Every time there is a film that is nominated for an award or just something that is generally well received by most, the chances that it will be copied grow astronomically higher. It’s not a surprise; of course, as everything successful attracts knock offs and sometimes serves as genuine inspiration to others. Basically what I’m getting at is that after seeing No Country for Old Men, director Patrick Hughes somehow managed to get together $3 million dollars, a mash up of talent and four weeks to shoot and make a movie inspired by No Country and create something that’s both similar and yet different. Though the biggest difference is the inclusion of a CGI panther…
Constable Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten, TV’s “True Blood”) arrives in the small town of Red Hill in search of a quieter life. But, on Cooper’s first day with the Red Hill Police Department, a convicted murderer escapes from prison and heads straight for Red Hill to kill the men who put him there. One by one, the townsmen fall until Cooper discovers the shocking truth about the convict, and must challenge everything he believes in order to stop the massacre and bring justice to Red Hill.
Small town, big problems—well, not at first. The film starts out simple enough and it’s not until we get almost half done with it that we get our main protagonist…and from there it really just goes downhill, to be honest. It’s kind of gussied up to be a small town mystery/shoot em’ up type flick (kind of like that Kevin Bacon Death Sentence movie—pretty “meh” story but fun as hell to watch) and with our True Blood hero strutting into town and forgetting his gun (a key point in the plot only because it provides us with a info dump of his back story early on in the film) and meeting up with the necessary folk in this town full of horse riders (literally—everyone walks or rides horses everywhere).
The plot is really about as meaty as the budget for the film and the really strange side-story dealing with a panther (who is CGI…and it looks like pretty hokey CGI at that) reminded me of something out of 24’s second season…which wasn’t a good thing (damn Kim and the cougar!). There’s a lot of downtime during the buildup to the second act when our protagonist Jimmy Connor (actor Tommy Lewis) shows up to wreak havoc. From that point on its just mindless violence (yay!) and a ton of little moments that just make you wonder if you missed something or if the plot was just incredibly weak that one point. Case in point when Shane goes home to reload his ammo after being beaten and bloodied, his wife doesn’t seem to really acknowledge his wounds; there are other similar discrepancies that make you realize how low the budget was on this film (and how they must’ve run out of time in some instances) but in the end you end up with a slack jawed grin on your face as all the blood and stuff starts going off.
I wish I could say that this 95 minute gorefest was a revelation and something entirely new…but truthfully if you watched No Country, Pulp Fiction, and some spaghetti westerns, you’ve already seen what this film has to offer. Granted Hughes tosses it all in a blender and spits it out in one movie rather than three or four, but it’s a far from perfect production and its flaws are readily apparent to anyone who watches it with their brained switched to the “on” position. Although really—you don’t watch these type of movies for mental stimulation—just aural and visual, of which it dishes out plenty.
In the end it’s a strict Rental unless you’re a fan of the genre (or genres, as it incorporates a few) and know right away you’re going to want to watch it over and over again. For now it’s worth checking out at least once, but I surmise that most of you will be satiated with a single viewing.
Red Hill finds a home in a standard disc Elite Blu-ray case with a standard Blu-ray housing the lone disc inside. Menus are simple and easy to navigate and well…that’s it, really. It’s a pretty straightforward set and the beginnings of a very, very barebones release.
Moving onto the AVC encoded 1080p 2.40:1 transfer we get the usual flawless presentation out of Sony. The majority of the film oozes detail out of all of the frames, boasting plenty of detail in the myriad of sequences; whether it’s nighttime sequences with rain or daytime sequences of this small little town, there is plenty to look at as it spreads across your TV. The audio, a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, is similarly expansive with it starting out quiet at first while our characters and story get established before opening up in a glorious blaze of gunfire that makes the surround speakers spill out copious sound effects as the subwoofer sucks some air in to blow their force out at you.
Extras? Well Sony saw no need for such a thing so we get nothing. At all. Oh well. Slightly surprised they didn’t even try to put a trailer or something on the back as a special feature…
As with the film a Rental disc.
Red Hill is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.