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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Bird on a Wire (1990)
(2017 Reissue)


Starring: Mel Gibson, Goldie Hawn, David Carradine and Bill Duke
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £14.99


Certificate: 15
Release Date: 04 April 2016

Rick Jarmin (Mel Gibson) is hiding out in witness protection having a hand in the conviction of a former drug dealing DEA agent, Eugene Sorenson (David Carradine). Having left his life behind the last thing he expects is to accidentally run into his old fiancée Marianne Graves (Goldie Hawn) at the gas station where he works. With his cover blown, and Sorenson freshly released from jail, Jarmin and Graves find themselves on the run...

Bird on a Wire (1990. 1 hr, 50 min, 34 sec) is a screwball comedy action film directed by John Badham (Saturday Night Fever (1977), Blue Thunder (1983), WarGames (1983), Short Circuit (1986)).

In the nineties both Gibson and Hawn were very bankable actors and Badham had a string of successes to his name, so the combination must have seemed like an obvious choice and so it turned out, as the film turned a very healthy profit. What it couldn’t do was garner helpful reviews, probably because this genre of film was way past its sixties heyday.

The biggest problems with the film is its lack of sophistication, which is ok if all you're looking for is a bit of a romp, with car chases, comedy violence and Goldie Hawn screaming, a lot. In the same year, you could have watched David Lynch’s dark comedy, Wild at Heart or the concluding film in the Back to the Future trilogy, leaving Bird on a Wire a very light piece of entertainment.

The basic spine of the story is that Jarmin can’t get in touch with his handler. Unfortunately the person he speaks to at the witness relocation program is in cahoots with Sorenson, who is royally miffed at spending fifteen years behind bars and intends to get his revenge by killing Jarmin. For the story to have somewhere to go, Jarmin and Graves must travel to Wisconsin to retrieve his address book. I'm not sure why you would hide it so far away, but the plot needs a McGuffin and the book is about as sensible as anything else in the film.

The movie is presented with a MPEG-4 AVC codec, resolution 1080p and the original aspect ratio: 2.35:1, audio is a single DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. The film is mostly fine, but it’s obvious from the quality that it looks like Fabulous Films are using an old master for the transfer. The disc does come with some slight extras: Production Notes (8 pages), Cast and Filmmakers: Mel Gibson (3 pages), Goldie Hawn (3 pages), David Carradine (2 pages), Bill Duke (2 pages) and John Badham (3 pages). You also get the Theatrical Trailer (2 min, 40 sec).

It’s a light bit of inoffensive fluff and pretty family friendly.


Charles Packer

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