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DVD Review HTF REVIEW: A Show of Force (1 Viewer)

Scott Kimball

May 8, 2000

A Show of Force

Studio: Paramount

Year: 1990

Rated: R

Length: 92 Minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: None

S.R.P.: $14.99 USD

Release Date: December 7, 2004

A Show of Force is a fictionalized account of an actual event that took place in Puerto Rico in the summer of 1987. Two terrorists were shot by police while trying to sabotage a communications tower.

Was it a case of thwarted terrorism - a good job by local police? Or, was it a government backed, politically motivated assassination of student activists who sought to harm noone?

A Show of Force is a taught political thriller loosely based on the events of this summer day, and on the political fallout that would eventually follow.

Amy Irving is Kate Melendez, the television reporter who stumbles upon the story of her career - which becomes the story that could end her career. The entire story unfolds through her eyes as powerful forces conspire to stop her from discovering the truth. Robert Duvall is the producer at her television station. Lou Diamond Phillips is an undercover cop involved in the coverup, who may have connections with the FBI. Kevin Spacey is an FBI agent with questionable motives.

This film is well directed and acted - however, most of the characters were created for this fictionalized account of the events. Whether one believes the conclusions of the film may depend on your knowledge of the politics of the time and place, and what political persuasion you may be a part of.

While one may call into question the events as the film portrays them, it is hard to argue the fact that the film is an interesting, and mildly compelling, political thriller.

The Transfer
A Show of Force is brought to you in an anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The print is in adequate shape, displaying a bit of dust. Noise or grain are occasionally visible in darker areas.

While the image isn’t razor sharp, the detail is adequate, with some scenes sharper than others. There is no overt evidence of oversharpening, though a sharp eye may spot an occasional mild halo under just the right circumstances.

Contrast is good, with acceptable detail in the shadows along with generally bright and clean whites. Color seems accurate, with good saturation.

The sound is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. It isn’t an overly active mix, but there are nice hints of ambient noise from the surrounds throughout the film, and more forceful kicks when needed. Low frequency effects are okay, but not powerful. Dialog is always clear and easy to understand, and music sounds nice - making use of a full range of frequencies.

Given that this is a political thriller relatively light on action, this is a pretty solid mix for the subject matter.

Special Features
There are no special features.

Final Thoughts
A Show of Force is an interesting political thriller for those who like the genre - certainly not top in its class, but a solid outing. The transfer is adequate for a catalog release.


Senior HTF Member
Oct 22, 2001
As a Kevin Spacey fan, this was a must for me. Got it a few days ago but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. Sounds pretty good. Too bad no extras are to be found, not even a trailer. But oh well.

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