Stiletto (2009)

Genre(s): Crime / Drama
First Look Studios || R - 99 minutes - $24.98 || March 3, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-02-25


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Nick Vallelonga
Writer(s): Paul Sloan (written by)
Cast: Tom Berenger, Michael Biehn, Stana Katic, Paul Sloan, William Forsythe, D.B. Sweeney, James Russo, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora, Kelly Hu, Amanda Brooks


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Previews


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen 2.35)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1: English
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

ďRevenge never looked so good.Ē If only the movie actually measured up to the tag line (or the DVD cover even).

Maybe my memory is failing me, but wasnít there a time that Tom Berenger was a good actor? I think he was good in Major League, The Substitute and Training Day, but in this latest ensemble crime drama called Stiletto, he seems to only measure up to the lousy screenplay...

Stiletto is basically a crime drama with a revenge plot playing out underneath. The film revolves around Raina (Stana Katic; upcoming TV series, ďCastleĒ), a Russian immigrant who, at the opening of the film, suddenly slashes the throat of one mobster and guts her former lover, Virgil Vadalos (Tom Berenger), who he himself is also a mob guy. I donít think Iím spoiling anything by saying Virgil survives.

But why would Raina turn on him? Virgil wants to find out and enlists the help of Detective Beck (Paul Sloan), who is on his payroll to track her down. Finding her in the Los Angeles actually wonít be too hard as Raina leaves a trail of bloody bodies in her wake as she makes her way down a list of the cityís scum for some unknown reason.

The story diverges a little where we are introduced to Lee (Michael Biehn), his psychotic girl, Penny (Amanda Brooks) and Virgilís right-hand man, Alex (William Forsythe), a position previously held by Alex before moving to London for a bit.

Simply, Stiletto is a mess. Although this isnít exactly the most talented cast out there, these are still good actors capable of so much more but let down by a script, written by co-star Paul Sloan (Iíll get to him in a second), that features laughable dialogue and a less-than-intriguing story. Along with the script, it also didnít help that a couple of the characters had to put on thick accents for their roles, the most hilarious one being William Forsytheís Greek accent that I would accept being comical if the story had an air of comedy in it Ė which it did not.

As I mentioned, the film was written by Paul Sloan who also got a leading role as the detective. Now, I donít know much about this man and in fact heís not an awful actor as Iíve seen far worse in porno flicks, but with such an important character surrounded by even B-level talent like Berenger and Biehn, Iím unsure exactly why the producer didnít go with another same level name. Not saying it wouldíve made this a better movie, but certainly more tolerable.

The movie also features D.B. Sweeney in a small, quick and throwaway role; Tom Sizemore making yet another round in the direct-to-video circuit following an appearance in the truly awful Toxic; Diane Venora as Virgilís wife; and Kelly Hu reminding us how far she has fallen (so far, I didnít even realize it was her until the end credits).

Stiletto isnít exactly an awful film despite flaws with the writing and some laughable accents, but as far as crime drama revenge movies go, itís at the top of the class...



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Thereís nothing here, other than some previews.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The picture (with a 2.35 aspect ratio) on Stiletto is surprisingly filled with a lot of noise, especially with the darker scenes. Also, the black levels looked a bit washed out and between the noise and black levels; I canít think it had anything to do with the directorís stylistic choices, just cheap film. Colors donít quite pop out and really the film fails to even be dark and gritty.

On the positive front, the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, while not the greatest, still sounds pretty good. Dialogue tends to be a little flat at times but Cliff Martinezís score comes through nicely and even ambient background noise was fine.



.::OVERALL::.

I guess you could to worse than Stiletto, but at the same time Iím not sure if itís even worth the time. Thereís a decent idea with this premise (kind of a more serious Kill Bill) but with some questionable acting/accents and dialogue that is pretty laughable, I say just pass this by next time you go to the video store.