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Kiss The Girls

review by Ren C.

Rated R

Studio: Paramount

Running Time: 117 minutes

Starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd

Screenplay by James Patterson and David Klass

Directed by Gary Fleder

Retail Price: $29.99

Features: Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital English 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search

At its heart, "Kiss the Girls" is a first-rate thriller movie. This movie almost seems like a hybrid between the modern genre of thrillers like "Seven", and the classic film noir genre. I enjoy a great detective story, and this certainly lives up to that description. The plot is top-notch, there is a fine cast of actors and everything throughout the movie just seems to gel.

The movie begins in Washington, DC, with Dr. Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman), a forensic psychologist investigating a case when he finds out that his niece has been kidnapped. He calls in a few favors and is able to serve as a consultant on the case in Durham, North Carolina, where there is someone attending school. Once he arrives, he finds out that this is not a freak incident, but rather part of a string of serial kidnappings. The police there are baffled as to what is going on, and remain baffled when they find one of the serial killer's victims. The killer, referring to himself as "Casanova", has raped the girl, tied her up to a tree and left her to die.

Police are at a loss of what to do when the next kidnapping takes place, involving Dr. Kate McTiernan (Ashley Judd). Kate manages to free herself, and quickly becomes closely allied with Cross, and the two must together figure out who the killer is, and where he is, before it is too late for a certain someone and the other girls that have been kidnapped. The result will take them from coast to coast, and from suspect to suspect before arriving at the final, and surprising conclusion.

While on the surface, the plot may sound somewhat simplistic, it is anything but, with enough twists and turns to stock four movies. Just when you think that you are getting a handle on what is going on in the movie, the plot thickens, so to speak. Also a major credit to the movie is the very talented cast. Morgan Freeman, as always, is stellar in his role, as is Ashley Judd playing the "woman-in-jeopardy" part that she has perfected.

The movie also has a very interesting vibe to it, a horror movie that really isn't, although thriller seems too mild to describe it. When I say it is unlike anything that I had seen before, that is a definite compliment.

Released in 1998, this was one of Paramount's earlier efforts into the medium, and while the transfer is not pristine, it still stands up very well. The movie had an overall dark tone to it, and the transfer reflects this when appropriate, with deep, rich blacks. In the light scenes, again, as appropriate, the colors are very vibrant. I did notice several blemishes on the transfer, however, bringing the score down a few notches.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix here is very good. A few scenes in particular stand out, including one where a car skids along the roadway, seeming like it is going from one corner of the room to the other. Dialogue is never overshadowed, however, and the score is subtle, yet noticeable.

There is nothing quite like the Paramount bare bones disc. This disc includes nothing but a theatrical trailer, which actually is quite good. However, this is definitely a movie that deserves a re-visit by Paramount in the feature, with some more features, really, of any kind.

This is a very, very good thriller movie, with a very, very average disc. While the movie is definitely worth owning, I am disappointed by the almost total lack of features. The video and audio do hold up, though, so since Paramount doesn't seem inclined to re-visit any of their older releases anytime soon, I'm going to go ahead and give this a recommendation.

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)




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