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Jay Baruchel
Jesse Williams, Jordana Brewster, Jay Baruchel
Jay Baruchel, Jesse Chabot

A comic book writer begins to notice scary similarities between the character he created and horrific real-life events.
Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 2.38:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 81 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 2/16/2021

• “Interview with Jay Baruchel” Featurette
• “More Than Just a Scary Movie” Featurette
• “Inside the Making of an Action Scene” Featurette


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Random Acts of Violence [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 28, 2021)

Best known as an actor in comedies like She’s Out of My League and This Is the End, Jay Baruchel stayed in his wheelhouse for his directorial debut, 2017’s Goon: Last of the Enforcers. For his second stint behind the camera, Baruchel goes down a darker path with 2019’s Random Acts of Violence.

Todd Walkley (Jesse Williams) enjoys success with Slasherman, his comic book franchise. Along with his wife Kathy (Jordana Brewster), assistant Aurora (Niamh Wilson) and pal Ezra (Baruchel), he road trips from Toronto to New York City for Comic Con to interact with fans.

However, matters turn deadly when one reader takes his affection for Slasherman too seriously and uses it as the basis for a murder spree. Todd needs to confront how his creation led down this avenue and how to stop the killer.

To put it mildly, Baruchel’s directorial debut didn’t go well. While the original Goon worked pretty nicely, Baruchel’s sequel became a leaden dud.

Perhaps the third time will become the charm and Baruchel’s next directorial effort will work. Unfortunately, Acts offers a total clunker.

Acts does live up – or down - to its title, as the movie progresses in a nearly random manner. Actually, that seems unfair, as a narrative does evolve along the way.

However, as presented by Baruchel, the various segments don’t link together in a meaningful way. Instead, it hops from one scene of violence to another without much to connect in a compelling manner.

Really, it often feels as though the filmmakers came up with various graphic kills and attempted to create a narrative around these. We get few attempts at real character or story evolution, as instead, we simply run from one ugly scene to another without much in between to evoke our interest.

It doesn’t help that Acts usually comes across like a cut-rate imitation of 1995’s classic Se7en. We get a similar antagonist as well as “artistically” staged murders and a major moral purpose involved.

This might not seem so bad if Acts possessed a sliver of the drama and urgency and creativity of Se7en. Instead, it just feels like a cheap knockoff, one that attempts to replicate the superficial aspects of the 1995 film without any of the intelligence or depth or artistry.

Baruchel desperately wants Acts to offer a social commentary, with an emphasis on the ways fictional violence impact us. However, it engages these domains in a clunky vein that doesn’t add any real meaning.

Add to this leaden performances and an overwrought score and Acts turns into a bomb. Good serial killer stories hold appeal to me, but this one fails to do anything right.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Random Acts of Violence appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.38:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Heavily stylized, this became a more than adequate presentation.

Sharpness showed some inconsistencies, as the movie occasionally used a diffuse impression that lacked great definition. However, the majority of the movie appeared pretty concise and accurate.

No issues with shimmering or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to materialize.

In terms of palette, the film opted for a heavy teal palette that favored the green side of that equation, and it threw in plenty of orange/red as well. It appeared that the disc replicated these dominant tones as intended.

Blacks were dark and dense, and shadows showed pretty good clarity. A few shots were a bit murky, but most seemed fine. This wasn’t a consistently attractive image, but it was satisfactory and it seemed to reflect the filmmakers’ intentions.

In addition, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack proved satisfactory. Given the movie’s orientation, though, not a lot of fireworks resulted.

Acts came with the occasional “action” scene, mostly on the road or when killings got involved. These offered good punch, and the rest of the mix brought out a nice sense of atmosphere.

Not a lot of created a dynamic soundscape, though. Music fleshed out the surroundings and turned this into an appropriate mix but not one that stood out as impressive.

Audio quality worked fine, with dialogue that appeared natural and concise. Music felt bright and brassy as well.

Effects seemed accurate and lively, with good clarity and punch. This became a perfectly acceptable mix for what the story wanted to do.

A few extras appear here, and An Interview with Jay Baruchel runs 36 minutes, 19 seconds. Conducted by an unnamed guy, writer/director/actor Baruchel discusses what drew him to the project, story/characters and the adaptation of the source, the movie’s gore, cast and performances, music, and Baruchel’s future plans.

Overall, we get a pretty good look at the movie from Baruchel. He gives us his rationale for various domains and makes this an informative reel, albeit a hyperactive one, as Baruchel may need to cut back on the caffeine.

More Than Just a Scary Movie lasts two minutes, three seconds and features Baruchel and actors Jesse Williams, Jordana Brewster, and Niamh Wilson. They offer general movie thoughts in this superficial promo reel.

Finally, Inside the Making of an Action Scene goes for six minutes and brings raw footage from the shoot. It turns into a decent glimpse behind the scenes.

A serial killer story with a twist, Random Acts of Violence enjoys the bones of a clever film. Unfortunately, it lacks insight or intelligence and just becomes a witless collection of graphic sequences. The Blu-ray offers generally positive picture and audio along with a handful of bonus materials. Not much here works.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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