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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 6/4/99

1993 (1999) Warner Bros.

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits

Fearless Film Ratings: B+

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 ground?

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 live for.

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.

Todd Doogan
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