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James Cullen Bressack
Kevin Dillon, Mel Gibson, Shannen Doherty
Writing Credits:
Collin Watts, Leon Langford

While an ex-hacker must break into high-level banking institutions, a cop must try to penetrate the booby-trapped building to get the IT rep off the hot seat.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Brazilian Portuguese
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 8/9/2022

• Trailer


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Hot Seat [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 16, 2022)

With Bruce Willis now retired from acting, a vacuum exists that leaves open room for a new King of the Direct to Video Thriller. Via 2022 entries like Agent Game and now Hot Seat, Mel Gibson appears determined to grab that crown.

Orlando Friar (Kevin Dillon) works as an IT specialist. Eventually he finds himself the pawn of a mysterious force who wants Orlando to use his skills to steal digital funds or suffer severe consequences.

As part of this method of coercion, Orlando winds up in a chair booby-trapped with explosives that will detonate if he leaves the location. While complications mount, bomb squad expert Wallace Reed (Gibson) comes onto the scene to assist.

Boy, that sounds awfully reminiscent of 1994’s classic Speed, doesn’t it? I’m sure the resemblance is totally coincidental – and by “totally coincidental”, I mean “completely intentional”.

Not that Seat slavishly copies from the Keanu Reeves hit, as the two take divergent paths in a number of ways. Still, the basic premise of Seat hews more than close enough to that of Speed for the influence to become obvious.

Of course, Speed essentially just reused the Die Hard template, so perhaps I shouldn’t criticize Seat for its derivative nature. Besides, as the durability of the Die Hard premise demonstrated, just because a story shows obvious influences doesn’t mean it can’t click.

Unfortunately, Seat finds nothing interesting to do with its concept. Essentially the basic plot feels less like an organic notion for a thriller and more a way to execute a story on a low budget.

Tales set in extremely limited locations can succeed, of course. Hitchcock did well with restricted settings for movies like Rope and Rear Window, and even a flawed filmmaker like Joel Schumacher turned into a pretty engaging effort.

While I view Schumacher as an inconsistent director, compared to Seat’s James Cullen Bressack, Schumacher looks like… well, Hitchcock. Bressack cranks out direct to video flicks such as this at a pretty brisk clip, and he does nothing to bring spark or personality to them.

As noted, Seat comes with a concept that might be influenced by Speed but that still enjoys taut potential. Unfortunately, Bressack’s inability to find anything beyond clichés makes this a surprisingly dull affair.

Not that Bressack doesn’t attempt to convince us that he provides a thrilling tale. Seat pulls out all the usual cinematic stops, with flashy cutting, insistent music and furrowed brows all around.

These methods seem desperate, as though Bressack lacked confidence in the script and figured he needed to throw everything at the wall to infuse the movie with some signs of life. However, I suspect Bressack becomes the problem, not the screenplay.

No, I won’t claim that the script from Collin Watts and Leon Langford shows great skill, but it comes with the bones of a decent flick. Bressack simply lacks the ability to do anything interesting with the material.

This means he relies on every cinematic gimmick he can find to imply drama and excitement. As often becomes the case, these choices backfire, so the end result seems so over-eager to deliver tension that it quickly turns annoying.

The actors seem to realize that they find themselves in a dog and perform in a corresponding way. That said, Gibson appears more invested than one might expect. Perhaps the massive downturn his career took a while back made him better appreciate whatever roles he could get.

Even Gibson at his peak couldn’t save this train wreck. Predictable, stale and devoid of entertainment value, Hot Seat wastes its potential.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus D-

Hot Seat appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer provided a decent take on the material.

The majority of the movie appeared pretty concise and accurate. Some mild softness impacted the occasional wider shot, but most of the flick seemed accurate and well-defined.

No issues with shimmering or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to materialize.

In terms of palette, the film opted for a heavy teal palette, though some amber popped up as well. It appeared that the disc presented these dominant tones as intended.

Blacks were dark and dense, and shadows showed good clarity, though they could seem a bit murky at times. This was a largely satisfying presentation.

In addition, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack proved more than adequate, though not stellar. Despite the potential for violence, the mix didn’t pack a whole lot of lively material.

Game came with the occasional action scene, mostly when bombs got involved. These offered good punch, and the rest of the mix brought out a nice sense of atmosphere.

Not a lot of created a dynamic soundscape, though. Music fleshed out the surroundings and turned this into an appropriate mix but not one that stood out as impressive.

Audio quality worked fine, with dialogue that appeared natural and concise. Music felt bright and brassy as well.

Effects seemed accurate and lively, with good clarity and punch. This became a perfectly acceptable mix for what the story wanted to do.

The disc includes the film’s trailer and no other extras.

As a riff on the Speed template, Hot Seat boasts the bones of a quality thriller. However, it completely wastes its potential to become a dull, turgid journey. The Blu-ray brings generally positive picture and audio but it lacks bonus materials. This winds up as a forgettable stab at an action flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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