Drea De Matteo
You can really break this movie down into sections. The first thirty minutes contain what would be classified as set-up and character development, which is done well enough, but doesn’t have enough depth to go past those cursed “whatever” stages. The second thirty minutes includes a bit more build-up, as well as strong suspense and anticipation for what’s to come. And then it’s time for the payoff; the final forty minutes of this flick portrays enough kills, gunshots, and explosions to knock any action junkie on their ass (myself included). The plot plays out like your standard run-of-the-mill action flick, but that’s far from the truth. Without being boring, things play out with enough realism to keep you interested, as well as some knockout surprises considering what you’d expect to happen in a film of this sort.
Despite all this, the movie isn’t without its share of flaws. While I liked many of the characters, there were a few who really bugged the hell out of me, including Ja Rule as the third-person talking bad ass (and his name was Smiley... what the hell was that shit about??), as well as Brian Dennehy, who I have never liked. I also felt Gabriel Byrne was deeply underused in his role, considering what an accomplished actor he is. Fortunately, on the other side of the table, Hawke, Fishburne, and Leguizamo (plus a few others) are cool enough to bypass all that and enjoy the ride regardless of petty irritations. The movie is fun, full of action, and is a perfect way to spend a couple of hours letting your mind ooze, so just enjoy it for what it is.
Commentary (with the director, writer, and producer): Somewhat hard to follow (due in large part to Richet’s accent), but still fairly good. A lot of information is divulged for our listening pleasure, and it’s worthy enough to recommend for fans.
Deleted Scenes (6:10 - with optional commentary): We get 5 of them. A few of them are actually really good, and in my opinion should have been included, as they shine some much needed light on certain aspects of the movie. The commentary on these is also fine, but I’m not sure I agreed with all of Richet’s reasons for deleting some of the scenes.
Armed and Dangerous (4:54): Short, sweet, and bad ass. This featurette delves a bit deeper into the guns in the movie, and I liked how they related certain guns with certain characters, something I never really took note of while watching.
Behind Precinct Walls (7:28): A very cool featurette that explores the stage-crafted Precinct and the scenes used within it. A seemingly simple area reveals itself as a complex layout design.
Plan of Attack (4:26): A quick featurette discussing a little bit about the stunt coordination. Not too exciting, but worth watching anyway.
The Assault Team (5:17): Only a hair better than a fully standard making-of featurettes. This one consists of mainly praising of cast and crew, but also includes some worthy footage of the director.
Caught in the Crosshairs (12:34): This literally IS a fully standard making of, complete with clips from the film, pointless interviews, and coverage of only the story. What a crappy way to end the DVD...