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We Die Young Blu-ray Review

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“We Die Young” is flawed, familiar, but engaging.

Set in a gang ruled neighborhood not far from The White House, “We Die Young” is a crime drama that revolves around a teen boy (Lucas) who works as a drug runner for the powerful MS-13 gang led by Rincon. Lucas feels his life is already lost and he doesn’t want his younger brother to follow in his footsteps so he can have a life of his own. Unfortunately, both Lucas and his brother land in big trouble after a drug delivery goes south much to the chagrin of Rincon (who is on the verge of celebrating his sister’s wedding). Luckily, the brothers get some help from a mute, weathered, drug addicted war veteran (Daniel) struggling with PTSD who just might save their lives.

If “We Die Young” sounds familiar that’s because it is. The film seems to lift countless cliches and stereotypes from crime and gang stories told across multiple mediums. Despite all of that, however, “We Die Young” is a surprisingly watchable, effective and unflinching story about life, death, gangs, family, and violence. I say surprisingly because it’s very rare to see a modern movie with an action star that isn’t atrocious (see any number of disposable Bruce Willis or Steven Seagal made for home video titles).

What really makes the movie work as well as it does is the performances by David Castañeda who steals the show as the intimidating and layered Rincon. He grabs your attention in every scene he is in and makes you forget about all the cliches swirling around him. As for Jean-Claude Van Damme, he gives a very quiet, down-to-earth and subtle performance that ranks among one of his best. You can argue his character feels out of place and slotted in for mere star power, but his character is still integral to the story nonetheless.

One major drawback of the movie is the direction by Lior Geller (who also co-wrote the film with Andrew Friedman), the editing by Tal Keller and the cinematography by Ivan Vatsov. It’s a very choppy movie filled with cuts, shaky cam, and overexposed light. It can be a distracting eye-sore to be sure.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. How does it look? However you may feel about the stylized cinematography, this is a decent hi-def transfer.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? Personally, I thought the track was a bit low in spots, but it’s still a quality 5.1 track.

Extras:
* Digital copy
* Lionsgate trailers including one for “We Die Young.”
* “On The Set Of We Die Young”- A 10 minute collection of set footage.
* A storyboard-to-screen comparison.
* Commentary by Lior Geller, Elijah Rodriguez and Nicholas Sean Johnny.

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April 1, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | ,

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