Swelter (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 9, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Swelter” is an enjoyable popcorn action film about revenge and retribution. Don’t expect so much a Van Damme film or anything too deep but do expect a modern western-style action film about a Sheriff vs. a group of criminals that wander to his town and plenty of gun battles galore!
Image courtesy of © 2013 Swelter, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
YEAR OF FILM: 2014
DURATION: 131 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: August 12, 2014
Written and Directed by Keith Parmer
Produced by Eleonore Dailly, Chris Ranta
Co-Produced by Daniele Favilli, Arri Quines
Executive Producer: Nat McCormick, Alan Simpson, Don Simpson
Associate Producer: Maximiliano Czertok, Angelo D’Agostino, Matthew Wolf
Co-Executive Producer: Elias Axume, Marc Bikindou, Jack Campbell
Music by Tree Adams
Cinematography by Michael Mayers
Edited by Martin Bernfeld
Casting by Robin Lippin
Production Design by Michael Fitzgerald
Art Direction by Rodrigo Cabral
Set Decoration by Slobhan O’Brien
Costume Design by Susan Doepner-Senac
Jean-Claude Van Damme as Stillman
Freya Tingley as London
Alfred Molina as Doc
Josh Henderson as Boyd
Grant Blowler as Cole
Lennie James as Bishop
Catalina Sandino Moreno as Carmen
Guy Wilson as Johnny
Arie Verveen as Reverend Joshua Stone
Daniele Favilli as Kane
Ten years ago, a bank-robbing team stole $100 million from a Vegas casino. Not all of them got away. Now, Bishop (Lennie James) is a small-town sheriff, making an honest living… with no memory of his criminal past. But when his old crew rolls into town looking for the loot, the perfect getaway threatens to turn into a nightmare of greed, revenge, and retribution.
From Keith Parmer, the writer/director of “Mob Rules” comes his latest film titled “Swelter”.
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme (“Universal Soldier”, “Kickboxer”, “Double Impact”), Alfred Molina (“Spider-Man 2”, “Chocolat”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”), Josh Henderson (“Step Up”, “Dallas”, “The Girl Next Door”), Grant Bowler (“Defiance”, “Ugly Betty”, “True Blood”), Lennie James (“Snatch”, “Lockout”, “Colombiana”) and Daniele Favilli (“Mob Rules”) as Kane.
The film revolves around a group of criminals who rob a Las Vegas casino of ten million dollars. While the men were caught and arrested, the vicious group which consists of Cole (portrayed by Grant Bowler), Stillman (portrayed by Jean-Claude Van Damme), Boyd (portrayed by Josh Henderson) and Kane (portrayed by Daniele Favilli), have escaped prison and are now in search of their ten million dollars.
Meanwhile, in the small California town of Baker, the town sheriff Gabriel Bishop (portrayed by Lennie James) is concerned with the troubles in his small town and his girlfriend Carmen (portrayed by Catalina Sandino Moreno) and her troubled daughter London (portrayed by Freya Tingley).
As the townspeople are concerned about their sheriff (who refuses to carry a gun for some reason), we start to learn that the sheriff is a man that is not what he seems.
As Baker is a small desert town where most people want to leave, the four robbers are leaving their path of murder in search of the money and find themselves in the town of Baker.
But what happens when they come across Sheriff Bishop?
“Swelter” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the detail of the film is fantastic. Close-ups feature great detail, while colors are vibrant and the overall film features a good layer of grain.
I didn’t notice any problems with picture quality during my viewing. No artifacts or banding issues.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for audio, “Swelter” is presented in English and French DTS-HD Master Audio. Dialogue is crystal clear while action segments with gunshots utilize the surround channels very well. Especially crowd scenes or motorcycle sounds.
Subtitles are in English.
“Swelter” comes with the following special features:
- Interviews – (56:56) Featuring interviews with Jean-Claude Van Damme, director/writer Keith Parmer, Grant Bowler, Josh Henderson, Lennie James and Alfred Molina.
- Trailer – The theatrical trailer for “Swelter”.
“Swelter” comes with a slipcover.
For action film fans, many may wonder if “Swelter” is a Jean-Claude Van Damme action film and while the star may have his moments of action, “Swelter” is more about a group of criminals and Van Damme, we get to see a different side of the actor as he plays the sentimental killer/thief.
“Swelter” seems like a western with its Sheriff sporting the banal sheriff western hat but we start to learn that something is up with Sheriff Bishop as he never carries a gun and for some reason, he is not too afraid of danger.
And as the Sheriff is trying to keep the small town of Baker (yes, the California desert town that you see many cars stuck on the side of road during your trip to Las Vegas) safe. I found it all quite fascinating that the film does try to make Baker a bit mysterious with its community and how everyone wants to desperate leave the small town but can’t, but to see the stylishly dressed murderer/thief’s come into town, it does resemble a modern western in some ways.
Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in “Swelter” but instead of giving him the usual action role, while a gun-toting murderer, he also plays a character that has an emotional connection. If anything, the film focuses on the Sheriff Lennie James and the criminal named Cole. While, the sadistic exchanges of criminality are left to the characters of Boyd and Kane.
“Swelter” works well as a popcorn action film that one shouldn’t expect anything too deep. We know that the storyline will be formulaic and we know the criminals will raise hell before coming face-to-face with the Sheriff, but there is also a twist when you find out more about the Sheriff and his past.
As for the Blu-ray release, the Blu-ray features fantastic picture quality as close-ups of characters look amazing in HD. Colors and overall look of the film and its dreary look of the town of Baker fits with the style of film, while the lossless audio has its moments of immersive moments during gun shot exchanges and the usual crowd ambiance. The special features include interviews with the cast but I found this to be equally interesting as there are moments where the actors mess up talking and they expect the footage to be edited/cut but those scenes are left in the interview.
Overall, “Swelter” is an enjoyable popcorn action film about revenge and retribution. Don’t expect so much a Van Damme film or anything too deep but do expect a modern western-style action film about a Sheriff vs. a group of criminals that wander to his town and plenty of gun battles galore!
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