DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Jean-Baptiste Leonetti
Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irvine, Hannah Mangan Lawrence, Ronny Cox
Writing Credits:
Stephen Susco

What Began As An Accident Has Become a Deadly Game

A high-rolling corporate shark and his impoverished young guide play the most dangerous game during a hunting trip in the Mojave Desert. MPAA:
Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 6/16/2015

• Audio Commentary with Director Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, Actor/Producer Michael Douglas and Producer Robert Mitas
• “The Making of Beyond the Reach” Featurette
• “Six Wheeling: Inside and Outside the Ultimate Ride” Featurette
• Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Beyond the Reach (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 24, 2015)

After a few comedies aimed at the AARP set such as Last Vegas, Michael Douglas goes for something different via 2015’s Beyond the Reach. Based on the 1972 novel Deathwatch, we meet John Madec (Douglas), a wealthy bigwig who comes to Mojave Desert for an expedition to hunt bighorn sheep. Local Sheriff Robb (Ronny Cox) pairs Madec with Ben (Jeremy Irvine), a college-aged guy who will act as the hotshot’s guide.

After an awkward start, Madec and Ben bond as they head into the stark desert setting. However, fractures emerge in the relationship before too long, partially because Madec treats Ben like little more than hired help.

Matters intensify when Madec takes an impetuous shot at a bighorn that instead turns out to be an elderly man (Martin Palmer). Ben wants to go to the authorities to report this accidental fatality, but Madec prefers to keep the event off the record. We follow their conflicts and see how the struggle evolves.

Not that one should anticipate the world’s most balanced tale. This seems like a cat and mouse story in which we get lots of mouse and not much cat. The movie follows Ben’s side of the narrative most of the time, and that creates an imbalance from which the film can’t quite recover.

Reach also suffers from a frequent lack of logic. The basic premise doesn’t make a ton of sense, and matters become less and less sensible as they progress.

For instance, to stick with the story, we have to swallow the notion that Sheriff Robb would accept Madec’s word over Ben’s. Why would that occur? Why would Robb listen to some hot-headed stranger over a reliable, stand-up kid he’s known for years?

Because the poorly thought-out plot would collapse otherwise – that’s the only reason this contrivance and others exist. Reach takes the easy way out in terms of narrative complications and doesn’t try too hard to make them realistic. I don’t think it would’ve been too hard to find more believable story points, but the filmmakers fail to go that way, as instead they opt for cheap and head-scratching.

This means that while Reach works reasonably well during its first act, it becomes less and less enjoyable as it goes. Given the nature of the tale, that seems like the opposite of the way it should be. A thriller like this should start slowly and build toward its drama, whereas the opposite occurs. The movie loses steam as it progresses and leaves the viewer fairly uninterested by the time it finally gets to its destination.

At least Douglas seems to enjoy himself. Madec essentially feels like a more psychotic update on Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko, and Douglas appears happy to get to play such a vivid personality. Madec is too one-dimensional to become as memorable as Gekko, but it’s fun to see the actor let loose.

Too bad this occurs in service of such a flawed film. The movie’s basic set-up shows promise but the filmmakers can’t figure out how best to showcase the material.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Beyond the Reach appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. No notable concerns cropped up here.

Overall sharpness remained good. A smattering of wider elements could seem a little soft, but those didn’t create real distractions. Instead, the movie tended to be accurate and concise. I noticed no shimmering or jaggies, and the film lacked edge haloes or source flaws.

Given the desert setting, the palette opted for a fairly yellow/sandy look, though Reach did the Modern-Day Hollywood thing and featured a fair amount of teal as well. Within stylistic choices, the hues looked fine. Blacks were deep and dense, while low-light shots depicted appropriate clarity. The image seemed to be more than satisfactory.

Though not quite as good, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack suited the story. For the most part, this was a subdued affair, as the stark desert setting didn’t require much auditory ambition.

However, a handful of action sequences used the various speakers in a broad, interactive manner that added good life to the circumstances when necessary. These included gunshots as well as some explosions and other fireworks. At those times, the five channels created an immersive impression.

Audio quality worked well. Music was full and rich, while speech appeared distinctive and criso. Effects offered solid clarity and range, with nice low-end at times. I felt this became a “B” soundtrack.

The disc’s extras open with an audio commentary from director Jean-Baptiste Leonetti, actor/producer Michael Douglas and producer Robert Mitas. (Note that Douglas participates in roughly the first two-thirds of the commentary and then leaves,) All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the source novel and its adaptation, other character/story areas, cast and performances, locations and set/prop design, stunts, visual choices and related topics.

Expect a good but not great commentary. On the positive side, we get a nice variety of subjects, and we learn a reasonable amount about the production. However, the chat simply lacks a ton of real substance/insight; it gives us a competent take on the film but not one that excels.

Two featurettes follow. The Making of Beyond the Reach goes for 12 minutes, two seconds and offers notes from Douglas, Mitas, Leonetti, location manager Dennis Muscari, and actor Jeremy Irvine. We learn about the source novel and its adaptation, story/character areas, cast and performances, locations, and vehicles. “Making” offers a handful of decent notes but it tends to be fairly superficial.

During the 10-minute, 27-second Six Wheeling: Inside and Outside the Ultimate Ride, we hear from Mitas and Mercedes USA “exclusive vehicles” manager Branden T. Cote. The show looks at the six-wheeled SUV used in the movie. It’s essentially an advertisement for Mercedes.

The disc begins with ads for The Homesman, Basic Instinct, Cymbelline and <>Maggie. No trailer for Reach appears here.

A riff on the classic The Most Dangerous Game, 2015’s Beyond the Reach comes with potential that it fails to exploit. The movie starts well enough but fizzles as it goes, mostly due to a lack of logic and poor pacing. The Blu-ray offers good picture and audio along with decent supplements. Outside of a lively performance from Michael Douglas, Beyond the Reach lacks much to make it worthwhile.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main