Night Game Blu-ray Review
It may not seem like it to baseball fans, but there was a time when the Houston Astros were consistently good, mostly in the mid-late 1980s. NIGHT GAME is a film that was released in 1989 and makes those winning Astros a part of the story. I’m sure a lot of it had to do with the fact that director Masterson was a Texas native (he also adapted an article from “Playboy” magazine into the Broadway smash (and later a film) THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS. Yee-ha!
The Astros have won another game and Detective Mike Seaver (Scheider) is happy. A long-time fan, when he’s not at a game he’s listening to one on the radio. He’s just gotten engaged to his lady friend Roxy (Allen) and things are looking good all the way around. Seaver’s happiness is interrupted by the phone ringing. Another dead woman found. The celebration can wait.
A standard, by-the-numbers slasher film, NIGHT GAME is hindered by a multitude of problems, most of them having to do with casting. Scheider is solid here, though this film was the last one he did before he remarried, had some kids and finished his career with small parts in independent features and television programs, with the occasional minor role in major projects. This appears to have been a major project for MGM, who was just beginning to go through their money problems. Among the problems in casting are the young, female victims – all who are quite attractive but can’t act to save their lives and Ms. Young, who is very good here but about 20 years too young for Scheider. What’s ironic, and funny to me, a JAWS fan, is that the year before, Young played the wife of Mike Brody in JAWS: THE REVENGE, so basically she’s getting ready to marry her father-in-law. Also problematic is the killer, who we gradually learn about (and who, thanks to the cover art, the audience knows has a hook on the end of one arm). He’s straight out of “Bad Guy 101,” complete with bad dialogue and one of those S-L-O-W walks that makes you wonder how he could catch a turtle let alone someone sprinting away from him.
On the plus side, as I said, Scheider is solid. A big fan of baseball in real life, I’m sure it was one of the things which drew him to the project – kind of like any movie Sean Connery was in where he got to play golf. Masterson makes great use of the Houston skyline as well as the waterside amusement park. He also manages to make the old Houston Astrodome look impressive and bright. See THE BAD NEWS BEARS IN BREAKING TRAINING if you want to see it un-impressive and dull. Masterson even has a little fun by having one of the characters leave a movie theatre where they’ve just seen FULL MOON IN BLUE WATER, an earlier Masterson film that also took place in Texas.
If you’re a fan of Roy Scheider (and who isn’t), this film gives you a nice, fun performance to enjoy. If not, give it a pass.
Video: Presented in its original 1:85.1 aspect ratio, the film is clear but sometimes a little too dark in the nighttime scenes, though the bright lights of Houston make their way through the haze. Daytime shots are bright and clean and the colors well defined.
Audio: The soundtrack is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and is cleanly transferred, though occasionally the “scary” music used to predict a kill manages to overwhelm the scene.
There are no extras on this disc.