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To Live and Die in L.A.
BLU-RAY disk
Feb 16, 2010 By: J.A. Hamilton
To Live and Die in L.A. order
Director:
William Friedkin

Actors:
William L. Peterson
Willem Dafoe
John Pankow

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A federal agent is dead set upon taking down the slick counterfeiter who murdered his partner. But his downward spiral for revenge quickly becomes a deadly obsession that could get him and his new partner killed.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
I’d heard the title TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. before but was totally unaware of what the film was, who was in it or what it was about. In all honesty, I popped in the Blu-ray player thinking it was a recent direct to DVD action flick that I’d heard of but missed. But then the opening eighties tune (one of my favorite eighties flick themes) that stretched on for about five minutes, the film title done in neon coloring and the ancient looking ear piece worn by the cop that looked like the original prototype technology piece made it obvious that this was no recent film. That said it held its own as far as eighties flicks go.

There was a real BEVERLY HILLS COP meets LETHAL WEAPON feel to this baby in the beginning that got my attention and held on tight. The story was clichéd all to hell by now’s standards, but to be fair, this was probably one of the first flicks to sport the old “Cop’s partner gets smoked with a couple days left on the force” curve ball (and the fact that the dude who get’s iced actually says, “I’m getting too old for this shit” after the initial action scene was icing on the cake). And on that note, the dialogue was something else, but I laughed my ass off when the term “douche bag” came up, surprised that it goes back that far.

Though the acting wasn’t exactly Oscar caliber, I dig William L. Peterson (YOUNG GUNS 2, THE SKULLS, C.S.I.) and was completely into his bad ass, Denzel from TRAINING DAY cop character. I’d break every rule in the book to get revenge too. Willem Dafoe’s villain was money in the bank, literally. He made the counterfeit business look easy (if only it was) and hat’s off to a man that can encourage lesbianism between his woman and other chicks and not get punched in the face for it (if only THAT was as easy). The smooth Blu-ray finish is impressive, you’d never know this made in 1985…at a glance that is.

TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA brought me back to the eighties in a big way and I’ve made abundantly clear in the past, I loved what the eighties had to offer in cinema now and forever. I miss seeing guys get shot in the face, it doesn’t happen nearly as much as it used to. Now I was thrown for a loop by the ending, but it worked in a “that shit could really happen” sort of way so I’m not complaining. The lawyer looked like he was playing all sides and I can’t believe he didn’t die, but the lesbian drive into the sunset was a nice touch. This isn’t a flick you need to rush out and watch tonight, but if you caught it back in the day I can see the appeal of wanting to watch it again.
THE EXTRAS
The Blu-ray has nothing new in the way of features, but we also get a DVD version of the film which includes all the old features.

Commentary: Director William Friedkin walks us through the film by focusing on how he felt about each of the key elements used and those involved. This would have been better with some cast involved.

Counterfeit World: “The Making of To Live and Die in L.A.”: This half hour behind the scenes look adds some flavor but is heavy on movie clips. I still dug it though.

Alternate Ending: This thing didn’t make a damn bit of sense as one of the main characters was miraculously alive after being shot in the face. Right.

Deleted Scene: This lone scene was short, uninteresting and virtually worthless. Pass.

Stills Gallery: We get a bunch of movie pics, but nothing that jumps out at you.

Previews: We get two for the feature film as well as some MGM classics like FARGO and DARK BLUE.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
There’s lots to love for those of you who dig eighties flicks as the nostalgia is stacked pretty high here. First timer’s will appreciate the fact this film’s aged well despite the dialogue and some of the more obvious eighties propaganda, but owning it is strictly going to be for the fans.
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