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Reindeer Games

review by Justin Meyers


Rated R

Running Time: 104 Minutes

Starring Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron, Gary Sinise

Studio: Disney

Written by Ehren Krueger

Directed by John Frankenheimer


Retail Price: 29.99

Features: Theatrical Trailer, Audio Commentary with John Frakenenheimer,

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Standard, 5.1 Dolby Digital English, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Captions, Chapter Search

"Don't play no Reindeer Games with me"

Red-hot Hollywood stars Ben Affleck and Charlize Theron team up with Gary Sinise in this action-packed story of high-stakes crime and deception! Upon release from a stint in prison, Rudy (Affleck) impulsively decides to pose as his old cell mate Nick in order to make time with Nick's beautiful pen pal, Ashley (Theron). But Rudy's ruse blows up when he realizes that Ashley was double-crossing Nick…and now he's inescapably part of an armed robbery plot being hatched by her dangerously evil brother (Sinise)! Also featuring Clarence Williams III, Danny Trejo, and Dennis Farina - don't miss this intensely entertaining, nonstop movie thrill ride! (Editor's Note: Off the box again, in case you were wondering.)

You haven't lived until you've seen Santa Claus firing a gun and robbing a casino. This is a great movie that will make you think and keep you on the edge of your seat. I'm telling you if you like big blockbusters with lots of action, this is the movie for you. It has gunfights, explosions, prison riots, and lots of plot turns. This plot is complicated! It takes one plot twist after another, and each twist needs to be explained to the characters and even to the audience.

In spite of that I think this movie was cleverly written and stylishly directed. I am a huge fan of Ehren Kruger, who has written Arlington Road and Scream 3. He has proven to be a big asset to Dimension Films and proves that he has what it takes to make it in Hollywood. The director John Frankenheimer is a great director. He has made some of the best crime films from the past 40 years and it looks like he feels right at home here.

Gary Sinise is one of my all time favorite actors. With Christopher Walken he makes the best bad guy. His style and presence just makes any movie better. I'm not a big fan of Ben Affleck but I seem to like every movie he's been in, excluding that awful Good Will Hunting (my opinion of course). The new Jack Ryan seems to be big right now and seems to be picking the right scripts. Charlize Theron is gorgeous is this film, and it looks like she likes to show off her body. There is a sex scene in this movie, which is just spectacular. Not to be too much of a pervert but if that isn't a reason to pick up this movie, I don't know what is.


Buena Vista Home Entertainment have given us a 16X9 enhanced widescreen transfer of Reindeer Games, and presented the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The disc also contains a full screen version that is heavily cropped on all sides, why they would do this is unknown since almost every DVD enthusiast loves widescreen and widescreen alone, but I'm sure someone out there must like pan and scan. The predominant color of this film is white, since almost every scene involves snow, and it comes off nicely.

This is caused by John Frankenheimer's design. He wanted a dull, muted, and bleak look to the film. That's not to say that it is dull looking but only that's the way it's supposed to be. There is great color balance and excellent contrasts. The whole transfer is very clean without any smear, grain, or compression artifact. The detail found on this transfer and the source print is beautiful. The picture quality is perfect. It really shows how great a movie can look when given the right care and time devoted to a new DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack for Reindeer Games sounds great and is just as impressive as the video. It is very active with good use of surrounds for sound effects and directional movement, and gives you an aggressive movie experience. The dialogue sounds great with movement and clarity, it is never drowned with the gunfire or explosions and is always understandable. The soundtrack really has a natural quality and gives the film the realism it needs. The sound really compliments the story and makes this DVD even better. The best example of the sound is at 1:35:23, you will know how great the sound of this movie is when you listen to the big explosion.

There are a few great extras with this non-special edition DVD of Reindeer Games. There is the ever popular with me Theatrical Trailer. As soon as I saw this trailer I knew this would be one great movie, that I would have to see.

There is a 6-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that doesn't give you too much information about the making of the movie, as it does give you the cast's reaction to the story and to the director. It is nice to see but isn't that great of a featurette.

The best extra is the audio commentary by John Frankenheimer, the director. He does pause quite a few times but all together it's a pretty good commentary. He lets us know about some of the plot points and how he filmed some of the scenes. He did go on and on about the cast and about how great it was to work with them. He gives a lot of insight about this movie and I loved hearing about them. This commentary makes this DVD even better. There is a forced trailer for Scream 3, which was written by the same man who wrote this film.

This is one great movie and a great DVD. I really liked it and I hope you're able to buy it too. I didn't give it a perfect score, due to some of the complete unexpected twists and turns and they're a lot of inconsisties in this film. Other then that, it is a top-notch movie that deserves to be seen by someone, since it wasn't too big at the box office. I'm sure you'll thank me later and have a lot of fun with it.

(4.5/5, NOT included in final score)




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