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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Set Up

September 18th, 2011

Set Up - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Set Up reportedly cost $22 million to make and stars some pretty big name actors. However, it is being released direct-to-DVD this week. You don't spend $22 million on a movie like this if you know it isn't going to be shown in theaters, so was this film a misfire that was dumped onto the home market? Or was it just bad luck that it couldn't secure a theatrical release.

The Movie

In the beginning of the film we are introduced to three friends: Vincent, Sonny, and Dave. They execute what is described as a, "detailed heist" on the back of the DVD cover, but in reality, they simply block the car of a courier with their van, then jump out and spend a minute firing at random into the crowd of bystanders, before shooting the courier and and driving off with his briefcase full of diamonds. When they drive to the meeting spot where they are to exchange the diamonds for $5 million in cash, Vincent double-crosses them shooting Sonny and Dave before quickly leaving.

He leaves so quickly, that he doesn't check to see if they are both dead. Dave is a goner, but Sonny survives and it's not long before he's planning on finding Vincent and shooting him. Along the way, he runs into a hitman who was sent by the people he stole from originally, robs a poker game run by one mob boss, steals from the Russian mob, etc. Each step of the way he gets deeper and deeper in trouble. Will he find his way out? And will he get his revenge?

The answer to both of those questions is, 'Who cares?' This movie is a generic film that presents a collection of clichés from every low rent gangster flick that has tried to be street. Practically every element fails to click from the opening heist, which I think was supposed to look big and cool, but came off as amateur hour. Suspension of disbelief crumbled, because there's no way they could take that long, fire that many shots, and still get away. The cops should have been all over them. That's not the only major plot hole in the movie. The lifeless narration is a distraction. There are too many elements up in the air at once and I wasn't given a reason to care about any of them. There are a lot of big names in the movie, but outside a couple that were wasted in small roles, Bruce Willis, the acting was bad. 50 Cent just can't act, while Ryan Phillippe was grossly miscast.

There was a particularly bad scene with Sonny and Petey, Mr. Biggs' muscle, going to a drug dealer to buy something to celebrate after they successfully rob the Russians. Petey starts playing around with the drug dealer's collection of guns, and as soon as he did, I predicted he would shoot himself in the head. Sure enough, that's exactly what happened. It was telegraphed so plainly that what could have been a shocking scene was laughable instead. That sums up the movie quite well: laughable.

The Extras

Extras start with an audio commentary with the writer / director, Mike Gunther, and the stunt coordinator, Kyle Woods. Too many dead spots hurt the value of this track. There's a nine-minute making of featurette, a four-minute featurette on the guns in the movie, and finally there are 25 minutes of interviews.

I don't have the Blu-ray to compare, but right now on, it costs too much more than the DVD to be worth it.

The Verdict

There's almost nothing that works in Set Up. The script is full of clichés and plot holes, while the lead is wooden and uninteresting. The DVD and the Blu-ray have better than expected extras, but neither is worth even a rental.

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Filed under: Video Review, Set Up