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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Night Game [Blu-ray]

 

(Peter Masterson, 1989)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: MGM

Video: Olive Films

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:35:45.740

Disc Size: 22,898,902,478 bytes

Feature Size: 22,776,416,256 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.98 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 31st, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2083 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2083 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 /
48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• None

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Night Game is a sweetly irreverent, low-key comedy which is also an engaging crime thriller. Mike Seaver Roy Scheider, an ex-ballplayer who's now a homicide detective with the Galveston police, has to solve some vicious grappling-hook murders, somehow linked to hometown-wins by the Houston Astros baseball team. Engaged to cute, young, blonde concession-owner Roxy Karen Young, Steve must juggle his romance with Roxy while at the same time watching out for her. Roxy is just the type of woman who the murderer stalks, brutally murdering them and leaving their bodies by the boardwalk where Roxy manages her concession with her mother Alma Carlin Glynn. While the premise of the plot is somewhat hard to believe, the entire cast turns in solid performances as colorful, offbeat characters. The script, by Spencer Eastman and Anthony Palmer is well-written and highly amusing with a level of gallows wit uncommon in a crime thriller. The climax, although obvious to all but the most unsophisticated movie-goer, doesn't spoil the fun of this unusual film which is stylishly staged and sufficiently gripping.

 

 

The Film:

It’s a game of cat and mouse for Roy Scheider (The French Connection, Sorcerer) in Night Game. Cast as Mike Seaver, a Galveston police detective, Scheider’s in hot pursuit of serial killer terrorizing the city. When a string of murders is linked to night baseball games at the Astrodome, it’s Seaver (a former minor league player) pulling together clues and racing against time to prevent yet another murder.

Night Game co-stars Lane Smith (Red Dawn, The Mighty Ducks), Karen Young (9 ˝Weeks, The Sopranos) and Richard Bradford (The Untouchables) in a film directed by Peter Masterson (Blood Red, Full Moon in Blue Water) from a screenplay written by Spender Eastman and Anthony Palmer, based on a story by Eastman.

 

Night Game is probably the most leisurely paced of the serial-killer thrillers, and it's both a strength and a weakness -- the latter in that the film lacks all-encompassing suspense, and the former in that a good deal of flavor and color are garnished onto the proceedings. The setting is the resort town of Galveston, Texas, and the baseball-loving citizens are Houston Astros-crazy this time of year. And so is someone else -- a fiend who kills pretty blonde women with one fell swoop of his hand with a hook-like instrument in it; he carries this out right after the Astros win a home night game when a particular pitcher plays. The forensic evidence is yielding very little, and due to a recession the governor's office is particularly eager to have the murders solved to help out an already-depletive tourist trade. Roy Scheider plays the sergeant in charge of the case, and plays him well. Always personable but occasionally a tad too taciturn for his own good in previous roles, here he's loose and focused and also funny when the script demands, thus forgoing the typical tough-cop characterization that can almost always be counted on to bore an audience to tears. The screenplay by Spencer Eastman and Anthony Palmer occasionally gives the character some non-homicidal matters to deal with, with some of it interesting, some of it not. There's his recent engagement to a much-younger woman and his trysts with her disapproving mother that are revealing of character, but another subplot involving a corrupt county sheriff's penchant for running call girls on the side is extraneous and included, one suspects, because the writers couldn't come up with enough context to fill in the serial-killer plot.

Excerpt from Jack Sommersby at eCritic located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Night Game is the recipient of another modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. It is single-layered but has a decent bitrate for the 1.5 hour flic. Some of the film stock used in the 80's did not have a particularly extensive lifespan but this looks solid. The black levels do seem decent and we can see textured grain frequently. It's actually a shade thick but I'm sure a decent replication of its original theatrical appearance. I did not a bit of noise - but it wasn't egregious and only in the one scene. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over SD and it was clean and consistent throughout.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS-HD 2.0 channel mono track at 2083 kbps services the film reasonably well. We have some potent screams with depth and probably as good as the original production allowed. The score by suspense-maestro Pino Donaggio (Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double) is fairly subtle and runs beside the film creating an escalating-ly tense aura.  There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with many of their releases.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Night Game may be a tad better than I was anticipating - and I'll chock that up to Scheider. It was interesting to see a fusion of sports and murder - a combination we don't see often. Sure, it had some weaknesses but it held together enough fro me to finish my viewing... and bother reviewing. I did note it as unusual to have so many overtly sexy females in the film - most of whom see their final lines to the killer. The Olive Blu-ray is adept but the bare-bones status prohibits a recommendation for value to all but the die-hard 80's horror genre fans or those keen on Roy Scheider. We won't endorse although it is a film I may re-watch in a weak moment. It's poor but not that poor. 

Gary Tooze

March 25th, 2015

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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