Blu-ray Review: Standoff

By , Contributor
Laurence Fishburne and Thomas Jane star in Standoff, a direct-to-video thriller that scores points for attempting something all-too-uncommon in the genre these days: subtlety. After preteen Isabelle (Ella Ballentine), better known by her nickname Bird, witnesses a hooded hitman (Fishburne) disposing of victims at a cemetery, she naturally flees the scene. She holes up at the nearest farmhouse, owned by Carter (Jane) and his wife Mara (Joanna Douglas). Hitman Sade finds the house and that's where the film's title comes into play. Most of the 86-minute film depicts a battle of wills as Sade and Carter try to psyche each other out, waiting for each other to come out into the open in order to get a clean shot.

For a movie like this to really work, we'd need Sade and Carter to be fully-developed, endlessly-fascinating characters. As conceived by writer-director Adam Alleca, however, neither man is really all that interesting. Fishburne gets the showier role and he occasionally indulges in a bit too much scenery chewing (he lays the corn-pone accent on a bit thick, too). Jane is more restrained, allowing us to feel the pain of a father who lost a young son to a careless accident. He's taken Bird under his wing, subconsciously seeing her as a second chance at being a good dad. Luckily Ballentine projects old-soul wisdom as the young photographer Bird, making her more than a typical 'kid in distress.' She lost her parents (hence the cemetery visit that opens the film) and has seen her share of heartache.

Standoff isn't a bad way to kill some time if you don't have any better viewing options. While it's admittedly no great shakes, as the DTV market is concerned it's not bad either. Lionsgate's Blu-ray offers a standard (but effective) 1080p transfer and a similarly solid DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix. As for supplements, there's a short EPK featurette. The Blu-ray package includes a Digital HD copy.

 
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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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