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REVENGE: DIRECTOR'S CUT

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Kevin Costner, Anthony Quinn, Madeline Stowe, Miguel Ferrer, John Leguizamo, Sally Kirkland
Director: Tony Scott
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Sony Home Entertainment
Features: See Review
Length: 100 Minutes
Release Date: May 8, 2007

ďPerhaps we both deserve to die.Ē

Film ***1/2

Revenge is a film that is even more brutal than its title suggests. At the time of its release, the film was indeed a standout on the resume of director Tony Scott, who up until that had made two consecutive action movie blockbusters with Top Gun and Beverly Hills Cop II. This was a step in a completely darker direction, and the brutal nature of this film would help pave the way for such future films from Scott as True Romance and Man on Fire.

Speaking of Top Gun, Iíve always appreciated the tricky opening of the movie. Itís an engaging lengthy sequence involving a cocky navy fighter pilot taking to the skies. But Michael J. Cochran (Kevin Costner) is not trying to prove himself; heís just testing his skills for one last time. After 12 years in the navy, Cochran is retiring to enjoy a simple life.

I like the opening scene because, aside from Scottís ingenious ways of aerial photography and use of intense sound, you think for a second that you are in for another traditional Tony Scott movie, when the fact of the matter is nothing could be further from the truth. Revenge has a far more darker and gripping story up its sleeve. And with Scottís eye for astonishing visuals, the experience is even more remarkable.

Cochranís initial plans upon leaving the navy include heading down to Mexico to visit an old friend of his. That friend happens to be a ruthless billionaire named Tibey (Anthony Quinn), whose life Cochran once saved while on a hunting trip. Ever since then the two have become the closest of friends, enjoying hunting get-togethers as well as matches on the tennis court.

What Cochran doesnít count on seeing is Tibeyís beautiful new wife, Miryea (Madeline Stowe), upon arriving at his friendís estate. Her beauty catches his attention, but he would never think of betraying his friend. After all, many of Tibeyís associates are ruthless killers and henchmen, so heíd be insane to even think of messing around.

But the more Cochran is around Miryea, the more their attraction for each other grows. The attraction is so intense; the consequences of their actions donít seem to bother them in the slightest. Before long, Cochran and Miryea are intimately involved, sneaking behind her husbandís back for some steamy rendezvousí.

During a romantic getaway to Cochranís cabin, the two are suddenly caught in the act by Tibey and his henchmen. What follows is a scene of unbelievable and harsh brutality. He has his men beat Cochran within an inch of his life. In the end, Cochran is unrecognizable due to the bloody pulp heís been reduced to.

But what he has done to his wife is even more shocking. At least I havenít seen it done in any other movie. Seriously convinced that his wife enjoys being a whore, he sells her to a whorehouse. Tibey tells her coldly, ďIf you want to be a whore, you can be one for the rest of your life.Ē

Awakening after being left for dead, Cochran intends on getting back to Miryea, no matter how many men he has to kill to do so. At this point the film becomes something of a violent tragic western, echoing the great works of Peckinpah. And it leads to a conclusion that you may not expect, and thatís one of the more satisfying elements of the film.

Itís been a long time since Iíve seen the movie, so I canít really tell what all has changed in this new Directorís Cut. Itís been cut by 24 minutes, and ten minutes of new scenes have been put in the film. I can certainly tell that the sex scenes are bit steamier than before. All in all, the impact of the film hasnít changed with this new version.

Iíve always found Revenge to be an extremely underrated film, as well as one of the strongest films that Tony Scott has ever made. It blends in sex, violence and the dark elements associated with betrayal and revenge to create a film thatís difficult at times but altogether incredibly effective. If youíve happened to have missed out on this film, now is a better time than ever to discover it.

BONUS TRIVIA: The film happens to be a favorite of Quentin Tarantino, who hails it as Tony Scottís masterpiece!

Video ***1/2

Sonyís video presentation boasts a very impressive look for this new cut of the film. Tony Scott always delivers one memorable looking shot after another. His location shots in Mexico are something to be seen, to the point where the setting nearly becomes a character in itself. Some touches of grain are noticeable, but itís not the least bit distracting as there is much to appreciate in this clear and tremendously crisp anamorphic picture.

Audio ****

The 5.1 mix is a powerful one for sure! Some new music has been added for this version, but the entire film sounds nothing short of fantastic. Everything from dialogue delivery to music score to the intense scenes of violence blend to make this an incredibly effective piece of DVD audio.

Features **

Included is a nice commentary from Tony Scott, a brief but good enough featurette titled ďObsession: The Sex and Violence of RevengeĒ and a number of bonus previews for additional Sony titles.

Summary:

You wonít find a lot of happiness in Revenge, but you will find a dark and brutal thriller that is as effective as they come. If you can stomach the brutality, then you will want to discover this new Directorís Cut of a truly underrated and mesmerizing film!

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