As is the norm with titles NOT from Horror genre, I knew absolutely zilch about a new movie on Blu Ray simply called HIJACKED. I duly popped it in my faithful player and hit play. It was as the opening credits rolled that two words lingered on my screen which had me in a flux. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry… those two words? VINNIE JONES!!!
The underrated soccer player who gained notoriety for grabbing his opportunity in ‘TEAM GB’ (That’s ‘Gazza’s Bollocks’ in case you don’t know!) as Wimbledon played Newcastle, has evolved from the blue shirt of South London’s Crazy Gang to High Definition Blu Ray. Who’d have thought?
The movie starts with various new clips alluding to a terrorist organisation known simply as The Tribe. These guys don’t just want to blow up buildings; they want to rip the heart out of the actual world economy itself! Enter Joe Ballard (Vinnie Jones) an elite M16 agent who is currently on the trail of the infamous syndicate.
As Ballard is just about to score (sorry couldn’t resist it!) with a delectable guest at the suave cocktail party at the centre of the sting operation he gets a call. His fellow "tribe hunter" from the CIA, Paul Ross (Randy Couture) and it appears its game on (sorry again!).
After a chaotic shoot out (bullets not penalties!), Ballard gets an early bath as he takes a bullet in the back from no other than the sexy minx who wanted to play with his tackle moments earlier at the party. A quick moment of SHOCKINGLY BAD CGI and Ballard is dead. (Oh bollocks! You mean I must endure the rest of this macho clap trap WITHOUT Jones…?)
We now get introduced to billionaire businessman Bruce Lieb (Craig Fairbrass). It seems Lieb is under investigation himself for numerous counts of fraud. But playing the media is all part of the game. He answers a few questions before attending one of his generous charity gala events.
With Lieb about to jet off abroad Ross gets wind of The Tribe taking an interest in his multiple businesses. Ross advises Lieb not to fly but needless to say, the entrepreneur doesn’t heed the advice. The combination of a generous offer from Lieb as personal security for the flight and a hackneyed sub plot about Ross ex-fiance being on board, Ross straps in. What happens next…. Well the clue is in the title folks!!!
Ok so it was an obvious disappointment when Jones was disposed of way too early in the movie, but the manner in which he went was disgraceful. I have seen some pretty poor quality CGI in my time watching low budget horror but this was abnormally bad! I can understand that bullets to the face may warrant CGI over facial squibs. But do you REALLY need computers to replicate a pool of blood on the floor????
If the answer is YES, then please can you at least keep it stationary when the characters are walking over it! This red pixel puddle seemed to have a mind of its own as Ballard got the ole Red Card!
To be fair, the shoot outs after that point came across a lot more realistic even if the plot and storyline didn’t.
I knew little of Randy Couture before watching this and his performance made it obvious that he was another sports star turned ‘actor’. I am not saying he was bad but when you got the feeling he could have done with a lesson or two in how to act from Uncle Vinnie, you know an Oscar is not in the offing anytime soon!
The movie tried to promote itself as being more sophisticated that it ever could be rather than simply settling for being an all-out adrenaline rush. Yes, there were regular bouts of action and carnage, but even these were way too cautious not to overstep the lucrative 15 certificate threshold.
There was a twist at the finale which, at one point, worryingly looked like it was setting up a sequel, but a conclusion of sorts was thankfully reached!
Visually the disc is presented in 1:78.1 widescreen and cannot be faulted for clarity. This probably helped expose the CGI point I made earlier. But rather alarmingly, facial close ups seemed to convey a yellow tinge on the flesh tones. At one point I was convinced Ballard had the reflection of a yellow screen glaring back at him but no, it just seemed a fault with the colours.
The most grotesque thing about the disc was looking at Couture’s hideous swollen cauliflower ears in high definition! They are so bloated I thought they were going to explode in a mass of ear wax, puss and blood at one point. Wishful thinking I guess!
The real strong point, unsurprisingly, was the sound. A DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack delivers big time especially when the bullets start to fly as the rear speakers are really brought into play. There inevitable is some thumping music to accompany the mayhem so, for maximum effect; this is a movie that urges the viewer to crank it up!
Final thoughts obviously go back to Mr Jones. While he chases that elusive 007 role I bet he is laughing all the way to the bank with a steady stream of brain friendly roles such as Joe Ballard. One thing is for certain though; if Jones wants to be pictured with another handful of the Geordie Jokers nuts he had better hurry up. I mean Gazza’s liver isn’t going to hold out forever. Then again… there is always dodgy CGI I suppose…
Review by Marc Lissenburg
|Released by Anchor Bay|
|see main review|