HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: No Good Deed
HTS Overall Score:77
“No Good Deed” is one of those movies where you don’t really have any feelings whatsoever about the movie. It isn’t one that makes you dislike it, or even like it, but somehow just manages to EXIST. I saw the trailer in theaters and noticed that it starred Idris Elba, who is a personal favorite of mine, so I came into it with an open mind. While I wasn't horrified at what I saw, I have to admit that there wasn’t a whole lot of substance. The movie flowed smoothly, was excellently edited and has some great stars, but for some reason there just isn’t a lot of emotion or tension to the film. Which is most unfortunate since the movie is kind of, you know, a THRILLER.
Colin Evans (Idris Elba) has just served 5 years in a federal prison for a manslaughter charge and even is heavily suspected in the disappearance of 5 separate women. Denied parole for his 5 years spent, Colin is sent back to the clink for another 5 years only to facilitate an escape. Killing the officers who are transporting him, he jumps ship and visits his old girlfriend only to discover that she’s moved on. What made Colin so dangerous that he had to be locked up rises to the surface once more. Colin is an extremely intelligent guy, but he’s an egomaniacal narcissist who barely keeps control of a rage and level of misogyny that certainly justifies his incarceration. Killing his girlfriend, he flees the scene and ends up crashing his car in the storm that rages on that night. Stumbling away from the wreck he asks for sanctuary from the nearest house present.
Opening her door to a complete stranger, housewife (and ex Prosecuting Attorney) Terry (Taraji P. Henson) is face to face with a stranger. Falling prey to Colin’s charms, Terry lets the bedraggled man in under the pretense that he needs some help. Her woman’s instinct is telling her no, but the disarming nature of a person in need is hard to resist. Giving the man a dry set of clothes and some hot tea, things seem to go ok, but as the night goes on things start to not add up and Terry begins to suspect that the hapless man might be up to no good. Soon it’s a game of cat and mouse with Terry trying to protect herself and her family, and Colin’s tenuous hold on his emotions starting to dissolve under the pressure.
“No Good Deed” is a thriller that skates along that line of having not enough tension, especially for the 1st two thirds of the movie. There’s a lot of interesting back story, especially seeing how Colin portrays the dichotomy of being extremely intelligent and charismatic, but having that demon of anger lying just under the surface. The movie is shot fantastically and looks amazing on Blu-ray, even having some nice directing, but fails at actually grabbing ahold of the viewer and sucking them in. The script is clichéd and filled with a sort of cookie cutter nature that just plods along. I was never bored while watching, but I felt frustratingly distant from what was going on. Especially with the lack of energy and tension the script provided.
The saving grace of “No Good Deed” is in the form of Idris Elba. His exquisite depiction of Colin is the highlight of the film, breathing life into an otherwise direct to DVD thriller. Idris Elba is a giant of a man, towering over 6 feet tall and being built like a well put together machine, and just oozing with the intimidation that such a large man can bring to the table. That voice too. That gravelly and menacing voice that can barely disguise a British accent both charms you and turns your blood cold within just a few moments. When he gives his speech at the parole hearing and even when he’s introducing himself to Terry, the man seems as benign and kind as can be. However, all it takes is for you to look into his eyes to see the sheer brutality and rage that he can generate, a rage and fury that Idris is able to do with chilling ferocity. To add to the good points, there IS a twist at the very end. One that I didn’t see coming and added an extra layer to the film that was sorely needed. I will say that it almost came too late as the film spends the first 55 minutes going at a slower pace.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, menace, terror, and for language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=35625[/img]Sony does fantastic work with the technical specs for their day and dates, and “No Good Deed” won’t disappoint those of you expecting their standard excellent transfers. The 2.40:1 AVC encoded image looks almost flawless on Blu-ray. Colors are natural and clean, giving off a very neutral tone (a pleasant change from the ever stylistic choice of unique color grading’s done recently), filled with exquisite amounts of detail and clarity. The film is very obviously shot digitally and the movie is squeaky clean and clear. Terry’s house is filled with beautiful furniture and Knick knacks common to a home and you can see the lines and details of everything, including the ornately carved furniture pieces. There is just a lifelike quality to the film needs to be seen to be believed. The outside is pretty much dark at all times, but there is still plenty of shadow detail in the inky blacks for all of us to marvel. HOWEVER, there were a few scenes near the beginning where some black crush happened, right when we first have Terry and Colin meet, but soon clears up, basically making it a NEAR perfect transfer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=35633[/img]Sony has decided to give us not one, but two lossless DTS-HD MA tracks, with both an English and a Spanish option for the viewer to choose from. Since I don’t speak Spanish I’m focusing on the main English track and I can tell you that this is one incredibly immersive track. The movie is set during a storm, so the crackling of the lightning and the rumbling of thunder dances around all 5.1 channels, hovering in the background and then popping up front as the storm shifts and wails on for the night. There are a million little creaks and groans from a home flexing under the power of a stormy night and all channels are filled with shifting nuances that just make you feel as if the storm is raging right outside your window. LFE is deep and powerful, adding some serious weight to the storm’s power, and livens up the more tense sequences with that thriller soundtrack. It’s a very well done track and one that really adds a sense of tension to the movie, a tension that the script may have lacked. Bravo Sony, bravo.
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“No Good Deed” is one of those movies that really isn’t bad, but isn’t good either. It just IS, if you know what I mean. There’s some fun scenes in the little thriller, but too much happens too late in the game and the tension never really gets up there to where you fear for Terry’s life. You know the general outcome from the minute the movie starts and you aren’t let down in your guess. The twist at the end was actually kind of unexpected and definitely a pleasant surprise. The movie isn’t a must buy by any means, but does make for a decent rental on a stormy night, especially considering how good the audio and video is for this release.
Starring: Jason Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Bibb
Directed By: Sam Miller
Written By: Aimee Lagos
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DD 5.1
Runtime: 84 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 6th 2015
Buy No Good Deed Blu-ray on Amazon
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