Written by: Michael Den Boer on April 30th, 2007
Theatrical Release Dates: USA, 2001
Director: Alvin Ecarma
Cast: Cash Flagg Jr., Pat Williams, Andrew Hewitt, Frank Pather, Patrick Collins
DVD released: November 28th, 2006
Approximate running time: 70 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Unearthed Films
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
A gangster named Jack is forced to betray is best friend a hit-man named Savitch. They kill Jack’s wife and threaten to kill his son next if he doesn’t help them trap and kill Savitch. A failed a hit has come back to haunt Savitch years later. Will Jack keep his end of the barging and deliver savages head on a platter or will Savitch see through this charade that has been concocted for him?
Lethal Force takes the very straight forward plot revenge and throws in a few of the genres best assets marital arts, bullet ballet and a star that looks very similar to Bruce Lee. Lethal Force may only be a mere seventy minutes long and yet there is so much that happens that it almost feels like more time has passed. The action sequences in the film are over exaggerated in the way the staged and especially the way the sound effects play out when someone is hit. This is one of the films many charms as is cleverly and effortlessly pays homage too all the great exploitation genres of cinema’s past.
It is mind-blowing just how much was achieved on the films minuscule budget which was reportedly about $50,000. The acting while it may never win anyone of these performers an academy award it is pitch-perfect for the film and its send up the action genre. Also a lot of credit has to go to director Alvin Ecarma. My favorite moment is the film is of course the montage sequence which features a very brief homage to John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow where money is being used to light a cigarette. The character that stuck out most for me was Cash Flagg Jr. and one can only hope that he makes many more action films. Ultimately Lethal Force is an adrenaline ride that kicks ass and takes no prisoners along the way.
Lethal Force is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. The film was shot on 16mm at a very modest budget. Colors love vibrant and flesh tones look natural and faithfully reproduced. There are no problems with artifacts or compression and print damage is minimal. Overall despite the limits of the source material the transfer looks really good.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. dialog, effects and music sound robust and evenly balanced. There are no problems with distortion or any other sound defects.
Extras for this release include a trailer for Lethal Force and other titles also available on DVD from Unearthed Films. Also included is an extensive photo gallery loaded with behind the scenes stills, a gallery with production art and a very gallery of stills of action figures based on the characters from the movie (I want the Cash Flagg Jr. action figure). Other extras include three of the director Alvin Ecarma’s short films. The first one is titled “My Dog Has a Cyst” and the title thoroughly reveals what the plot is about. The second short is titled “Me!” and the plot for this one is a man played by Cash Flagg Jr. lips syncs to the dialog playing during a trailer titled Ghetto Freaks. The third short is titled “A Conversation” which is a story about two friends one who thinks he is a superhero and he always solves problems with violence while his friend the hippy believes all conflict can be resolved with discussion. “A Conversation” is the best of the three and “Me!” is the most entertaining. Rounding out the extras is an audio commentary with director Alvin Ecarma and he is joined by Kent Bye, Eric Thornett and Danny Fielding. The commentary is lively with all participants readily revealing how they did effect, why a locations and so much more.
For this review the director also sent a second DVD which comes with extras not included on the Unearthed DVD release. Extras include six minutes of audition footage, seven minutes of behind the scene footage and a trailer that ends with a slightly different and more humorous ending. The remaining extras are two shorts one titled “The kindest Cut” and the other titled “You’ve come a Long Way.” All this extra content is entertaining and well worth checking out if you can get your hands on a copy.
Unearthed Films gives it a solid DVD release that fully showcases the film in all of its glory, highly recommended.
For more information about Lethal Force visit Unearthed Films here.