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DANGEROUS MEN (BLU RAY) (2005)
Published by David Carter on 2016/6/12 (292 reads)
Directed by John S. Rad
Review by David Carter
Released by Drafthouse Films
Running Time: 80 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Mono English
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Standard definition and digital copies, sixteen page booklet, commentary track, documentary, interviews with director and DP.
Trailer Online: Yes
The current state of the film industry poses a problem for fans of true outsider cinema. The days when an eccentric vanity project could secure a limited release in grindhouses and drive-ins are long gone (like those institutions themselves), and movie houses across the country are seemingly playing the same six films simultaneously at any given time. There are rare exceptions – like THE ROOM, America’s current reigning midnight movie – and trash cineastes cling to these films with rabid devotion, sometimes for what the works themselves are, but primarily for what they represent: a reminder of the days before the monolithic domination of the blockbuster.
The latest film to receive the blessing of the trash film cognoscenti is John S. Rad’s DANGEROUS MEN. After a brief release in LA theatres, DANGEROUS MEN took on urban legend status on message boards and outré film sites until a print was secured by Drafthouse Films and redistributed across the country a pre-packaged midnight movie. This inorganic method of cult classic creation is the mode du jour for bizarre cinema: save for a handful that saw it originally, everyone who has seen DANGEROUS MEN has done so because they knew it was a “bad film.” Being both an elitist and a curmudgeon, I take issue with this practice, but then again no one asks for a curmudgeon’s opinion. I have always believed that presentation dictates perception to a large degree, and one cannot truly experience a work if they’ve been told in advance what to expect. But I digress.
DANGEROUS MEN is a dual-focused story pivoting on Daniel, a young man who dies very early on in the film. Daniel and his fiancée Mina are hassled by a pair of bikers on the beach, and Daniel stands up to them and kills one of the bikers but is killed himself for it. Mina cozies up to the surviving biker and goes with him to a seedy motel, but it was all an elaborate ruse to kill him. A changed woman, the previously meek Mina sets out across the country targeting men who prey on woman and leaving a trail of bodies in her wake.
Meanwhile, Daniel’s brother, super cop David, is working to track down the men responsible for Daniel’s death. The trail leads to a mysterious biker named “Black Pepper,” who runs a nation-wide criminal organization. Ordered not to pursue the case, David goes rogue and steps outside the bounds of the law to get information from local bikers to help find Black Pepper, leading to a climactic showdown between the bikers and law enforcement at Black Pepper’s compound.
DANGEROUS MEN was filmed across two different decades and the dividing line between the two is extremely evident in both the visual qualities of the film and the narrative. Mina’s portion of the film is in the vein of the rape-revenge cycle prevalent from the eighties, and David’s half is purely early-nineties action trash. In more capable hands, the two sections could have been more closely aligned but here the juxtaposition is so sharp that it feels at times like a film-within-a-film. One can tell that Mina half was what DANGEROUS MEN set out to originally be and these scenes are more ably made, with the David portions filmed after the fact and much more hurriedly. Mina’s story emerges as the most intriguing in the end because much of it is left untold – or more correctly, unseen, since the resolution of her story occurs off-screen.
The David section of the film will be most enjoyable to fans of “bad film” since it is there that Rad’s film truly transgresses against film conventions. Gratuitous is the order of the day for everything from violence to flesh to over-acting. This portion is probably not as bad as you’ve been led to believe, but will still more than satisfy your desires for cheese.
Drafthouse Films’ Blu Ray /DVD/Digital copy of the film is excellent to the point of overkill. The presentation is on par with a Criterion release, as every imaginable bonus is included. Most enjoyable for bad film fans will is the documentary on the life of the film through the eyes of two men who saw the film during its original release as they trace it from box-office failure to cult success. DANGEROUS MEN is best enjoyed with a group of like-minded individuals, as the shared experience is the essence of a midnight movie.
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