RELEASE DATE: September 6, 2011
ASPECT RATIO: 1.78:1
RATING: R (violence, sexual content, nudity, brief drug use, language)
RUNNING TIME: 84 minutes
AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
SUBTITLES: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish
SPECIAL FEATURES: None
A gang war breaks out in Boston, leaving a small-time hood (Matthew Marsden) and his friends caught in the middle.
Directed by: Rob Marcus
Screenplay by: Chris Bertolini
When a Boston mob boss goes missing, a power struggle breaks out among the remaining crime bosses. It sounds like a pretty generic plot, which is why Madso’s War is a pretty generic movie. There is nothing you haven’t seen before, and plenty that you have,all in much better mob films.
The opening credits provide you with your first warning: “Spike TV Presents.” For a cable network that built itself on shows that show you unique ways to die and answers questions you ask when you are really drunk, having their name above the title does not inspire much confidence. Still, I was willing to give the film the benefit of the doubt, and while the film is not as bad as those shows, it is hardly Oscar-worthy either.
Matthew Marsden makes for a decent leading man, and I have liked his performances in other films. Here, he carries the movie on his charisma alone, because the script fails to give him much to work with. His character is, for the most part, an unlikable tool. However, Marsden manages to inject enough charm to make you care, even when he cheats on his long-suffering, kind-hearted girlfriend with a bimbo whose character appears for one scene only. Ten minutes later, though, he’s back in her arms, so it’s all good. Or something.
One minute, Marsden is fighting for his friends, and the next, he is blowing them off. If the script writer hadn’t been so obsessed with injecting so many Boston mob cliches, they could have made Marsden’s character stronger. The MTV-style editing, odd camera angles, and even the use of split screen (what is this, 24?) all try to distract you from the fact that there is not much interesting going on here.
Madso’s War is not terribly bad. It just suffers from a lack of originality. It could have, and should have, been much better.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The film appears shot on digital video, so it has that look that just does not feel like real film. To me, it feels cheap, and the lackluster cinematography does not help. Even so, the image on the standard DVD is sharp enough, showing nice detail. Color and skin tone remain realistic, but darker scenes do suffer in quality.
Audio is English 5.1 Dolby Digital, and sounds quite good. Voices show excellent clarity, and the music sounds fantastic through all channels.
No special features are included.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
OVERALL GRADE: B-
Madso’s War borrows too much from The Town, The Sopranos, The Boondock Saints, and just about everything else from the mob genre. Most of the acting is fine, and a better script would have made this a more interesting film. Fans of the genre should at least give this a rent, but without any extras, the movie just is not good enough to warrant buying the DVD.
Madso’s War is now available on DVD from MGM/Fox Home Entertainment.