HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:69
If you’ve read any of my reviews than you know that I’m an unabashed fan of action movies. I don’t care whether it’s a multi-million dollar blockbuster or whether it is a humble DTV flick. As long as they’re entertaining I’m all for it. “Gridlocked” isn’t the best of the best in terms of the DTV market, but it is by no means a horrible movie either. Cookie cutter action sequences and wooden side characters are a staple, but Dominic Purcell is always a fun character to watch as he beats people up. The film manages to rise above the hundreds of drek action films that surface each year, and while it cannot be one of the big boys, I enjoyed myself enough to sit back with a beer and watch it again given the chance.
It’s never FULLY explained why Officer David Hendrix (Dominic Purcell) is no longer working as a special SWAT operative, but here he is, busting punks heads and giving tickets in the meantime. To make matters worse, disgraced action movie star and snot nosed brat Brody Walker (Cody Hackman) is put under his custody as a walkabout trying to regain some of his public opinion after some drunken escapades. Showing Brody some of the ropes, David brings the down and out actor to his old secret training facility where his old squad is training some recruits. As luck would have it the facility is besieged by unknown forces looking for hidden government secrets that are locked down in the basement. With no way out and limited forces, David and his old crew (along with the very annoying Brody Walker) are forced to hunker down and wait out the night.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=72457[/img]As I said before, “Gridlocked” is nothing new in terms of action plot. We’ve seen it all before and many of the sequences play out like clockwork. We get to see that David was not JUST a police officer, but was actually belonged to the paramilitary squad that has besieged the place, and actually served under their commander (played by Stephen Lang). Much like Steven Seagal’s normal roles, he’s the big bad boy who can take on half the squad himself when necessary. Except unlike Stephen Seagal, Dominic Purcell actually looks like the part in his older age, instead of like an overstuffed marshmallow in fatigues, *cough*Seagal*cough*. The acting is really just the standard DTV acting for the most part. Every one of the elite police squad are cookie cutter B list actors that do their job decently enough, albeit a bit woodenly. The only real standouts are Dominic Purcell, Stephen Lang, and a few small bits with the always fun Vinnie Jones and an aging Danny Glover (who makes a bit of a crack at his old “Lethal Weapon” days by using his ‘I’m too old for this…” line).
Action is actually not half bad, with some decent choreography for the gun and fist fights. When the trailer mentions brutal violence they weren’t kidding either. For a generic action film I wasn’t expecting all the stabbings, squirting arteries and blown up bodies that we are privy to in the film. While it wasn’t as well done as a “Bourne” or “Die Hard” film, the action was really what kept the movie fun, as there was just enough to keep the audience engaged, and not so over the top that they end up feeling overwhelmed and back once again to being bored.
Rated R for language and strong brutal violence throughout
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=72465[/img]“Gridlocked” comes to Blu-ray with a usually exceptional Blu-ray encode in the 2.39:1 scope aspect ratio. I say usually because the image is a really nice and clean looking image for the most part, but there is some copious use of banding throughout the dimly lit picture. The film is shot on the cheap with digital cameras, and looks like most digitally shot DTV films. Glossy, clean detail throughout and seems to be graded with a heavy use of concrete gray for the overall color tones. Some primaries seep through, such as deep maroon for the blood, or a few instances in the grassy outdoors, but primarily the image is grey, leaving skin tones looking pasty and desaturated. Contrast is a bit low at times, but the black levels are normally satisfactory. Well, except for the tons of banding that shows up in just about every other scene. The movie is bathed in darkness, and as you guessed it, the banding likes to show up in the dark. Had it not been for the banding the image detail and clarity was enough for a 4/5 rating, but sadly it was pretty egregious.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=72473[/img]Now the 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio, on the other hand, is quite a lot of fun. Aggressive, loud and full of big booms and explosions, it is easily the highlight of the entire package. Dialog is strong and clean, except for Dominic Purcell and his incessant use of a growling voice that is almost “Vin Dieselish” in nature. Gunfire is impressive and adds a lot of the LFE use in the film, with M4 carbines lighting up the soundstage with a nice immersive tone. Since they’re all huddled down in a sort of bunker for most of the movie there’s not a whole lot of extra ambient noises to replicate, but the sounds of chairs scraping on the floor, or a boot crunching on broken glass is appropriately supported. It’s a straight forward action track, but one that does so with enough authority and nuance to have me nod my head in approval.
• Deleted scenes
• Blooper Reels
• Making of Gridlocked
• Inside the Action
“Gridlocked” is not going to win any academy awards, or even be hailed as a great action movie, but it still is solidly entertaining. It brings the goods in terms of blood, guts and guns with the right amount of heavy duty action oriented audio to make it entertaining. The DTV world is awash with garbage action movies that should never see the light of day, but “Gridlocked” is not one of them either. The choreography is solid enough, and while most of the background cahracters are cookie cutter or annoying as all get out, Dominic Purcell’s imposing figure makes for a good action hero. Worth a rental if you enjoy a good mindless action film.
Starring: Dominic Purcell, Stephen Lang, Cody Hackman
Directed by: Allan Ungar
Written by: Rob Robol, Allan Ungar
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 114 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: June 14th 2016
Buy Gridlocked On Blu-ray at Amazon
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