Shiner (2000)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Michael Caine, Martin Landau, Frances Barber
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

In director John Irvin’s film ’Shiner’ Michael Caine is going back to a much darker role than he’s played in many years. As Billy ’Shiner’ Simpson he plays an ambitious boxing promoter who will do anything to finally make the big time. He feels life betrayed him by throwing one hurdle after another in his way and by making him the target of countless injustices. His own, boxing-talent son finally is his ticket out of the Hell of his life – or so he thinks. But on the biggest and proudest day of his life, it seems the world is once again collapsing on top of him. Desperately he will do anything to avoid it… with violence if need be.

’Shiner’ comes to DVD through Buena Vista Home Entertainment in its 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The image is very clean and free of defects and the color reproduction is vibrant and natural. Blacks are well defined, giving the image good depth and the contrast of the picture is creating a natural-looking image with well-defined shadows. No compression artifacts are evident.

The DVD contains a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track that is well produced and free of defects or flaws as well. It has a good dynamic range and good fidelity, nicely reproducing the low ends of the spectrum as well as the high ends without distortion. Surround usage is good, though never exaggerated.

Despite its promising premise and cast, ’Shiner’ turns out to be a bit of a disappointment. The movie is developing quite slowly and although the third act culminates in a nice climax, the first hour of the film lacks some of the excitement the movie would need to propel itself forward. Ultimately the film contains too much exposition, ’drama’ and ’self-pity’ and too little thrills or action to make it the powerhouse Buena Vista Home Entertainment would like you to believe it is.