MTI // 2007 // 101 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Steve Power // July 30th, 2010
Nothing comes between family.
Jacob Tate (Kent Faulcon, War of the Worlds) is an Army trained hitman in employ to the mob. He's starting to come unhinged, constantly reliving the tragic loss of his pregnant wife; emotionally scarred, he wants out. His handler (Eric Roberts, The Expendables) tosses him one last job, which should be an easy out. The target is Diane (Denise Boutte, Why Did I Get Married?), a small southern town english teacher, but things get complicated when Jacob is mistaken for Diane's long lost baby brother, and starts to fall in with the family. When the rest of the mob comes a knockin', Jacob has to make a choice. Does he finish his contract and walk away, or does he step up to the plate, protect Diane, and figure out just who it is that wants to put a draft in her dome?
Yep, here we have yet another dull, predictable low rent Hollywood hitman flick. We know he's a cold blooded killer who's starting to see the light. We know he's going to have his doubts, get cold feet, grow a soul, or whatever, because it's what professional assassins do in every movie. Of course we know that Jacob's boss is going to show up, and every other mobbed up hitman in the hemisphere is going to come along with him (all four of them). What makes Sister's Keeper different, is there's a healthy amount of drama thrown into the mix; what's unfortunate is this drama is pulled directly from the clichéd plot of a Tyler Perry movie minus the comedy.
Writer, producer, director, and star Kent Faulcon does a decent enough job with the direction, giving the film a slightly better look than its low budget leanings would suggest, and yet the screenplay, the characters, and the acting talent on display are about as "ready for late night cable" as it gets. The weighty drama, cliched as it is on paper could quite possibly have been sold by some higher calibre in front of the camera, but just hits like lead under the delivery on display. Then there's the pacing, which ranges from slow to "Oh my God, when the hell is this crap going to end!?" Scenes take forever, with little or no action throughout most of the run time, which leaves us watching over a hundred minutes of bad Tyler Perry drama spouted by the kind of actors who pop up in one episode of CSI: Miami as a bad guy of the week. I don't know what audience this film is aiming for, but the action crowd will be left twiddling their thumbs in boredom, while the drama crowd will be rolling their eyes at the contrived plot and predictable twists.
MTI actually surprises with the quality of the disc. I'm guessing the film was shot on HD video, and it looks pretty sharp, though black levels in darker scenes do occasionally crush everything around them. Color is nice and warm, and for the most part I have nothing to complain about as far as the transfer is concerned. The sound is more of a mixed bag. The 5.1 mix is aggressive and very well separated, but there's a ton of on set audio that changes positions and even introduces background noise when the view of the camera shifts. One particular scene had all kinds of background noise like moving cars and wind during a dialogue scene, but was miraculously silent when we got the reverse angle shot of the other participant in the conversation. The music is also pretty stock stuff, but on occasion it does serve the film well. One thing I really enjoyed was the loudness of the gunfire in the mix. Like in reality, rather than popping away in some far off corner of the room (or a left surround speaker), gunshots completely envelop the soundstage, and boom over everything else in the mix. It's realistic, and it adds some punch to the action sequences.
For extras there's collection of deleted scenes -- which wouldn't have really added much to the movie -- some audition footage that's barely audible, and a commentary track by Faulcon. The commentary is lively, and Kent is a charismatic speaker, a genuinely nice guy. He shows some skills, some genuine ability to work well with the budget he had, and some solid judgement in spite of the finished product. He's a director I may keep an eye on, as with some time to develop and a bit of a budget, he could very well have a bright future behind the camera. Just please, Kent, don't write your own scripts.
Sister's Keeper is guilty, and there's really no one to blame but Kent Faulcon. That said, Mr. Faulcon shows some promise as a filmmaker.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes