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Felon - action/adventure DVD review
FELON Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Actors: Stephen Dorff, Val Kilmer, Anne Archer, Sam Shepard, Nick Chinlund, Marisol Nichols
Director: Ric Roman Waugh   Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD release: 12 August 2008   Runtime: 104 minutes (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound - English, French), Subtitles (English, French), The Shark Tank: An Inside Look at Felon, Previews

Ric Roman Waugh's previous double-duty (as writer and director) film was 2001's In the Shadows. That one featured some well-known actors such as James Caan, Matthew Modine and Cuba Gooding, Jr. His newest film, Felon not only has some fine actors - it's a really good movie. It stars Stephen Dorff (Blade, World Trade Center) as family man Wade Porter. He's a hard-working guy trying to build his business and a life with his wife, Laura (Marisa Nichols), and his son, Michael. Things go awry when an intruder breaks into his house and, in defending his family, Wade kills the man. He is convicted of manslaughter and sent to prison.

It seems like a nightmare, but Wade hopes he can just do his time quietly and maybe, just maybe, he and Laura can keep their heads above water financially to weather this storm. But doing time just isn't that simple. Wade has to cope with prison politics. He gets some help with that when his cellmate John Smith (Val Kilmer) shows up. With some guidance from Smith, and learning from his experiences in the yard, Wade adapts.

There are many very believable (and unexpectedly good) performances in this movie. Even though this is from Sony, the $2.9-million budget would lead you to believe it was an indie film. Felon far exceeds what one would expect from a film with a budget paltry by today's hundred-million-dollar standard. The cinematography is solid, though some will have an issue with some of the jump-cuts/shaky-cam elements. It's more similar to an episode of The Shield than, say, Cloverfield. Although not for everyone - it is brutal and violent - the story is strong and the acting is strong, which means the movie holds its own.
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reviewed by Bobby Blades
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