Blu-ray Review: ‘Stand Off’

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"Stand Off," also known as "Whole Lotta Sole" during its theatrical release, arrives on a two-disc set consisting of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. The package features an artwork that suggests a hard-edged action film, but this 2011 offering is actually a quirky crime comedy about an American in Ireland and how he finds himself wrapped up in an unlikely hostage situation. This Terry George movie stars Brendan Fraser, Colm Meaney, and Martin McCann.

The heist-gone-wrong story revolves around a man who owes money from a local mob boss and his desperate attempt to pay his debt by robbing a local fishery. It turns out that the same vicious mobster owns his targeted spot. In no time, he must find a way out in the deeper mess he is into through the help of his oddball captives.

Visuals

The Blu-ray transfer features remarkable scenes with bright, rich, and lifelike details. The scenes' high contrast fits the film's look. The noiseless images boast well-differentiated blacks and good shadow details. Crushing is never an issue. Flesh tones registere more on the warm side. No evidence of significant banding, aliasing, and other visual anomalies plague the picture.

Audio

The film's five-channel audio track offers little opportunity to display the power of gunfires, explosions, and other bombastic elements in the story. It makes limited use of the surround capabilities of the medium as the mix relies heavily on dialogue. But although it is not a very robust presentation, on the good side, the decent track still delivers effective distinction between locations. From the varying accents to the lively ambient effects, there is a fine level of clarity for the available aural components throughout. The musical score is generally soulful with a European vibe to it.

Supplements

This Blu-ray package doesn't include any supplemental material other than the film's trailer.

Final Thoughts

Amidst its inconsistencies and pedestrian direction, "Stand Off" works as an easygoing movie that has an appeal for a particular audience. At best, this caper can serve as an engaging diversion for the not so demanding viewers. Its simple plot, which tries to make associations with many other movies from the same genre, ties together fairly neatly. Certain scenes also have some genuinely fun moments on screen. Amidst the thin and mostly two-dimensional characterizations, the film is actually well-acted, which helps elevate the viewers' engagement for its mediocre and safely played narrative.

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