Waist Deep (2006)

Genre(s): Action / Crime / Drama
Focus Features || R - 97 minutes - $29.98 || October 10, 2006
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2006-10-05


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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

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Vondie Curtis-Hall
Writer(s): Vondie Curtis-Hall (screenplay) and Darin Scott (screenplay), Vondie Curtis-Hall (story)
Cast: Tyrese Gibson, Meagan Good, Larenz Tate, The Game


Theatrical Release Date: June 23, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • "Going Deep: Analysis of a Scene" Featurette
  • "Drive-By Filmmaking" Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Music Video


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

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Note: Images not taken directly from DVD.

“Wasted potential,” is probably the two words I thought of the most while watching Waist Deep. The story itself is fairly easy to follow and has been done countless times. O2 (Tyrese Gibson) has his son kidnapped by a gangster named Big Meat (The Game). Big Meat believes that O2 has some money stashed away that belongs to him so he tells O2 that he will give him back his son if he can give him $100,000 in the next two days. While O2 is looking for $100,000, he gets help from Coco (Meagan Good) who knows some of the ins and outs of the streets. Now this storyline can be traced back all the way to those 1970’s B movie action films that typically starred Charles Bronson or a similar type of actor. It’s clear that this film is attempting to mimic that type of film. However, the film falls flat on its face because of a poor story structure thanks to a weak script.

The performances in the film are actually on par with B level movies so that wasn’t the problem. Gangster rapper The Game actually does a very good job as the main villain in the film. However, Director Vondie Curtis Hall does not capitalize on the fact that The Game actually has some great screen presence. This goes back to the idea of wasted potential. Tyrese also turns in a very good performance as O2. Gibson hasn’t really had too many films to show off a great deal of emotion but this film displays the fact that Gibson could in fact be a solid dramatic actor. With the exception of Baby Boy and parts of Four Brothers, Tyrese hasn’t been able to show off any emotional depth but as I mentioned, he looks to have great potential in the future. Newcomer Meagan Good actually shows quite a bit of potential in this film and will likely get some good films in the future. Rounding out the cast is Larenz Tate as O2’s brother Lucky and Henry Hunter Hall as Junior, O2’s son. Now perhaps my biggest or one of the biggest problems with the film is Junior. The actor they chose for the role is quite frankly, not very good. Normally that would be ok for a child actor but the problem is that Junior has several key emotional scenes (particularly at the end) that he just doesn’t pull off. I believe the blame lies solely on the director for that. If one is going to cast a young actor, you better be sure that he or she is able to deliver those lines that you need in a convincing manner and unfortunately, we don’t get that in the film.

Another problem with the film is that a lot of what happens seems too convenient in the film. For example, we see Coco and O2 decide to rob a series of banks (an ode to Bonnie and Clyde) in a montage. However, the way they go about robbing these banks is way too relaxed and the fact that the police aren’t able to get to them is in my eyes, a joke. In one of the robberies, O2 is standing right in front of the security camera with no mask on and gets away to rob 2 more banks. In another scene, Coco and O2 decide to break into a mansion to stash what they have stolen from the banks. They just casually break into the house and stay there as if everything is ok. At one point, the cops even show up but the scene is laughably bad.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the film is the script. The “big showdown” or “climax” between Big Meat and O2 happens way too soon in the film. I thought that they had a great villain in Big Meat and they could have milked him out for more scenes than they had. After the big showdown, the film actually goes into another direction that could have resulted in a darker ending. I actually thought the ending would have been great if they had kept it. I won’t go into detail but instead of an unconventional, dark ending, we get a conventional and well…crappy ending which is once again, laughably bad. Once more, it was wasted potential.

Now the film has several good scenes scattered here and there. I thought the actual carjacking/kidnapping scene in the beginning was done very well from a technical as well as a cinematic standpoint. There is also a scene towards the middle of the film where Coco and O2 talk about their pasts and we see flashbacks inter-cut into the scene for a nice effect. Like I mentioned before, I liked all the scenes with The Game. I am not saying he is all of a sudden Al Pacino but given the right story and a better script, I think The Game has some good potential to be an actor.

Overall, the film is well made from a technical standpoint. Director Vondie Curtis Hall does a solid job of capturing the scenes he needed for the film. However, the actual scenes he gets for the most part aren’t very good. As a viewer, it made me frustrated all throughout the film that it could in fact be a solid B movie had the script been better and had the director made some changes structurally. The potential was there but unfortunately, no one decided to capitalize on it.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Deleted Scenes (~10:00) - The only new scenes involve police officers searching for Coco and O2. I actually thought that would have been an interesting angle to take the film from but that all fits in with wasted potential. The rest of the scenes are basically just extended sequences we already saw in the film. There are also 3 minutes of outtakes from the film included here.

Analysis of a Scene - Director Vondie Curtis Hall along with his cinematographer and stunt coordinator talk about how they filmed the carjacking/kidnapping scene in the beginning of the film. As I mentioned earlier, this is actually one of the better scenes in the film so it’s interesting to watch. However, clocking in at about 5 minutes, this extra hardly goes into as much detail as it could have for a scene that looked fairly complex to shoot.

Drive-By Filmmaking (~7:00) - In this extra we get to see an apparatus designed to help the filmmakers capture the car chase scenes more convincingly. Its basically a small car attached to the actual car and is controlled by the stunt driver. It’s an interesting technique that I think more and more films are beginning to use.

The last extra is a music video from the music group Black Buddafly featuring rapper Fabolous.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

The video transfer is actually quite good for the most part. The aspect ratio is 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. There were a few scenes here and there that I thought were a little too dark but for the most part, the film actually looks quite good for a smaller budgeted film.

The audio is also fairly good. The film’s soundtrack is basically nothing but rap music and the bass we hear comes off quite well in the Dolby Digital 5.1. It surprised me that Terence Blanchard did the score for the film because I barely even heard any traditional score. Blanchard is one of the most underrated film composers working today and I thought that they underused him greatly on the films soundtrack.



.::OVERALL::.

As I mentioned before, the film was a great example of wasted potential. There was an opportunity to make a good genre film but the lack of any depth and a ridiculous script prevented that from happening. The extras are fairly weak for the most part as well. I thought they could have gone into more depth in terms of how they shot some of the scenes as well as some more interviews with the cast and crew. The audio and video were both fairly good but nothing that blew me away. In the end, I think this film had the opportunity to be a dark, unconventional cross between those old B movies mixed in with a touch of Bonnie and Clyde. Instead, we get a conventional film with wasted potential and a ridiculous ending.