Blu-Ray Review- Night Game
Distributor: Olive Films
Street Date: March 31st 2015
Technical Specifications: 1080P Video, Color, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio, 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Roy Scheider may just be one of the most watchable actors in Hollywood history. From Chief Brody in Jaws to Joe Gideon in All That Jazz, he delivered some truly memorable performances throughout his long film career. His portrayal of Jackie Scanlon in William Friedkin’s Sorcerer happens to be one of my personal favorites. Though he displayed a wide range of acting ability across several genres, his characters often exhibited a fiery intensity, which blended with a charming broad smile made him a likeable movie hero for audiences. We simply bought that he was these characters, which says a lot about his devotion and ability as a performer. Even when his career took a slight downturn in the early 90’s with a slew of mediocre films, his performances elevated them to be watchable mediocrity.
Peter Masterson’s Night Game falls into this category. It’s by no means a bad film, but it absolutely lacks originality and its overall execution and pacing can be tedious. It does offer the unique mix of being a sports-centered thriller, a relatively obscure subgenre to say the least.
In Night Game, Roy Scheider is Mike Seaver, a homicide Detective and former baseball player in Galveston, Texas. When a local madman goes on a killing spree, horrifically slaughtering young women at the local beaches, Mike is on put on the case. In between dealing with department bureaucracy and hot head cops, Mike begins to notice an unusual pattern that the murders seem to follow: every time Houston Astro’s pitcher Sil Barretto wins a night game, another murder takes place. Mike slowly uncovers the truth behind the killer’s identity and his motive for taking lives.
Night Game is a fairly typical by-the-numbers thriller, but Roy Scheider’s performance once again elevates what could have been a disappointing mess into a watchable thriller with a handful of unique moments. It’s predictable and rather forgettable, but nonetheless, entertaining for what it’s worth. Baseball fans will especially appreciate some tie-in dialogue and location shoots throughout.
Olive Films brings Night Game to Blu-Ray from the MGM/Fox library with a very clean and authentic looking transfer. The grain structure is left intact and the print is relatively free of any artifacts. Black levels seem to stray a bit to the gray side during nighttime scenes (of which there are many), but there is some impressive inkiness on display here too. Fine object detail is sharp and defined, with the leathery texture of Scheider’s skin and the 80’s suit jackets shining nicely in HD. This is a stable and consistent transfer that gets the job done!
The 2.0 DTS-HD Mono track, much like the transfer, works very well for this release. Dialogue is strong and clear, background effects are rich, and the score is consistently front-heavy and ominous. It doesn’t truly envelop you like a multi-channel effort would, but it does sound quite nice.
Olive Films has opted not to include any bonus material for Night Game. The main menu has the option to play the film or utilize one of the eight chapter selections available.
As you can see from the “Unboxing” pictures below, this Blu-Ray release from Olive Films features the fantastic original theatrical poster art for Night Game on the cover. On the reverse of the packaging you’ll find a plot synopsis for the film, film credits, and some technical specifications for the Blu-Ray disc. On the interior of the case is the Blu-Ray disc itself along with a promotional booklet and mailing list card to join Olive Film’s official newsletter.
Peter Masterson’s Night Game is a fairly typical by-the-numbers thriller, but Roy Scheider’s performance and some clever plot twists elevate what could have been a disappointing mess into a watchable suspense film with a handful of unique moments. It does offer the odd but entertaining mix of being a sports-centered thriller, a relatively obscure subgenre to say the least. The Blu-Ray edition from Olive Films features a clean transfer and an audio track that gets the job done! There are no bonus features to speak of, but Olive Films releasing catalog gems like these in High Definition is a “bonus” in itself. Recommended for Roy Scheider fans, others may want to rent it first.
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