Bullseye! (1990) DVD Review

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THE SET-UP

Two con-men (Michael Caine and Roger Moore) attempt to impersonate two nuclear scientists (also Michael Caine and Roger Moore) in a scheme to auction off the formula for cold fusion and make a fortune.

Directed by: Michael Winner

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THE DELIVERY

I knew I was in trouble in the opening moments of watching Bullseye! when actor Michael Caine’s character makes a scientific discovery and yells out “Bullseye,” at which point the title of the film splashes across the screen. I thought to myself, “Good God, it’s that kind of a movie.” As it turned out, I was right: Bullseye! is a movie so devoid of wit or other means of intelligence that every joke has to be painfully obvious. The type of movie that thinks you are too dumb to understand what is going on IN A COMEDY, so it needs a voiceover explaining things to you. The type of movie in which the characters inexplicably turn to the camera and make terrible jokes directly to the audience, which both Michael Caine and Roger Moore both do at different times. Bullseye! is so tedious and stupid you will be amazed actual functioning adults, and famous ones at that, agreed to appear in it.

That is perhaps the main reason this film from 1990 has never been released on DVD. I suspect that the British government has managed to keep this movie from being widely seen, because it shatters the perception that the British, with those fancy accents, are generally smarter. Apparently, the Royal Wedding last year must have distracted them, and MGM/Fox managed to sneak this out. The level of stupidity on display here is mind-boggling.  

I shouldn’t even begin to try to explain the plot, but here you go: two thugs (Caine and Moore) who look like two cold fusion scientists (also Caine and Moore) impersonate them in a series of misadventures in an attempt to auction off their cold fusion formula to evil governments. The film plays out in a variety of locations where Caine and Moore play out a bunch of dumb sight gags and attempt to avoid being caught by running around. The script has no clever twists or even a comprehensible plot as it plays out. Sally Kirkland is along for the ride as the thugs’ old friend, but then turns out to be a CIA agent or something. No one explains why. The CIA and Scotland Yard get involved, yet insist the thugs play out their scheme, rather than just arrest the scientists outright.

In all honesty, it really does seem like major parts of the film were made up as they went along.  There is an extended sequence aboard a train, in which Caine’s scientist character is tied up in one of the train’s sleeper cabins, then escapes, then gets captured again, and escapes again. All the while, Caine’s thief character never bothers to tell his partners in crime. There are lapses of logic in abundance, and I could go on, but doing so would mean I am putting more effort into the film than the filmmakers. My advice: just avoid this tedious exercise at all costs.

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VIDEO AND AUDIO

Although the DVD states that the movie is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, it is actually at an anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio. Unfortunately, it does not make the film any better. The video image for the film seems washed out and lacks any true detail. It is fairly clean of debris, but overall it looks like a second generation VHS transfer. For a film from 1990, the video should look much better. Instead, it looks like it was filmed in the 1970s. The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, providing some clarity, but not much depth or surround effect. 

SPECIAL FEATURES

None.

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THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?

Ratings

Movie: D

Video: C

Audio: C

Extras: D

Overall Grade: C-

Bullseye! is a complete mess, a train wreck of a film that deserves to be buried and forgotten. It is not even fun to watch how badly Michael Caine and Roger Moore run this film into the ground. It is amazing that Caine is particular still manages to keep a good reputation in Hollywood after this film and movies like Jaws: The Revenge. You would be best served to steer clear of this film at all costs.

DVD SPECS

This DVD is offered as part of MGM’s “Limited Edition Collection,” which is available from select online retailers and manufactured only when the DVD is ordered. The DVD features a simple menu with no menu for chapters or scenes. Manufacture-On-Demand (MOD) DVDs are made to play in DVD playback units only and may not play in DVD recorders or PC drives. This DVD did not play in our laptop DVD drive but did play in our Toshiba DVD recorder.

Release Date: December 23, 2011

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 93 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: None

Special Features: None

Bullseye! is now available on MOD DVD-R from MGM/Fox Home Entertainment.

Click here to order Bullseye! on DVD-R from Amazon!