
    The 5.1 Dolby Digital track provides nice stereo
    separation across the front channels. The only
    problem, however, is that sound remains mostly in
    the front. The rears add a few effects noises as
    well as support to the film's sparse musical track,
    but are recorded at a much lower level that you
    don't quite notice their existence.
    Special Features
    MGM has provided both a widescreen and full frame
    transfer on this DVD. You can immediately select
    which version you wish to watch as you depart from
    the DVDs Main Menu screen.
    There is a full-length audio commentary
    by Director Scott Kalvert and Editor Michael
    Miller. Kalvert explains that because of budget
    concerns, the film was shot on the back lot of
    Paramount Studios (that is why it looked familiar).
    This greatly limited the amount of space available
    to them and made it difficult not to make the
    different shoots look redundant. The Director
    talks about how he used anamorphic framing in a
    very unconventional way to shoot this film. The
    entire carnival sequence was also difficult to film
    as it had to be shot in one short summer evening.
    One of the film's major rumble scenes was shot at
    the San Pedro boat yard which was passed off as
    a Brooklyn yard with its period boat docks.
    Though the commentary is dominated by Director
    Scott Kalvert, Editor Michael Miller does manage
    to talk about how he edited many of the scenes and
    the ease of doing effects work thanks to the
    software programs available to him (instead of
    having to send his work out).
    There is a 5-minute behind-the-scenes Photo
    Montage that plays against the film's score.
    Lots of pictures taken from the set as well as
    candid shots of the cast and crew.
    Finally, the film's original theatrical trailer
    is included.
    Final Thoughts
    Trying to be a cross between The Outsiders and
    West Side Story, Deuces Wild never quite
    reaches the level of either film. Instead, this
    film is cliched and poorly scripted to the point of
    being ridiculous. It plays more like a direct-to-video
    release rather than a major motion picture.
    Rent it if you must.
    Release Date: August 6, 2002

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