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THE AGGRESSION SCALE (BLU RAY)
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Steven C. Miller

Starring:
Ray Wise
Dana Ashbrook
Derek Mears
Ryan Hartwig

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A hitman and his gang of goons are dispatched to a dude's house to wipe out him and his whole family. Little do they know that they're up against a little dude who's severely disturbed and ranks highly on the Aggression Scale..he's ready to fight back.
Is it good movie?
Dammit.

I know you're not all internet movie critics too (we can't all be that cool), but I hate it when I read a review for a flick that totally sums up what it's about. I like coming up with the witty comparisons! That's my job! Anyway, I have no choice but to regurgitate what I read because I can't describe it any better.

The Aggression Scale is like Home Alone, but way more explicit. That pretty much sums it up from start to finish.

Dana Ashbrook plays Lloyd, a hitman who rounds up Derek Mears and another dude who are sent out to collect money from people who apparantly owe it to his boss, Bellavance (Ray Wise). They drop a few punks before getting to the main family, which consists of Bill (Boyd Kestner) and his disturbed, mute son Owen (Ryan Hartwig) who are moving in with Bill's new wife Maggie (Lisa Rotondi) and her super annoying daughter Lauren (Fabianne Therese). Owen is the star of our show, and we learn early on that he's not to be trifled with- he knows how to defend himself and has quite a mean streak about him.

From here, it's all straightforward. The killers have been told to wipe out everything in their path, no matter what. When I read about the flick, I heard it was violent and it certainly is, but it's far more implied than it is explicit. Don't get that wrong though, there's still some nastiness going on, but it's more brutal than it is disgusting. The killers aren't stupid and don't show much mercy. Surprisingly, there aren't many occasions where I found myself yelling at them for being inept.

Also, I thought Dana Ashbrook's Lloyd character was a breath of fresh air, a hitman who is imbued with a sense of reality and emotion, and even a hint of smarmyness. I thought the guy was great. Great to see Derek Mears doin' work too- I really dig the guy. He adds some great humor to the role. Although I didn't find him perfect, Ryan Hartwig does indeed carry his weight as the movie's twisted hero, the mute Kevin McAllister who protects himself (and those he loves) at all costs. If he were terrible, the film would be too. He pulls it off. Finally, although I found her character insufferable, Fabianne Therese is very capable in her role as the super mean older stepsister. I found that their relationship was grating at times.

I won't spoil the sequences for you, but know that they pay off, for the most part. I was settling in expecting to cheer for the more violent moments, but found myself a bit more caught up in it. I suppose that's a good thing, with the film's serious tone. I've heard the flick described as an instant cult classic, but I felt it was a bit more serious than goofy- maybe that's just me.

At the end of the day, this is a low budget flick that looks like it has every cent on the screen. The plot is palpable (though familiar) and the movie mostly pays off where it's supposed to, right down to an ending that ought to bring a smile to your face. I certainly recommend this one.
Video / Audio
Video comes to us in 2.41:1 widescreen with a 1080p transfer and looks glorious. I was surprised how great this one looked. Really top notch stuff.

Audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and although it has some low bass levels, it is mostly a fantastic track. No real complaints.
The Extras
Not much meat here, just a Making of featurette that is presented in SD and runs about 15 minutes long. Nothing overly in-depth here, mostly interviews, film clips and the standard stuff.
Last Call
The lead character stands out in this one as unique, and one who would almost certainly be considered a villain in any other film. The movie is paced well, the violence is unrelenting (although again, I didn't find it overly explicit), and it provides an entertaining and tense experience. On top of that, it's a great looking and sounding disc. Pick it up.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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