Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jesse Metcalfe, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Douglas, Joel Moore, Orlando Jones, Lawrence P. Beron, Sewell Whitney, David Jensen, Sharon London, Krystal Kofie, Randal Reeder, Ryan Glorioso, Jon Mccarthy, Grant James, Eric Gipson
Written by: Peter Hyams, based on a screenplay by Douglas Morrow
Directed by: Peter Hyams
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for a sex scene, violence and brief strong language
Running Time: 105
Date: 07/10/2009

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)

1 Star (out of 4)

Tried and Failed

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This remake of Fritz Lang's 1956 film saw a tiny theatrical release before going straight to DVD, and considering the recent track record of director Peter Hyams (A Sound of Thunder, The Musketeer, End of Days, etc.), there's no surprise that it's bad. (Hyams is giving Uwe Boll a run for his money.) Jesse Metcalfe stars as C.J., a TV journalist who is tired of puff stories. He stumbles upon the idea that the District Attorney Mark Hunter (Michael Douglas) is crooked, planting DNA evidence to win court cases and angle himself for a career as mayor. Unable to find proof, C.J. sets himself up as a murderer, waiting for a real unsolved murder and then planting all kinds of evidence that points toward himself. Once in court, he hopes to reveal his scheme to the world, but his plan backfires. Amber Tamblyn co-stars as Ella, who works for the D.A. but falls for C.J., and Joel David Moore is C.J.'s wisecracking cameraman. Hyams takes a perfectly good story and kills it with logic loopholes, inconsistent character behavior, horrendous, headache-inducing cutting, and a number of brainless chase scenes. Orlando Jones rounds things out as an uncharacteristically serious cop.

DVD Details: Anchor Bay released the DVD in 2009, with an audio commentary track by Hyams and Metcalfe and a couple of making-of featurettes. The real shame is that Lang's version was not also released at the same time. It remains AWOL on home video.

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