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Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Rockaway”

(First Look Studios. 78 Minutes. 1 Disc. Color. Widescreen. Rated R. Directed by Joshua and Jeffrey Crook.) Nicholas Gonzalez, Mario Cimarro, Ricardo Chavira. Music by Akwid.

This film tells the story of Trane (Gonzalez), a decorated soldier who returns from Afghanistan intent on avenging the death of his wife and child. Like many straight-to-DVD movies, this is not what you would call “high quality cinema,” but I have seen worse. The script is serviceable, but it’s been done before and better. The writers/directors seemed more concerned about the look of the film, adding inconsistent stylistic touches that should probably have been forgone in order to tell a better story. The acting isn’t terrible, but some of the villains were confusing. So many characters talk about fearing Juju (Cimarro), the neighborhood’s head gangster, but he just comes off as goofy and in need of a haircut. When he does finally do something fearful, he makes himself physically sick. The movie tries to become philosophical later on, drawing parallels between Trane’s and Russian gangster Ivan’s experiences in Afghanistan, but only serves to muddle up what little plot there is. Stylistically, the movie sports middling action sequences and some unnecessarily gory special effects (imagine someone hitting a Ziploc bag full of fake blood with a shovel) which, while somewhat impressive given the budget, look very fake. No special features to speak of, except for trailers for other, terrible-looking movies. More style than substance.