6/04/2010

DVD Review: The Stranger (2010)



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In Anchor Bay's The Stranger, wrestler Steve Austin may not have any idea who he actually is but in between his amnesiac “Dissociative View Fugue States,” he does manage to remember one very important phone number that sets him back on the path home when he calls his old psychiatrist Grace.

Unwilling to let down her patient even though the bewildered man hangs up on her, Grace (Erica Cerra) recognizes the cry for help in a man whom she was only told was an FBI informant working in the Russian Mob.



Yet in between time spent on the street as a homeless transient, running Mexicans across the border or working on a fishing boat as any of the many personalities his subconscious invents for himself to keep him alive, trouble invariably follows Austin's stranger along the way. And in the midst of the action, we realize along with our lead that he possesses lethal skills that indicate he may have had a greater FBI role than that of mere informant.



And with both the FBI and the mobsters closing in on him, Austin's ever-changing character goes on the lam with Grace unsure whom they can trust after he has a violent reaction to Grace's ally in the bureau, played by Adam Beach. Beginning to recall bits and pieces of the explosive trauma that has rendered him mentally lost, the stranger proves to be more dangerous than ever as he gets closer to his old Seattle stomping ground.

While obviously without a star that possesses the acting chops to pull off a multitude of characters in one film, director Robert Lieberman's Stranger fails to live up to its status as a B-movie hybrid of The Fugitive and Bourne Identity.



And when you couple this with a few plot twists that you see coming long before either lead character does in the overly convenient, clich├ęd ending that prefers to tell us the things it should've shown us in a unique way given the film's earlier psychobabble and need for a payoff for Austin's plight, you have a barely passable “out for vengeance” entry.

Bolstered slightly by Lauro Chartrand's impressive stunt coordination and a unique spin on the “who is the mole?” plot-line given to our cognitively unreliable lead, while The Stranger may make a fairly weak DVD impression despite setting itself up for a possible sequel, it does have enough going for it to provide ample entertainment for a Spike Channel movie for guys event.




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FTC Disclosure: Per standard professional practice, I received a review copy of this title in order to evaluate it for my readers, which had no impact whatsoever on whether or not it received a favorable or unfavorable critique.