E1 Entertainment // 2010 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // March 30th, 2011
"Time is running out"
"Trust no one"
Wow, where have I heard those taglines before? There's a relatively unknown Internet rule called Poe's Law that basically says that extreme fundamentalism is indistinguishable from parody. So, when someone advocates that God made a flat earth in six days six thousand years ago, so dinosaur fossils must have been faked by God, it's hard to know if that person is being serious or not. I think a similar action is at work with genre films. If a film cleaves too tightly to generic conventions, it's hard to tell if the filmmakers are being serious or not. With a film like Urgency, which has a typical kidnap-thriller plot and generic taglines, it's hard to know how seriously the viewer should take this little piece of action fluff. Taken as a serious action film, Urgency is a total failure, but those going in looking for an amusing set of action clichés and subpar acting might get a few chuckles.
Tony (Brian Austin Green, Desperate Housewives) works for a pharmaceutical company. One day he comes home early to find his wife kidnapped. The kidnappers appear to be after fifty thousand dollars that West dutifully agrees to deliver, but as he races against the clock, it seems that the kidnappers are after something more valuable than mere money.
I love a good performance, but every year during awards season, I have to wonder how much credit should go to individual actors and how much to the screenwriters, because it's obviously a combination of their talents that leads to a strong performance. Nothing demonstrates that fact more than Urgency. Since I don't know most of the actors involved, I can't say if their lackluster performances are the fault of the script or their own failings as thespians. I am, however, familiar with Jeffrey Combs and his abilities. Within his scope he's a fine performer capable of bringing a range of quirky character to life. His performance in Urgency leads me to believe that the script from which everyone was working could have used another few passes. His character is listless, imported from another movie, made sinister only by Combs' years of experience in front of the camera. Brian Austin Green similarly gets by on his experience. He's playing a "nice" guy with a loving wife thrown into a strange mess he's unprepared for.
What really sinks Urgency is that we've seen it all before, with bigger budgets and better scripts. From the opening teaser scene where a random guy shoots another random guy, to the nice-guy-in-a-nasty-situation of the plot machinations, down to the film's ending (which, at 86 minutes, is still too long). It's lame set piece after lame set piece, with ho-hum dialogue driving us from one predictable moment to the next. If that weren't enough, the whole thing looks like it was shot with consumer-grade equipment. Cameras seem to change from shot to shot, with some looking decently professional, and others look like bad family vacation moments. There doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason to these shifts, either.
At least it appears that this DVD does a faithful job representing what was shot. Although the transfer won't win any awards, I suspect that the overly-bright, occasionally washed out image has more to do with the quick way in which the film was made than with this DVD. Overall the image is pretty "meh," but there don't appear to be any significant compression or artefacting problems that can be pinned on the DVD. The 5.1 audio keeps dialogue clear, but the bass could boom a bit more during the action sequences, and the atmospherics aren't great. The lone extra is the film's trailer.
Urgency is a sad entry into the careers of everyone involved. Only the most diehard fans of Brian Austin Green or Jeffrey Combs should give this film a rental. Better yet, wait until it comes around on late-night cable and give yourself an excuse to fall asleep. It's also possible the film could appeal to action movie fans looking for a movie to mock. Otherwise, Urgency is just a waste of time.
Guilty of failing to generate an ounce of Urgency.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: E1 Entertainment
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated