Unhinged Blu-ray Review

Like everyone, I’m sick of Hollywood churning out remakes and reboots of all our favourite films, why can’t anyone have an original idea anymore? So I approached Unhinged – a re-imagining of the classic Michael Douglas film Falling Down if you will – with a great deal of trepidation.

Ok, so it’s not quite that – but it is a 90’s throwback, B movie style action film directed by Derrick Borte and starring Russell Crowe’s Dad and Caren Pistorius who play either side of a cat and mouse game focussing on one man’s descent into violent revenge following a rather minor road traffic incident.

The premise, style and even the title of the film remind me greatly of a 90’s action film which could have starred one of the big names of that era.  You can just imagine the end of the trailer where a baritone voice utters ‘Jean Claude Van Damme is… Unhinged’ or ‘Steven Seagal is… Unhinged” or in this case ‘Russell Crowe is… Unhealthy’.

The guy who ate Russell Crowe does angry and surly pretty well, but this is all he does in this film and we never really feel anything but contempt for this obvious psychopath.  At least Michael Douglas had humour in Falling Down and we felt a bit of sympathy for a mans struggle with everyday life, whereas Crowe is just an out and out psychopath with zero redeeming qualities, encompassed in anger and darkness.

Caren Pistorius does a reasonable job as the unlucky person on the receiving end of Crowe’s rage, but you can’t help but think some of her choices were bizarre, not helped by what can only be described as one of the most inept police departments in modern film.

Tropes and cliches are laid on thick, Crowe is impervious to gunshots and car crashes, batteries on tablets die at the most unfortunate moment and there are obvious ‘come back to haunt you’ moments like the son questioning his Mum with ‘You don’t password your phone?’, I won’t give out prizes for guessing what happens to that phone.

Despite this negativity, one thing this film does well is it’s pacing, it’s only an hour and a half long and it’s pedal to the metal right from the word go, including the opening credits which could have been a ‘car crash epic fail’ video on Youtube.  This pacing suits a film with this much lack of depth and subtlety and it’s all-out action manages to hold the viewer’s entertainment level for most of the film.

For a bit of mind-numbing gore, action and base level acting, it’s a moderately enjoyable ride. There’s even a Schwarzenegger style one-liner before the final kill, just like they did in the ’90s.  You won’t get bored during this film, but your eyes may hurt from the rolling.

Somewhere in this review, I need to mention the beautiful rendition of the Blue Oyster Cult classic Don’t Fear the Reaper which is performed by the duo Keep Shelly In Athens and played over the end credits.  This doesn’t necessarily enhance the film in any way but it’s a lovely haunting electro-pop version of the song which deserves to be on a better film, but in this film, it’s the best thing.  

Incidentally, I watched this film with my partner who’s one-word review of the film was ‘ridiculous’.  I agree, but I also have a word count to adhere to.

Andrew Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

November 2020