'Beyond The Reach' [Blu ray]
(Michael Douglas, Ronny Cox, Jeremy Irvine, et al / Blu ray / NR / 2015 / LGF)
Overview: A high-rolling corporate shark and his impoverished young guide play the most dangerous game during a hunting trip in the Mojave Desert.
Blu ray Verdict: There's always been a cinematic allure of two men engaging in a high stakes battle of wits. 'Beyond The Reach' has a simple premise, but manages to still produce an interesting, and suspenseful movie. The desert setting gives a specific barren and demanding background for survival of the fittest. Unfortunately, the movie loses momentum at its midway point as the plot holes begin mounting up against them. These illogical scenes hamper any suspense the movie has built up from the first half, and unless audiences have generous suspension of disbelief, the last act is completely underwhelming.
Simply put, 'Beyond The Reach' follows two men as they both hunt in the desert. Ben (Jeremy Irvine) is a guide for Madec (Michael Douglas) and right from the start they don't mesh together that well. When an accident happens, their interests clash and things escalate out of control. For the role of powerful ambitious man, Michael Douglas can't be a bad cast as he has repeatedly performed well as such a character in many other movies. However, the script gives his character several bad decisions which are contradicting his action aspects just five minutes previous.
Anyway, Jeremy Irvine is a good actor and also performed admirably in both 'War Horse' and the brilliant 'Woman in Black 2.' He's a decent cast, and in the first half of the movie it's easy to relate to his ordinary character (Ben). But problems arise after the two men trade trickery for their own interests. While the battle of old versus young and the gap of technology might produces a few thrilling moments, the rest of the plot suffers from irrational choices. The plot holes culminate in a bizarre last act, which nullifies any buzz it may have produced before that.
Visually, 'Beyond The Reach' is highly presentable; the desert carries the sense of desolation and helplessness adequately. The two main characters don't have the best on-screen spark, though their exchanges of verbal and physical blows are pretty convincing. Their relationships outside their ordeal in the desert aren't well established and as the movie tries to wrap up, these mismatches and irregular plot twists make the ending hard to take it seriously.
In closing, 'Beyond The Reach' is, at its peak, men fighting each other and the elements therein, but unfortunately it doesn't translate well beyond that. And don't get me started on the actual ending! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
"The Making of Beyond The Reach" Featurette
"Six Wheeling: Inside And Outside The Ultimate Ride" Featurette
Audio Commentary with Actor/Producer Michael Douglas, Producer Robert Mitas, and Director Jean-Baptiste Leonetti