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Narc
DVD disk
Oct 6, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Narc order
Director:
Joe Carnahan

Actors:
Jason Patric
Ray Liotta
Anne Openshaw

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two badass Detroit cops (Liotta & Patric) catch a hot trail which gets them closer to solving a sputtering case about the murder of an undercover narcotics officer. As the case gets more and more twisted, rules and regulations get in their way as the two men ignore most of them in order to nab their man.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Ray Liotta kickin' ass... Ray Liotta kickin' ass... Remember those words as you slip this disc into your DVD player because you’ll get to see a lot of that during the show. One of the past fifteen years’ most talented, versatile and charismatic actors, Liotta succeeds once again (as he had previously done in GOODFELLAS and COP LAND among others) in grabbing you by the balls and shaking you up until the only words you can whisper out of your exhausted lips are: “Ray Liotta is a badass”. As Lt. Henry Oaks, he yells, slaps, punches and shoots his way through his case in the company of Jason Patric, who through this effort, can finally be forgiven for the abomination which was SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL.

As both men claw their way through a forest of uncooperative witnesses, railroading police officials and haunting pasts that eventually boil over into the case and make it that much more difficult to solve. Filled with brutal, graphic violence and taking place in an underworld we're all happy to be watching from the outside, NARC packs a powerful visual punch as well as a new twist on a classic story of cops standing up for each other through thick and thin, right and wrong. Another impressive payer in the piece (and believe me, I never thought I would ever be saying that!) was Busta Rhymes, a guy I've always regarded as kind of a joke, but who impressed the hell out of me even though his screen time was limited. Busta can act? I'll be damned...

A big round of applause also should be doled out to newbie director Joe Carnahan, who graduated from the music video director league to the majors with this one. NARC has a highly stylized look: lots of quick edits, lots of filters, split-screens and odd angles and while stuff like that usually sends me straight to my trusty "list of pretentious asses" with pen in hand, I was surprised by how well they blended into the story and how they eventually just became a part of it rather than a distraction. It also helps that the film only runs about 90 minutes. It helps keep the pace fast and furious and means you'll hardly be able to blink without seeing someone gets brutally pistol whipped. The only slower moments were the interactions between Patric's character and his wife which added a bit of background, but pretty much just made his wife seem like a bitch.
THE EXTRAS
Surprisingly enough for a smaller release movie, there was enough stuff on the DVD to keep most feature-philes happy.

Full length audio commentary by writer/director Joe Carnahan and editor John Gilroy: Like I mentioned above, these two men are responsible for delivering a highly stylized movie with a very slick, quick look. They use their time on this audio commentary to discuss the shoot and the way they went about dealing with the constraints of a smaller budget. Like they say themselves right off the top, this is great for film students.

NARC: Making the Deal (15 mins.), NARC: Shooting Up (20 mins.), NARC: The Visual Trip (15 mins.): These three short documentaries all capture comments from cast and crewmembers regarding the pitch that was made to get this film done, the shoot and the decisions and techniques behind the unique visual style of the feature. Most prominent are Carnahan and Liotta. Other than Carnahan, who wrote the film as well as directed it, Liotta was pretty much the first guy on the project and since he's never shied away from smaller roles and movies, that added some weight to any pitch that came along with it. All three documentaries are quick and have actual information rather than simple fluff. Great to watch if you got as much out of this film as I did.

The Friedkin Connection (10 mins.): This film has been likened by some to 1971's THE FRENCH CONNECTION, a classic directed by William Friedkin. This 10-minute long expose offers Friedkin's views on this film. Not particularly exciting, but some will enjoy. I personally didn't sit though the entire thing.

The theatrical trailer is also included in the disc.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
As a big Ray Liotta fan, I got what I wanted out of this flick with yet another great performance, but I got a hell of a lot more too, namely Jason Patric showing what he's made of, a well-made film with a good script and some very cool style. This film may not be for everyone simply because of its highly violent content and setting in a drug-infested, seedy underworld, but it did wonders for me. If you're still not sure, it's definitely worth a rental at the very least.
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