Swelter Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Alfred Molina, Josh Henderson
  • Director: Keith Parmer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: August 12, 2014
  • Run Time: 118 minutes


            It is quite apparent that filmmaker Keith Parmer is attempting to emulate Quentin Tarantino with his sophomore feature, Swelter. The beginning opens like so many other Tarantino imitators, with a heist and convoluted postmodern editing that introduces characters with freeze frame title information. Then the film moves from crime thriller to western, segmenting rather than blending the genres. This makes for an overly confusing first act, before finally settling into a predictable modern western cliché.


            This western storyline culminates in a crappy western town just outside of Las Vegas. After four men (Jean-Claude Van Damme, Josh Henderson, Grant Bowler and Daniele Favilli) are released (or escaped) from prison after being caught in a casino robbery, they hunt down the fifth member of their gang and the $100 million missing from the heist. Bishop (Lennie James) suffered injury during their escape, resulting in amnesia that gave him a fresh start as the sheriff of the small town. Unfortunately, the former members of his gang are unwilling to accept lack of memory as a reason for their money being missing, leading to an inevitable showdown.


            The interesting thing about the filmmakers imitating Tarantino is the fact that he himself relies on a previously established understanding of genre, borrowing from his favorites to compile his own narratives. As a result, Swelter feels more like a copy of a copy than it does anything original. This combined with the fact that the film takes itself too seriously and has a few too many defective supporting cast members makes Swelter an inadequate crime film. Say what you will about Tarantino, but he has never made a film quite this humorless, even when dealing with far more serious topics.


            The Blu-ray release of Swelter includes interviews with key cast and crew members, as well as a trailer and optional French language dubbing.


    Entertainment Value: 6.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 4.5/10

    Historical Significance:  2/10

    Special Features: 3.5/10

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