The Highwayman

The Highwayman (1999)
Studio Home Entertainment (Sterling)
Cast: Jason Priestley, Louis Gosset Jr., Laura Harris, Stephen McHattie
Extras: Commentary track, Featurette, Trailer, Biographies

In an attempt to create a mixture of a movie somewhere between ’Pulp Fiction’ and ’Kalifornia’, ’The Highwayman’ is a release from Sterling Home Entertainment that got a surprisingly rich treatment by the publisher despite its little stature.

Breakfast (Jason Priestley) is a jewelry store thief on the brink of madness. One day he and his accomplice Panda are offered the ultimate coup through tip-off by a store’s cashier, Ziggy (Laura Harris). All Ziggy wants in return is a ride to meet her long-lost father. After the successful heist the three are on their way, but things get hairy when it turns out that her father has a score to settle and has the cops right on his heels.

’The Highwayman’ is presented in a non-anamorphic widescreen version in the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Without speckles, grain or blemishes, the transfer comes from a clean source. Colors in the transfers are strong nicely rendered, while blacks are deep and solid. The film has an intentionally cold look with lots of steel-blue hues, all of which are faithfully reproduced in the transfer. No signs of edge-enhancement are visible in the transfer, giving it a very natural look. The compression is also without flaws, maintaining a high level of detail throughout the presentation.

The disc contains a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital as well as a Dolby surround track. The audio has been well produced and sounds very natural. Good use of the surrounds is achieved with some great directional effects. The bass extension has a naturally sounding roll-off that is adding to the experience.

Although not marked as a special edition per se, the disc also contains a commentary track by director Keoni Waxman and actor Jason Priestley. It is an engaging track with quite a bit of interesting details. A 10 minute behind-the-scenes featurette is also part of the disc, featuring cast interviews and of course many clips from the movie. The movie’s theatrical trailer and biographies round out this DVD.

The bad thing about the movie is that it never knows what it wants to be. Never as satirical as ’Pulp Fiction’ and never as impactful as ’Kalifornia’ the film hovers somewhere without real motivation. Despite the lots of gunplay, the film never manages to truly engage the audience and in fact begins to turn off through its crude and senselessly violent nature.