The Weapon Blu-ray review

The movie opens on a young boy exploring through rubble in a building that has long been abandoned. While digging, he comes across an object he’s never seen in person. “Wait til you see what I found!” he yells to his friends. When he comes out, another boy insists he have it. The boy, Erik (John Whiteley, who had a role in Fritz Lang’s MOONFLEET), refuses and a game of play war begins. Erik and the rival fight over the gun, and in the scramble, it comes loose an Erik accidentally fires a bullet into the other boy, killing him.

The case comes to Captain Mark Andrews (Steve Cochran, 1951’s INSIDE THE WALLS OF FOLSOM PRISON, which inspired Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”), whose investigation leads him to the discovery that the bullet came from the same German gun used in a murder a decade earlier. On the other side of town, Erik’s mother, Elsa Jenner (film noir favorite Lizabeth Scott, whose credits include 1947’s DEAD RECKONING, in which she starred alongside Humphrey Bogart, and 1948’s PITFALL, which found her sharing the screen with Dick Powell), comes home to find policemen outside of her apartment. When she can wait no longer, she searches for her son, desperately calling in the night.

Andrews interrogates Elsa about her husband, a deceased member of the British Army. He explains how key the case is while Elsa stresses that nothing can be more important than finding her son. While Andrews continues with his hunt, a stranger named Joshua Henry (Gregory Cole, who would go on to star in the Leon Griffiths series MINDER) emerges to assist Elsa.

THE WEAPON is a very simple movie that comes from a very simple screenplay. But screenwriters Hal E. Chester (who did uncredited directorial work on the film; his other writing credits include noir CRASHOUT and CURSE OF THE DEMON, which was directed by Jacques Tourneur) and Fred Freiberger (THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS; he would later serve as a producer on STAR TREK and SPACE: 1999) must see their script as something more complex, as they take time to throw in blatantly expository dialogue to ensure the viewer is up to speed—one scene ends with Elsa asking what her son’s disappearance has to do with the U.S. Army and the next begins with her saying, “You still haven’t told me what American Army has to do with my son.”—and also expect viewers to have no idea how this Henry character figures into the story.

THE WEAPON is not without its exciting moments, as in the opening tussle that ends in the boy being shot in front of his friends and the climactic encounter between Andrews and the bad guy. Overall, director Val Guest (1955’s THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT) keeps the film moving at a steady pace (it runs just 78 minutes, so there is no fat) and the leads all give performances that are strong enough to hold interest.

But THE WEAPON ends up being little more than a forgettable effort that is too predictable, too simple and too thin.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: 1.78:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. The overall video quality is quite good, with nice contrast and a consistent layer of grain that maintains the filmic feel.

Audio: English Mono DTS-HD Master Audio. Dialogue and the score are clean.

There are no special features on this release.

OVERALL 1.5
    MOVIE REVIEW
    BLU-RAY REVIEW
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