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Case Number 04466: Small Claims Court

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Wrong Is Right

Sony // 1982 // 117 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // May 21st, 2004

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All Rise...

Judge Patrick Naugle has seen the past, and it is the present.

The Charge

If it doesn't happen on TV, it means nothing!

The Case

Sean Connery is Patrick Hale, a television journalist who performs dangerous stunts in front of the camera and goes the extra mile for an interview, all in the name of boob tube ratings. Inside the White House is President Lockwood (George Grizzard, Wonder Boys) and his staff (including Dean Stockwell as a wormy assistant and Robert Conrad as a whacked out General), all battling terrorism, re-election campaigns, and an up-and-coming candidate named Mallory (Leslie Nielsen, The Naked Gun). When terrorism begins to spread worldwide, Lockwood uses it as an excuse to start a war on an unnamed Middle Eastern country, as well as track down two silver briefcases that may or may not hold atom bombs big enough to blow us all to Kingdom Come! And all the while there's Patrick Hale, on the run to catch one of the biggest television stories in our nation's history!

It took me at least four passes to get through Wrong is Right, a movie that features Sean Connery and one of the phoniest looking hairpieces this side of Donald Trump. Though the film's ideas about terrorism may be relevant, the fact remains that Wrong is Right is a rather laborious film that plods on endlessly without any of its considered genre effects: action or comedy. To be sure, the film does seem to be eerily in tune with our troubled times; there's the Texan President of the United States, the Middle Eastern war, the backfiring of the President's actions, and the subsequent retaliation on the part of the most of the free world. Could it be that somewhere inside Wrong is Right is the spirit of George W. Bush's cabinet just waiting to get out?

Sean Connery is normally one of those actors who is fun to watch no matter what drivel he's set inside. Sadly, that's not the case with Wrong is Right—I think there's a reason this movie isn't very well known. The story and scenes move from one place to another in an often hard to follow fashion, or maybe that's just because I stopped and started it so many times out of sheer boredom. As directed by Richard Brooks (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), his second to last film, Wrong is Right feels like it's patched together, and in 2004 is starting to fall apart at the seams.

Some of the performances are interesting to watch, especially Conrad Brooks's nutty General Wombat, who seems like an inspiration for Rod Steiger's character in Tim Burton's 1996 Mars Attacks!. G.D. Spradlin (Ed Wood), as one of the CIA's top execs, is also one of the better character actors in the film, all creepy stance and curling lip. As for Sean Connery, he seems slightly lost in the shuffle—aside of a few monologues about television news and its responsibility to the public, Connery's character seems to be a globetrotting second banana to everyone else.

I'm not much into political thrillers / comedies / dramas, which may explain why I wasn't all that entranced with Wrong is Right. Yet even I can enjoy a film from a genre I'm not crazy about if it's done well. Wrong is Right isn't a truly bad movie, but it doesn't do enough to separate itself from the rest of the early '80s mediocrity to make it worthy of a recommendation.

Wrong is Right is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Overall Columbia has done a decent job with this transfer, though it does suffer from a lack of sharpness and a few muted and dulled colors. But hey, it was the 1980s! Just look at those tacky suits, wacky hairstyles, and big, blinking computer buttons! Generally speaking the black levels are solidly rendered and the transfer has an overall lack of grain and dirt. This isn't a pristine print, but it does look better than I expected.

The soundtrack is presented in lackluster Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Surround. There isn't much exciting going on in this sound mix—the effects, music, and dialogue are all well heard, and that's the best thing I can say. Dynamic range and fidelity are sorely lacking, but I guess this stereo mix is better than nothing, eh? Also included on this disc are English, French, Japanese, and Korean subtitles.

It must be a cover-up! Columbia hasn't included a single new extra feature for this disc. All that viewers get are some measly trailers for the films Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worry and Love the Bomb, The Bedford Incident, and Fail-Safe.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 67

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
• French
• Japanese
• Korean
Running Time: 117 Minutes
Release Year: 1982
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Comedy
• Drama
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Theatrical Trailers


• IMDb

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