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HTF REVIEW: "Deuces Wild" (with screenshots)

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 42,332 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted July 30 2002 - 05:33 AM

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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).

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There is a 5-minute behind-the-scenes Photo
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


Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner


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