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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
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  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
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    Do or Die (2003)

    Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 86 mins . M15+ . PAL


    Yeah, it’s a lame-arse title for a film, no doubt. It’s just too obvious. However, the title does portend to the film and it makes a little sense, but the title is still cheap.

    Here we are living in a not-too-distant future in which the world has been divided into two halves; Infected and Good Citizens. A new strain of Rapid Ageing Syndrome has infected the world and ‘good’ society has distanced itself from the new-subhumans of the Infected. Dr. Ethan Grant has created a drug that slows the process, but doesn’t cure it, and every infected person must inject it every day or age a year a day.

    The drug has a blue dye in it that alerts Good Citizens to the Infected, and for this reason the outskirts of the Citizone are called The Bluelands, where roving bands of Infected live under marshal law.

    When Jack Hennessey learns his wife is pregnant, he is attacked by bounty-hunters who destroy a small mechanism inside his back. Right before his wife’s eyes, he ages and dies and his wife Ruth is left with the mystery. With his dying breath he gives her a key and the knowledge there is a cure being held back by the psychopathic Grant. She didn’t know he was a ‘Crossover’, or someone with a machine that regulates the drug each day, saving them the stigma of injections and blue dye.

    So begins her quest to learn the truth as she grows the baby inside her and tries to understand where Jack came from. This leads her deep into The Bluelands, where she discovers many truths about Jack and his relationships outside their marriage. And here she will find the courage within herself to face Grant and try to rid the world of the disease that plagues it.

    While the film starts out in a very cheap-looking science-fictionly futuristic manner, it slows down to be not a bad movie. Some performances are unnecessarily over-acted, but in the majority this is toned down by the better cast members. Cleverly, the film isn’t dated and features many recognisable factors of today, leaving us to assume this is just around the corner. Unfortunately though, it’s just a little too near to successfully work. Some time periods are confused, as are the triggers that stand for them. For example, the history of Dr. Ethan Grant uses old time, almost sepia, photographs in a black paged album when they’d actually be more likely photographs taken around now. And nobody I know still sticks their head under a black cloak and holds a flash that goes ‘Phloomph!’

    These smaller factors aside, the writer/director David S. Jackson has borrowed from many greats of the past including themes from Mad Max, Rollerball and Logan’s Run with some more modern ideas like Dark Angel used as frosting. Overall it has the appearance of a telemovie, which it is, but also a pilot to a series. I thought this right up until the end when a few matters were resolved and effectively seemed to cut off the series idea, but that’s the overall feeling I took from it. And as far as that goes, this is alright. The story’s a little hackneyed, but has enough newer ideas to hold water and the acting is, for the most part, okay. It’s not the best film I’ve ever reviewed, but it’s in no way the worst.

    The real treat here is in Polly Shannon playing the role of Ruth Hennessey. She chameleonises at every twist, suiting the storyline perfectly and, as the lead, ties the film together very well.


    This film was shot in 2002 in Canada and doesn’t look too bad at all. Delivered in the widescreen TV format of 1.78:1, there are barely any artefacts to speak of if any. The picture quality is sharp and colours are vibrant without over-saturation and flesh tones are even. The makeup is achieved subtly here too, using the blue-dye of the drug on the hands cleverly, even under blood.

    There are numerous night shots and these are all devoid of grain and the majority have good shadow detail. Blacks are also true, which is always good with so much night on offer.


    Perhaps surprisingly, this film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, which is weird for a cable movie. The surrounds do a fair bit of work too, filling out the soundscape nicely with background city noise and crowd scenes, while the subwoofer spends most of its time aging gracefully. It might get up sometimes to fill out the music or a motorbike engine, but generally it doesn’t do much.

    Sound effects are all okay, though some gunshots sound a little papery, while the music is the biggest letdown of the entire affair. Scored by Frederic Talgorn, it’s a morose and sluggish soundtrack, seemingly rooted in '50s through '70s science fiction and their generally poor perception of what future music will sound like. It barely even registers most of the time and doesn’t do much to support the film, leaving it hanging out to dry half the time.


    There's nothing included here, and even the static main menu is fairly uninteresting.


    This will be right down the street of fans of schlock sci-fi (if such a thing exists), parked in front of the house. For anyone after a generally light science fiction turn, you could do worse than visit your local video store and check this out. Don’t let the shitty title sway you, this is a watchable film (even if there are plenty of lame SF-sounding titles thrown around within… honestly, ‘Rad Punks’? What is this, 1985?). That being said however, I would earnestly recommend renting before buying here as I’d be unsure of how many revisits any viewer would be interested in, particularly with a lack of any extras.

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      And I quote...
    "Don’t let the title sway you, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Not entirely."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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