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Review of William Baldwin's Double Bang

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Review of William Baldwin's Double Bang

Old 03-10-02, 11:05 AM
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Review of William Baldwin's Double Bang

Double Bang (DVD)

By Brian Jacks

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At last, the two Baldwin clans unite as one.

Yes, it’s true, from Artisan and the director of One Good Cop, comes Double Bang, the film that stars not only William Baldwin, but Adam “No Relation” Baldwin as well. Toss Jon Seda into the mix and you’ve got yourself a party. Can it get any better than this? Well…yes.

Double Bang tells the story of Billy Benson (William Baldwin), “an honest cop…forced to enter a dark world of murder and corruption when his partner (Adam Baldwin) goes bad and begins doing business with a smalltime mobster.” When Adam Baldwin’s character winds up dead, Benson takes it upon himself to avenge his partner’s untimely murder.

I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, how come nobody else has thought of this concept?” And if you are thinking that, hit yourself, because everybody has thought of this concept, probably even Martin Lawrence. The problem with basing a film on the overused “Cop Avenges Partner’s Murder” formula is that the only way it can succeed is if it’s in the hands of an extremely talented director with a fantastically powerful cast at his disposal. Double Bang has neither.

The promotional materials make much note of the fact that this is a product of Heywood Gould, the writer/director of One Good Cop. Well, ok, but I’ve never heard of One Good Cop, and looking at his resume I recognize approximately zero of his other films, although I may have seen his Fort Apache, The Bronx in a Bargain Bin. This by itself means nothing. But it’s not promising. And, as it turns out, it’s pretty illuminating, for less than a few minutes into the film the audience is confronted with the most horrible plot device known to man: the slow-motion flashback. Gasp!

Ultimately, Double Bang relies pretty heavily on flashbacks, throwing one after another at the audience. Occasionally you’re thrown so far back in time you wonder if the Flintstones are going to show up. Gould goes to great lengths to illustrate just how good friends Baldwin and Baldwin were, and gee whiz, wouldn’t you know Billy Benson served as best man at his partner’s wedding? Eventually the flashbacks lead up to a mobster, painfully overacted by Jon Seda, putting Adam Baldwin’s character on the payroll to look the other way.

The film features so many characters and subplots that it leaves the viewer wondering why Gould didn’t just pick one and run with it. Aside from tracking down the guy who actually pulled the trigger, Benson also seeks to bring down the man who ordered the hit, protect a witness, interfere in mob politics, and possibly solve the murder of a drug addict. Granted, they’re all connected, but it’s a bit much. The “protecting the witness” subplot is arguably the most cumbersome. A psychologist, played by Elizabeth Mitchell, is the only individual who can identify the man behind the murder of a dope dealer that only the audience and Benson knows is tied to the murder of Benson’s partner. So, of course, she’s in danger. And, of course, no amount of police security can thwart attempts on her life, for no less than twice is she nearly assassinated in her apartment, only to be comforted by Benson. Is she a love interest for him? Do police detectives typically take witnesses out to bars late at night and talk about their love lives? Who knows.

It’s a shame the dialogue, plots, editing, and direction is so bad, because William Baldwin is a genuinely good actor. No matter how many bombs he’s been in, one only needs to watch his emotional performance in Backdraft to know that this guy has talent. It’s too bad he can’t get a part that makes good use of his abilities. For what it’s worth, Adam Baldwin also tries his best, and while he comes off a bit stiff, in the hands of a better director Baldwin & Baldwin™ could have made for a good team.

The DVD is presented in 16:9 widescreen, and while the video quality is nothing to write home about, it gets the job done, even if it is a bit dark. There are two audio formats, Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo Surround, which would be nice if there was something exciting to hear. But there isn’t, so it doesn’t matter.

The disk contains a whopping two extras: the film’s trailer and cast bios. Sorry Heywood Gould fans, no commentary.

I find it vaguely amusing that “Digitally Mastered” is listed as one of the special features. At a time when even your kid’s high school graduation can be digitally mastered, hyping it on the DVD case as a “special feature” is a bit of a reach.

On an additional note, the blurb on the front of the DVD case states, “Two cops. Opposite sides of the law. The first one to die…loses.” That portrays an entirely different film making me wonder if the DVD production people even watched the movie. And forgive my logic, but doesn’t the first one to die always lose? It’s analogous to a Lord of the Rings blurb stating, “Four Hobbits: They go to sleep sometimes at night.”

With a contrived, boring and overall poor script, suffice to say the magic 8-ball on this one says, “Stay Away.”

-Brian Jacks

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