The Code (2009) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Crime / Thriller|
|First Look Pictures || R - 104 minutes - $29.99 || June 23, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-07-05|
Writer(s): Ted Humphrey
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas, Radha Mitchell
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The Code (originally titled Thick as Thieves) isn’t particular original in its story but it certainly kept me entertained from beginning to end thanks in large part to the two stars, Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight) and Antonio Banderas (Assassins). It’s really your typical heist film with all the double or triple crossings on the side but for a direct-to-video flick, it wasn’t half bad, in fact it’s one of the better suspense-thrillers of 2009.
Freeman stars as veteran thief Ripley who makes acquaintances with Gabriel (Banderas), a skilled thief in his own right. Ripley has a proposition for Gabriel: help steal a pair of extremely rare Faberge Eggs and he can get a cut of the take, a cool $20 million. Ripley explains that he and a friend were to do the job until the friend decided to back out, in which the men they were working for (former members of the KGB), have him killed.
Meanwhile, Gabriel takes a fancy to Ripley’s beautiful goddaughter, Alex (Radha Mitchell), and Ripley has a problem of his own. Not only are the Russians, including mob boss Nicky (Rade Serbedzija) after him to get the job done, but an overzealous detective (Robert Forster) is also on his trail.
Ripley and Gabriel work recon on a Russian businessman’s building which has a highly secure basement first with an outer layer with plenty of treasures before going into an even higher secured vault where these eggs are being held. They must figure a way to disable the numerous systems protecting the area and make it out before the vault door closes on them. But things get complicated after Alex is kidnapped by Nicky who demands the eggs and only then will she be released.
I should note that I was close to docking the rating a good half star just because they used a T.A.T.u. song (“Not Going to Get Us”) but cooler heads prevailed and I decided to let it go... I’m kind of joking.
It’s interesting that not only does The Code feature some name talent but behind the camera ain’t too bad either. Mimi Leder, who previously directed The Peacemaker and Deep Impact (she’s been working in television since on shows like “ER”), does a pretty good job. It’s not going to win any style points or anything, but she’s proven to be a capable director who can take the story from point A to point B relatively intact. And coming from a background in television, writer Ted Humphrey makes his feature writing debut after working on a few failed TV programs (“Dr. Vegas”, “The Nine”, “Shark” and the recently cancelled “The Unit”).
As I said before, The Code doesn’t break new ground in the heist genre. If you’ve seen Ocean’s Eleven or, well, David Mamet's Heist, you get the gist and probably can figure out what happens next but because of charismatic casting with Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas, the movie makes it well worthwhile so long as you go along with the ride.
First Look only provides cast interviews (7:54) and a Behind the Scenes (16:21) featurette. The interviews has the cast and crew talking about the story or their characters while the featurette is a raw look at the making of the movie with minimal interaction with the cast and crew. I actually prefer these as you can just watch the film being made rather than the actor’s blabbering about the plot and all that.
Strangely enough -- and this doesn’t happen very often with feature films -- there is no scene access from the main menu.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The Code is presented on a single 25GB Blu-ray disc with a 1.78 aspect ratio in 1080p HD. The picture isn’t wow-inspiring at all but it’s crisp, clean and clear of imperfections such as dirt and/or scratches. Detail level is also good as is the color palette which tends to be a tad darker at times with little to no bright colors.
Even though the back of the case states it is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, this I believe was the info used for the DVD release because I was pleasantly surprised to see a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track instead. While the audio on the movie isn’t exactly robust or anything, it is fairly clear between the dialogue levels, ambient noise, sound effects and the score/music.
Although The Code doesn’t really offer anything new to the heist genre, I enjoyed it for the two charismatic leads and for a genuinely entertaining movie. The audio and video are both good and even though the features are severely lacking, I would at the very least recommend giving The Code a rental.