by Del Harvey
All scores will be settled. Guest starring Michael Madsen, Neal McDonough and James Russo. Coming to DVD March 6, 2007.
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The Press Release says: MTI Home Video, the largest independent home entertainment studio, along with their Studio Partner, Artist View Entertainment, will release the crime drama Machine on DVD March 6, 2007. The film is the first drama to be executive produced by the pair. Past productions include the horror films Arachnia, and Ice Queen, and the action films Backlash and The Vault.
The Story: Vic, an ex mercenary turned hardened criminal and his partner Frank survive in L.A.’s underground. They spend each day immersed in a cesspool of ruthless crime lords, dirty cops and desperate drug dealers. Their goal is simple… work both sides of the street and grab as much cash as possible. A fine idea until all factions are entwined in their plot and the result turns into a brutal earth-shattering explosion of evil versus evil.
What It Is: A weakly scripted action thriller from Michael Lazar, who stars and directs. He’s not very good at any of these, and apparently has enough money to hire the talent but not enough experience to put out a decent thriller. No stranger to the genre, MTI’s earlier Russo film, The Box, was a quality indie noir thriller and everything that Machine is not. But Lazar’s handiwork is evident throughout this film, which is riddled with flaws in logic and motive and weak dialogue.
Despite that honest but scathing critique, the three quality actors—Madsen, McDonough, and Russo—prove why they are worth their hard-earned pay by chewing up the scenery every time they enter the frame. McDonough, especially, gets to play a particularly nasty cop (well, it’s hard to tell, but we think he’s a cop) who bullies everyone, and makes us believe he can bully everyone. Fine work. Russo plays a thug who’s just plain mean, and makes us believe he’s just plain mean, in spite of the lousy dialogue he has to work with. And Madsen’s enigmatic charisma and finely tuned talent turns his otherwise dully written character into the centerpiece of the film. True actors all, and truly put to the test in Machine. This one is worth a DVD rental just for their performances, but most especially if you’re a fan.
The film stars Michael Madsen (Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2, Sin City, Reservoir Dogs), Neal McDonough (Flags of Our Fathers, Minority Report, Walking Tall), James Russo (Donnie Brasco, Open Range, My Own Private Idaho), Lisa Arturo (Bad News Bears, American Pie 2), and Michael Lazar (with Lazar also writing and directing).
The DVD is shown in full frame format, with audio filmmaker commentary, interactive menus, scene selection, cast biographies, trailers, and optional Spanish subtitles.
Del Harvey is a screenwriter, filmmaker, film teacher and film reviewer in Chicago.
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