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Pete Nessip is a Federal Marshall who, teamed with his brother Terry, is escorting criminal computer genius Earl Leedy to a new prison facility. Pete, Terry and Earl are on a jet en route to Earl's new lockup when terrorists attempt a daring hijacking. Terry is killed in an explosion aboard the plane, and suddenly Earl is missing. Pete discovers that a team of sky-diving outlaws, led by former DEA agent gone bad Ty Moncrief, have snatched Earl from his flight and spirited him away for a special raid on Washington D.C. Ty and his men intend to take advantage of an obscure rule in which the normally restricted airspace in Washington D.C. is open to parachute enthusiasts on July 4. Eager to avenge his brother's death and put both Ty and Earl behind bars, Pete recruits sky-diving expert Jessie Crossman to teach him how to infiltrate Ty's team of sky-bound criminals.
For more about Drop Zone and the Drop Zone Blu-ray release, see Drop Zone Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 11, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Gary Busey, Yancy Butler, Michael Jeter, Corin Nemec, Rex Linn
Director: John Badham
» See full cast & crew
Drop Zone Blu-ray Review
A flavorless Action film falls onto Blu-ray with a halfhearted release.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 11, 2010
i'm impressed...not with you.
1980s Director extraordinaire John Badham (Wargames, Short Circuit, Blue Thunder) tries his hand at a high-flying and technologically-centered Crime/Action hybrid picture that flops badly with every missed opportunity and clichéd character, the result an insipid, lazy, and most detrimental, dull picture that plods along with no sense of urgency, tension, humor, or excitement. Drop Zone -- so named for the target areas skydivers aim for when maneuvering about wind currents while attached to their parachutes -- delivers decent aerial photography but flounders on the ground, the picture offering practically no redeeming values or reason to watch beyond a few scattered minutes of skydiving material that, frankly, can be better enjoyed elsewhere and not attached to one of the 90's most forgettable films.
U.S. Marshals Pete Nessip (Wesley Snipes, Rising Sun) and his brother Terry (Malcolm Jamal-Warner) are tasked with escorting a high-profile and technologically-savvy inmate, Earl Leedy, (Michael Jeter) on a flight from Florida to Atlanta. In mid-flight, a group of heavily-armed thugs, led by former DEA agent and skydiving expert Ty Moncrief (Gary Busey, Point Break) execute a daring kidnapping mission to snatch Leedy at high altitude by blowing a hole in the plane's hull and skydiving out. In the mayhem, Pete's brother is killed, and later, a sorrowful Pete is relieved of his gun and badge until further notice. Nessip nevertheless pursues the idea that the criminals and Leedy survived the ordeal -- a notion contrary to the official police report -- and begins taking skydiving lessons from a woman named Jessie Crossman (Yancy Butler) in hopes of foiling Moncrief's 4th of July plot to skydive into Washington, DC and, with Leedy's help, steal data on DEA agents to sell to an unscrupulous drug kingpin.
There are only so many ways to declare just how putrid a movie Drop Zone truly is. A film that cost a cool $45,000,000 to make and grossed less than $29,000,000 at the domestic box office, audiences clearly saw through the film's routine construction, lifeless characters, invisible emotion, lack of cohesion, and surprisingly lackadaisical action. Drop Zone is nothing but a tired and routine Action movie given a different set of clothes, the tale of a cop tracking down a bunch of nefarious criminals in a world and within a subculture he's unfamiliar with being one of the oldest in the book. Despite a barrage of color and the promised allure of the skydiving sequences, the picture fails to elicit much of a response, the film's most energetic and exciting scenes not even enough to wake drowsing audience members. The action consists of a few gunshots, some yelling, running around, and a bit of daring skydiving, the latter the only thing that comes remotely close to breathing life into a picture that's on life support from the get-go and flatlined by the time the credits role. There are literally hundreds of Action movies and even plenty of direct-to-video Action flicks that are more engaging and memorable than this.
In true John Badham fashion, technology is at the center of the film's plot and is accompanied by plenty of beeps and blips, this time the humorously-dated technology being used by the criminal element to collect data on undercover DEA agents. It's not the antiquated terminals and cheap computer graphics that pull Drop Zone down; no, it's Badham's lifeless direction of a meandering plot that says "generic" in every frame. Every character is a walking cliché and the picture is littered with false emotion and subpar acting, but as to the latter, it's hard to fault people like Snipes and Busey when this is clearly little more than a payday for the actors. Few scripts are so devoid of any and all meaning as this one, and fewer still are this stale and lacking in purpose. Even the legendary Hans Zimmer phones it in and delivers a score that's as forgettable as they come, packed with cheesy guitar riffs that from the first note over the opening title sequences says "run away." As for any positives? Drop Zone is competently made for what it is; there are no glaring technical flaws to be found save for a few obviously phony backdrops, but that's like saying a two-week old donut looks good from a distance but proves not only unpalatable but completely inedible upon closer inspection.
Drop Zone Blu-ray, Video Quality
Drop Zone plummets onto Blu-ray with a middling 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer that's another one of those unfortunate transfers that looks good here and there but contains plenty of flaws that reveal themselves upon closer inspection. The image is generally vibrant, with colors so bright that they sometimes strain the eyes, for instance the bright blue seats on the doomed flight as seen near the beginning of the film. Drop Zone is an incredibly bright film with a wide array of colors, and for the most part, color reproduction is the film's strength. Detail, however, wavers; the image picks up the finer nuances in smaller objects in some scenes, but elsewhere, it looks flat and devoid of more than cursory details and basic shapes. The image looks a bit smoothed out but not completely detrimentally so early on, but the back half of the picture -- particularly its dark scenes -- feature an extraordinary amount of grain. Additionally, plenty of random artifacts and dirt cover the image and the film's darker climax goes inexplicably soft, a harsh contrast to the film's generally sharpened appearance. Fortunately, blacks are generally presentable, while flesh tones remain neutral shades throughout. All in all, Drop Zone doesn't look terrible, but videophiles will find plenty to nitpick about this release.
Drop Zone Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Drop Zone's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack, like the video, proves serviceable but hardly noteworthy. Dialogue comes across as slightly harsh and underdeveloped, unnatural and not blending with the rest of the track. The picture's sound effects are neither poorly realized nor exquisitely presented; everything has a generic, no-frills feel to it, from jet engines soaring off the runway to the rock-themed score. Action is certainly loud, far more aggressive in volume than dialogue-heavy scenes, and more sensitive listeners may find themselves scrambling for the remote on more than one occasion throughout. Discrete surround effects often play as forced and phony, and atmospherics are only partially convincing, coming across as jumbled and lacking in precision. Fortunately, some of the skydiving scenes fare better, the track sending hard gusts of wind through the soundstage and doing a good job of convincing the listener of hurtling through the sky, at least from a purely aural perspective. Gunshots as heard during the climax deliver a nice ricochet sound effect and a full back channel presence, and bass rumbles during several scenes to add a nice, hefty support structure to the track. All told, Drop Zone has its moments but, for the most part, this disc offers a fledgling, passable track that's about as good as the movie deserves.
Drop Zone Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Drop Zone plops onto Blu-ray with only one film-related extra, the Drop Zone theatrical trailer (480p, 2:05).
Drop Zone Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Drop Zone is a lazy sleeping man's picture with no redeeming qualities of note. A terribly bland script, a recycled plot, stale direction, lifeless acting, and a startling absence of action drag this movie down into the depths of obscurity where it's best left buried and forgotten. When even direct-to-video Action flicks have more to offer than this, it's a sign that it's time to bail, and the best time to give up on Drop Zone is before the movie even begins (forget "before it takes off," because this one never does anything more than lumber along the runway and slowly meander into some grassy side area before coming to a halt). Lionsgate's Blu-ray presentation is about what one would expect of a bad movie, the studio slapping the film onto a 25GB disc with an inconsistent but passable technical presentation and a tacked-on trailer. Truly, Drop Zone is one to avoid.
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Drop Zone Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - February 9th - February 9, 2010
Making his full-length feature directorial debut, Peter Billingsley (who will forever be known as "Ralphie" from A Christmas Story) couldn't have hopped for a better supporting team. On writing detail was popular funnyman Vince Vaughn and the driving force behind ...
• Lionsgate Brings Four Classic Action Films to Blu-ray - November 20, 2009
Lionsgate Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring the classic action films 'The Running Man', 'Hard Rain', 'Drop Zone', and 'The Phantom' to Blu-ray on February 9th. All four films, which feature performances by such action stars as Arnold Schwarzenegger ...
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