Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 6/4/99
1993 (1999) Warner Bros.
review by Todd Doogan,
special to The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B/A-/F
Specs and Features
122 mins, R, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, single-layered,
Snapper case packaging, film-themed menu screens, scene access (32
chapters), languages: English & French (DD 2.0), subtitles:
none, Close Captioned
Why is it, that in
life affirming films, people have to die? I could never figure that
out? That, and why love stories are always about couples who really
shouldn't be together in the first place, and yet by the end of the
film, these couples come to realize they love each other. Sure they
love each other, but in a couple of months, they'll be at each
other's necks again. Real love stories, the ones about true love,
would be so boring that no one would want to watch. And that doesn't
make good film going, does it?
Okay, so Fearless is a life
affirming story about Max Klein, a simple man who experiences one of
the worst things ever -- a horrible plane crash. Now, I know it's
gruesome to say, but next to Alive,
this has to be one of the greatest plane crash scenes ever filmed.
My heart was in my throat watching it. It is so visceral, that they
have to spread the crash throughout the entire film. That's where
the dead people come into this life-affirming flick.
Max walks around the crash site like he wasn't even there, and sure
enough, when asked if he was, he just tells the rescue crews he
found a baby. Max walks away from the crash, and the funny thing is,
he does so with only one scratch across his rib cage (which, as he
will observe later, corresponds with a rib scratch given to Christ
on the cross, although nothing is made of this). Max channels his
guilt of surviving into a sense of invulnerability. He doesn't
believe he can be killed. He starts to eat strawberries (which he's
deathly allergic to), he hovers on the edge of tall buildings
laughing like a mad man, and he drives very, very, VERY fast into
brick walls. To an extent, he's right -- he can't be killed, because
none of these things kill him. Why? Is God on his side? Is it simply
the power of the mind, or is he really dead -- having a "life
flashing before his eyes" event before the plane hits the
Max has to find out for himself why he feels he is chosen. And
along the way, he tries to help others who survived the crash -- at
the expense of his life and marriage. Max finds himself drawn to a
young mother (Rosie Perez), who lost her infant son in the crash. At
first she is an emotional cripple, but Max shows her what she has to
Fearless is a good movie. It's
not great, but it's okay for what it is. Jeff Bridges brings a lot
of power to the role of Max. In a way, he's playing his Starman
character again, with more of a surly attitude. Many of my "educated"
and "enlightened" friends love this film. They always site
the car crash scene as a selling point - "you have to see this
flick". I didn't walk away from the film with it being one of
my faves. It's watchable, and it does have some great scenes, but
overall I feel like the film ends up empty. Maybe there is too much
emotional drain. The acting is all good, and I feel that I know some
of the characters. Still, by the end, there was just too much going
on. But maybe that's the cost of doing something of this magnitude.
Maybe you can't blow up a plane, and follow a man through a crisis
like this, without cramming too much in.
Other than the film's worth, I don't know why I'm reviewing this
disc. But here I am anyway. Why the pissy attitude? Well, it's one
of those damn value packs from Warner. There's nothing to this
thing, and this is a beautiful looking film, that at the very least
deserved a nice widescreen transfer. As it turns out, we have a less
than stellar full frame transfer. It looks okay, but on the big
screen, this film rocks. Next point of pissy - the sound is 2.0,
which is alright, but with all the sound effects in the film, a
better surround mix would have been much appreciated. Lastly, there
isn't one extra -- select a scene, select a language or play the
movie, that's it.
Fearless ends up becoming a
digital videocassette on DVD, and I would have liked better for this
film. The plane crash, the cornfield, and the cityscapes deserved to
look better on DVD. As it stands, it's just a basic-issue disc, good
enough for some -- but not good enough for the rest of us.