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HTF DVD REVIEW: Flashpoint: The Second Season (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

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Matt Hough
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[SIZE= 18px]Flashpoint: The Second Season[/SIZE]
Directed by David Frazee et al

Studio: CBS/Paramount
Year: 2009
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic
Running Time: 376 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0 stereo surround English
Subtitles: CC

MSRP:$ 42.99


Release Date: May 25, 2010

Review Date:May 8, 2010



The Series

4/5



Take a crisis situation that often involves hostages or innocents being held at gunpoint, and you’ve got a job for the Strategic Response Unit (SRU) in the second season of the U.S.-Canadian (filmed in Toronto) co-production Flashpoint. An often gripping and sometimes even profoundly moving crime drama, the emphasis here is often on the heart rather than just on firepower or strategic maneuvering. Add in a strong cast of interesting character types led by one of the most comforting and ingratiating of character actors, and you’ve got a well done drama which CBS first brought to the TV screen as a summer filler series and has since used as a utility player when other first-run dramas have fumbled the ratings ball. Flashpoint grows on you and has only honed its craft and improved its quotient of bulls’ eyes in season two.



Enrico Colantoni stars as Sergeant Greg Parker, the negotiator at the head of the SRU. Team leader Ed Lane (Hugh Dillon) pretty much runs point in the various tense scenarios the SRU is given to handle. Also on the team are hotshot young rookie Sam Braddock (David Paetkau), coolheaded techie Mike “Spike” Scarlatti (Sergio Di Zio), reliable wingman Kevin “Wordy” Wordsworth (Michael Cram), and the team’s newest member, Donna Sabine (Jessica Steen), chosen to fill in for member Jules Callaghan (Amy Jo Johnston) who was shot during the cliffhanger ending season one. All are expert marksmen and are skilled at scaling buildings and repelling from great heights. With Greg’s firm but soothing command of negotiations between the police and the perpetrators with the weapons, situations might not always resolve themselves with everyone alive, but the satisfaction in knowing that everything was done that could have been done usually leaves each episode with a satisfying sense of closure. A haunting ballad on the soundtrack usually plays out the episode with a reflective coda.



The episodes revolve around a reliable and rather welcome formula. We begin each program at the peak moment of climactic confrontation between the police and those they’re in communication with. The scene then goes back several hours to show us how circumstances accelerate to bring us to the tense standoffs we are faced with at the beginning of the episode. From that point, anything can happen, and the resultant action usually leads to some quiet moments of discussion between one or more members of the squad. During this second season of episodes, there are standoffs involving mortgage forfeiters, robbery gone wrong, home invasion/child abduction, internet bank robbery, school shootings, a suicide pact, and gang retaliation. The actors are all solid players, but Enrico Colantoni, whose rock solid gentility has grounded many a film and television program, stands out as the team’s MVP. Hugh Dillon is also given several spotlight episodes and rises to the occasion each time, particularly in the season finale.



Here are the nine episodes which make up the second season contained on two discs:



1 – Business as Usual


2 – The Fortress


3 – Clean Hands


4 – Aisle 13


5 – The Perfect Family


6 – Remote Control


7 – Perfect Storm


8 – Last Dance


9 – Exit Wounds


Video Quality

4/5



The program is presented in 1.78:1 and is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Sharpness is usually very vivid and impressive with these transfers though there are occasional soft scenes. There are minor problems with aliasing and occasionally, flesh tones take on a chalky appearance though color values are usually very solid. Each episode has been divided into 7 chapters.



Audio Quality

4/5



The discs offer both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 stereo surround sound. The 2.0 track may be the slightest bit louder, but the discrete 5.1 track is surprisingly active for a relatively low budget series such as this one. The music score is quite immersive and during high speed chases and when there is gunplay, split surround effects are very noticeable and welcome.



Special Features

2/5



All of the bonus featurettes are presented in nonanamorphic letterbox.



“Stunts” finds stunt coordinator Randy Butcher discussing some elaborate stunts for several season one episodes. This runs 3 ¾ minutes.



“Weapons” spends 3 ½ minutes with several of the actors and producers of the show describing the weapons boot camp the team was put through to make them more realistic in handling the weapons on the show.



“Hugh Dillon: ‘Works Well with Others’” has the show’s co-star Hugh Dillon discussing his singing and songwriting career followed by a music video of “Ten Feet Tall.” The featurette runs 4 ¼ minutes.



There are promo trailers for the CBS procedurals, Twin Peaks, and Star Trek on Blu-ray.



In Conclusion

3.5/5 (not an average)



The second season of Flashpoint may have been only nine episodes in content, but the stories are gripping, the action palpable, and the emotions free flowing and generally involving. Even with only mediocre extra content, the DVD box set shows the series in a fine light.





Matt Hough


Charlotte, NC


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