Hot from the vaults of 1997 comes The Edge, the thrilling arctic caper starring Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin. Don’t recognize the cover? Then picture the same actors but with very angry faces that are locked in a constipated/screaming motion. Got it? No? Well, I don’t blame you. The film made very few waves at the box office and even fewer with critics who were fairly lukewarm when it came to praising this film. Despite a solid pair of leads, even they couldn’t save this largely mediocre film from obscurity, although its fans are likely pretty thrilled by this Blu-ray release as it marks the first anamorphic release the film has ever seen. Of course this also makes for another The Edge home video release with zero extras.
The Edge boasts an exciting cast, including Academy Award winner* Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, Meet Joe Black), Alec Baldwin (The Departed, “30 Rock”) and supermodel Elle Macpherson (Sirens, Batman & Robin). A plane crash in the freezing Alaskan wilderness pits intellectual billionaire Charles Morse (Hopkins) against self-satisfied fashion photographer Robert Green (Baldwin) in a brutal struggle for survival. They find themselves teamed up against nature and their own inner demons, including tensions over Morse’s luminous wife (Macpherson). Each soon discovers that the greatest danger resides not in nature, but from human fear, treachery, and quite possibly murder.
I have to say that as obscure as this film is nowadays, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. It was exceedingly predictable for the most part even though there were a few well-devised red herrings here and there that attempted to throw you off of the films scent. But, just like the Kodiak bear in the movie, the massive amount of blood that pours of the characters makes for an easy trail to follow and soon enough you find that the ultimate resolution to the film is the one you suspected all along. At least it tried to throw you off its trail once or twice.
Even dismissing the notorious story of Baldwin throwing a tantrum due to having to shave his beard for the movie, there were plenty of distractions already in place while watching the film. Not the least of which was the temporary inclusion of Lost alumni Harold Perrineau who plays the doomed-from-the-start airplane pilot that eventually gets destroyed by the bear in the film in a properly violent display. It’s quite an interesting feat considering how long he lasted, but once he was gone the real meat of the story began to unfold. Baldwin and Hopkins characters began to clash and by the end of it you not only got a sense of who their characters were but also what they were truly capable of.
I think the most rewarding thing that came out of this movie was seeing how humble Hopkins character ultimately is. He heaps praise upon those who helped him survive in a deadly situation with no regard for his own personal contributions to the matter; it’s a bit of a surprising twist as you kind of expect going in that he’s a grumpy old codger and Baldwin will be his undoing. But by the end of the film the roles were slightly reversed (at least with the undoing element) and Hopkins was quite a nice guy through and through. The film had multiple things going for it, as it was both an action and suspense movie while also being kind of a lesson in morality. Although I’m not sure what lesson Perrineau played other than being the requisite first sacrifice in a survival film.
In any case The Edge was certainly a fascinating movie, but it still had its flaws. As previously mentioned it was terribly predictable and a rather by-the-numbers survival story (although the bonus addition of repeat bear attacks was pretty cool), but in the end it was still driven by equally good performances by both of the main stars involved. Macpherson even showed off some skills of her own, although she was in the film so briefly it made little difference (and I had to laugh one of her credits for the film was Batman & Robin…ouch).
Overall a Recommended movie, but if you haven’t seen it by now I wouldn’t jump up and rush out to do so. It’s definitely entertaining, but it also shows its age with some dated music and special effects.
Fox puts The Edge out on Blu-ray in a standard single disc Elite Blu-ray case. It’s a very simple package with only the most basic of inserts and nothing else. The cover art, as I mentioned before, is different this time around and features a lot less angst on the jacket…although now it’s replaced by distant looks of confusion, so it’s one or the other I suppose. I still enjoy the fact that Fox is sprucing up their catalog releases with new covers on occasion…definitely adds to the reasoning to double dip in some cases (although printing new covers would be free…but I digress).
Video arrives in the form of an AVC encoded 1080p transfer and…hot damn, this looks good. At nearly a decade and a half old, the transfer looks surprisingly spry with plenty of sharp and vivid detail. Like Cliffhanger the cold, mountainous scenes look absolutely stunning in high definition and even though there is a fine haze of grain over the image, it never once detracts from the enjoyment of the film. As previously mentioned some of the special effects are a bit dated and this transfer certainly doesn’t help that out any, but overall it’s a sharp and clean transfer from start to finish.
Audio too is a pleasant surprise with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix driving home all of the vicious moments of the soundtrack. Although the film is surprisingly light on actual scored/instrumental work, the sound effects and environmental sounds creak about the channels. The plane crash early on in the film has plenty of surround and LFE force behind it to drive home how disturbing a bird strike sounds when it takes your engines out and while the rest of the film is pretty laid back in terms of forceful output from the subwoofer we do still get a fair amount from the bear and other exciting ventures like crossing a single log bridge.
Extras, as previously mentioned, are absolutely zero (well there’s a Theatrical Trailer but that’s it) so those looking to upgrade to a better set of extras will be disappointed. This does boast the first time the film has been available in an anamorphic transfer, however, so fans of the film will want to trade up for that reason alone. Worth a Rental to newcomers.
The Edge is now available on Blu-ray.