A Common Man Blu-ray Review
Occasionally you’ll be watching a really bad movie, and then out of nowhere a respected member of A.M.P.A.S. who possesses at least one gold statue with a name that’s synonymous for a grouchy Muppet, suddenly appears. Some of these high-brow actors even make a habit out of “slumming it” in films that without their name would probably get rejected for funding faster than a loan application from Wile E. Coyote. Speaking of which, the ACME Corporation must have just opened an entertainment division and signed the incomparable Ben Kingsley (GANDHI), because that’s the only fathomable scenario as to how a film like A COMMAN MAN ever gets made.
In A COMMON MAN, a common man plays terrorist by planting bombs all around the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Unless the Deputy Inspector General (Ben Cross, CHARIOTS OF FIRE) agrees to release four specific prisoners by 6pm, “the man” will detonate the bombs in the very public places he has set them.
This film could have actually made its way into the “awesomely-bad” tier of personal DVD collections, but the presence and performance of Kingsley keeps it in a weird limbo that walks a line between “tongue and cheek” and taking itself too seriously. As usual, Kingsley is just being Kingsley, taking any role he’s given and injecting his unique brand of stoic elegance into every line. Unfortunately his character’s motives and ultimate goal have about the same depth and stability as a Slinky coffee mug.
The supposed “twist” the writers were going for and the direction by Chandran Rutnam is revved up like the eventual “reveal” is something that should give the audience a “Keyser Soze” type of moment. Well maybe not that ambitious, but at least a more shocking outcome than what could be guessed by any high school student competent enough to get the free points on the SAT’s by filling in their name.
Also, the film is absolutely void of any sub plot or even vaguely interesting supporting characters. The only other notable performance in A COMMON MAN is that of another Oscar winner, Ben Cross. And the only reason it’s notable is because of how horrendous it is. Cross is pretty much just a glorified “extra” in this film, serving as background noise and exerting the minimal effort needed to get through his scenes.
Even with the more-than-adequate amount of gaffs that make up this film, it manages to achieve one that ironically separates A COMMON MAN from being just another commonly bad film ― the voices are dubbed. Yes you read that correctly, an all English film spoken in 100% English seems to be completely dubbed over. Now of course Kingsley and Cross provide their own voice for the tracks, but as far as anyone else goes, who knows? And obviously it’s bad dubbing or else it would have never been noticed in the first place. It’s just the icing on the cheap discount store birthday cake that everyone takes one bite of and covertly spits it out in their napkin.
Ben Kingsley’s career will assuredly survive A COMMON MAN as he has some of the other odd role choices he’s made over the years. But the main reason it will barely scuff the luster on his legacy is because hardly anyone will ever pay it any attention in the first place. The only true inherent danger of the film being released is that the country of Japan will think we have devoted an entire movie to making fun of the old Godzilla films, and we didn’t even have the common decency to put in a proper monster.
A COMMON MAN BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1.85:1 Widescreen, 1080p/AVC MPEG-4: The only thing this film couldn’t screw up was the clarity of the today’s digital equipment. The film is very crisp with fine detail and the colors are quite vibrant with great black levels.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1: Well, at least there was no one humming in the film so there was no chance for the music to be off sync.
There are no bonus features except any drinking games you can create with the horrendous dubbing.