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Dawn Patrol - DVD Review

Title: Dawn Patrol


HTS Overall Score:60

I never knew that Clint Eastwood had a younger son in the acting community till about a year ago. Surprisingly enough I saw him in several older films like “Flags of our Fathers”, “Trouble with the Curve”, “Fury” and quite a few others. I just didn’t put two and two together till I saw the outline of his face on the cover and said to myself “moo cow! That looks like a young Clint Eastwood”! Glancing back over his career he’s had mild success with minor roles, but it hasn’t been till recently that he’s taken over as a leading man. After watching him flex his well chiseled pecs in “The Longest Ride” and now watching “Dawn Patrol” it’s easy to see why he’s only been in minor roles. The son of legendary film icon, Clint Eastwood, lacks much of the charisma and raw intimidation that made his father famous. He’s not a bad actor, but he just isn’t fantastic (or at least been given fantastic roles), struggling and straining to gain the spotlight as his father did once upon a time.

“Dawn Patrol” is really a jumbled mess of a movie, supposedly about a surfer turned marine with a terrible secret. The film opens with John (Scott Eastwood) stumbling upon the desert sands with an Arab looking woman covered in black holding a gun to his head. Told in the past, the story intersperses these “present” moments of John leading this woman to something that “he must SHOW her, instead of telling”. It seems that John and his brother, Ben (Chris Brochu) were just your average surfer kids on Venice beach. Hanging out with their friends, smoking weed and hitting on girl, the pair surf where they please and do what they want. Their father (Jim Fahey) is a drunken oaf of a man, and their washed up, pothead mother (Rita Wilson) exploits ben’s talent for surfing in order to squeeze money out of the boy. On the verge of getting out of town and finding something else in life to do, the boys run into a problem when Ben gets jealous of his ex and attacks her boyfriend Miguel, who happens to be part of a gang. Thinking that it’s all over with, Ben and John go back about their business, only for John to find Ben dead on the beach in a few days with evidence of Miguel having been near the scene of the crime.

In a very typical way, John grieves for his brother ben, and at the request of his deadbeat family, goes out and shoots Miguel for revenge. Unbeknownst to John, the mother and Ben’s girlfriend’s mother knew that Miguel wasn’t the shooter. Someone else had shot Ben, and it wasn’t on purpose. Realizing his mistake, John is overcome with grief and is ready to turn himself in. John’s father, not willing to let his son go just yet, sends him off to the Marines in an effort to clean the boy up and making something of himself (or something like that, motivations in this movie aren’t exactly the clearest). Years later, John has returned to face his past, and bear his soul to Miguel’s parents, and he may find out that revenge is something that has consequences far reaching beyond the initial event.

Uggggghhhh. What can I say about “Dawn Patrol”. It’s ugly, it’s nasty, it’s boring, it’s futile, it’s jumbled and confusing and most of all. It’s just plain forgettable. The story itself isn’t interesting, despite the brutal premise of murder, betrayal, revenge and pain. I LOVE dark movies, especially ones that end unhappily, but “Dawn Patrol” just “exists”. Basically I’m saying that there isn’t anything memorable enough in the 88 minute movie to keep my attention. I like to call these movies “watch checkers”, as you’re constantly checking your watch, wondering when it will be over. John, Ben, The father, the mother, Donna, Miguel, Mrs. Riviera, NONE of them leave a lasting impression at all. They’re unlikeable, unrelatable and just seem to stumble through the poorly written script hoping for the end of the shoot so they can pick up their paycheck. The writing itself is a HUGE stumbling block, with horribly stilted dialog, inane circumstances and some very cumbersome monologues that just wreak of “life lessons”, but never truly materialize past the mundane. It doesn’t help that the actors slept walk through the entire movie, with even the charming Rita Wilson turning in a completely phoned in performance.


Not Rated by the MPAA

“Dawn Patrol” is generally a very pleasing looking encode for a 480p DVD. With copious amounts of beach shots, the sun and sand sparkles in the light with plenty of fine detail to go around. When the film gets to the darker moments, the image still retains much of its luster, but suffers from some crushed blacks that keep it from being all it can be considering. Clarity is solid and contrast levels stay well within reason. The disc has some mild macroblocking, especially in the less lit scenes, but other than that the disc itself seems devoid of any overt compression or mastering issues. Colors are warm and bright, with solid color saturation, but I noticed some inconsistencies there, as certain scenes look a little drained of color and a tad flat. A good looking image, not perfect, but still quite good.

The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is adequate for the task at hand, as much of the film is nothing but dialog. Front heavy and devoid of a lot of surround activity, the experience is satisfying if not spectacular overall. Dialog can feel a bit strained, and the highs feel compressed just a tad as I noticed a hollow sound to some of the louder moments. Dialog is clear, but as I said, a teensy bit strained and panning across the front soundstage is surprisingly good as the sounds of the surf breaks across the beach in many a scene. LFE is strong, but never really that intense, giving some low end support, but not much more. Surrounds are nearly inactive, but do show up now and again to give some side support to the front soundstage. I wouldn’t rate this as a fantastic audio track, but it will satisfy quite nicely, and does what it’s asked to with only a few issues.


• Previews


I wanted to like “Dawn Patrol”, especially considering how much I love Clint Eastwood, but his son just doesn’t have the chops to be a leading man from what I’ve seen, and this low budget enterprise isn’t doing him any favors. I only wish to wash the taste of my mouth by watching a TRUE Eastwood movie tonight and making up for this miserable experience. As for the tech specs, the audio and video look quite good for a DVD, but the extras are just a handful of previews. Will I try to look for the good in every movie, I just couldn’t find much good here. I’d give it a pass.

Additional Information:

Starring: Scott Eastwood, Rita Wilson, Jim Fahey, Kim Matula
Director: Daniel Petrie Jr.
Written By: Rachel Long, Brian Pittman
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Studio: Alchemy
Rated: Unrated
Runtime: 88 Minutes
DVD Release Date: July 14th, 2015

Buy Dawn Patrol DVD on Amazon

Recommendation: Skip It

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