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Accidental Hero

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 114 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Hmm. It's hard to write about a film when it's neither great nor terrible, but simply.... is. Accidental Hero is one of those films. Pitched somewhere between a drama and a comedy, it ends up a little confused.

We're introduced to our 'hero', Bernie Laplante (Dustin Hoffman), as he's awaiting verdict in trial, and stealing money from his attorney's purse. Bernie's a small-time crook who deals in stolen goods, is divorced from his wife (Joan Cusack), and barely sees his son. During a terrible storm one night his car breaks down, and as he's trying to get help, an aeroplane crashes in front of him. Complaining bitterly, he forces the door open and saves passengers from the burning wreckage, then disappears as the plane explodes.

Geena Davis stars as Gale Gayley, a news reporter trapped in the plane whom Laplante rescues. Her TV station puts out a reward for the identity of the mystery hero, but Laplante is in jail when the announcement is made, and an imposter claims his reward.

The twist is that the imposter is actually a far purer, more decent person than the real hero, but the film is about 20 minutes too long and repeats itself often. I also didn't believe the motivations of some of the characters. If Bernie's such a terrible guy, why did his wife marry him? And if she dislikes him so much, why does she coming running after him when she thinks he's in danger? The film also falls into that classic script hole where a character knows something, but can't get it out because somebody else keeps interrupting them, which screams of lazy writing. Interesting, because the scriptwriter, David Webb Peoples, also had a hand in 12 Monkeys and Blade Runner.

Don't get me wrong - there's a lot of good things going on here. Chevy Chase has a great unbilled part as Gayley's boss, Dustin is as entertaining as ever (until he starts showboating), and Andy Garcia does a fair job as John Bubber, the homeless imposter, but the film fell short of being a classic for me.

  Video
Contract

A fine transfer here, but never truly stunning. Shadow detail is decent, but not the best I've seen; occasionally I felt like I was missing subtle details. Besides that, the anamorphic 1.85:1 image is very nice, with solid colour, respectable (but not quite reference quality) sharpness, and little in the way of film noise or artifacts. Looks like Columbia have delivered again.

  Audio
Contract

Oh, this is a little disappointing. While the disc has a reasonable Dolby Surround mix, I'm becoming very used to listening to 5.1 mixes, and the lack of a LFE channel was noticeable during the plane crash and explosion sequence. I had expected that a film from 1992 would have a 5.1 mix, but no luck. I prefer having this original mix over a crass remix, however (if that's not a contradiction!).

The Pro-Logic track we do get is fairly standard, with subtle surround envelopment but no rear standout use of the surround speakers. However, the dialogue, foley effects and score are all very well recorded. Don't expect too much in the way of ear-candy and this disc shouldn't disappoint.

  Extras
Contract

As per usual from Columbia, you get the standard forgettable filmographies, and they've included the theatrical trailer (in fullscreen) and a 'behind the scenes' featurette, which is a run-of-the-mill studio ad. I always enjoy hearing the actors waxing rapsodic about their latest film.

  Overall  
Contract

Technically, there's nothing wrong with this disc, but the film itself is a little flawed. Some very good ideas, but it needs better editing to pull the pieces together.

A decent night's rental, but try before you buy.


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