'Double Feature: Avenging Angelo & Shade'
(Sylvester Stallone, Madeleine Stowe, Anthony Quinn, Jamie Foxx, Thandie Newton, et al / DVD / R / 2019 / MVD Marque Collection)
Overview: Sylvester Stallone brings the heat in this action-packed double feature: 'Avenging Angelo' and 'Shade.'
DVD: First up is 'Avenging Angelo' (2002), where action superstar Sylvester Stallone (Rocky, Rambo), stars as Frankie Delano, a tough as nails bodyguard, protecting a mafia kingpin's (Anthony Quinn) daughter (Madeleine Stowe) from being the next hit.
Now this is what is termed a "screwball comedy", my friends! So know going in that's all this movie is. So expect nothing but foolish silliness and just enjoy with bouts of laughter!
If you don't like foolish silliness then don't bother watching this film, because most scenes are funny just because they are so ironic, in truth.
Sylvester Stallone plays the straight man to Madeleine Stowe's zany character and both are great in their roles. I found myself laughing at things I normally would not laugh at, but the timing was perfect and completely caught me off guard.
This was yet another example of how Stallone was moving away from the stereo typical characters he had helped create. Not to say he didn't exactly stockpile any great ones thereafter, but at least he continued to branch out.
Dedicated to the memory of Anthony Quinn, as this was his very last film appearance, to my mind his work on this film was long enough; considering his health and age.
In closing, there's a little mystery thrown into the movie, but if you watch for clues here and there, I'm sure you can solve the mystery long before Stallone does!
The other movie is 'Shade' (2003), where here the hand is quicker than the eye in L.A.'s underground gambling scene. Hustlers get hustled and fortunes ride on every deal.
Three small-time grifters devise a plan to beat the ultimate card mechanic - The Dean (Sylvester Stallone). But a seat at the Dean's table doesn't come cheap.
It's not original, by any means, but it's sharp and has good dialogue and interesting characters. Secondly the cast is excellent. When you think straight to video you think of Eric Roberts, Gary Busey, Dolph Lundgren, Jean Claude Van Damme, headlining and perhaps one or two other recognizable faces.
But this one has a great cast, with Stuart Townsend, Gabriel Byrne, Thandie Newton, Jamie Foxx, Melanie Griffith and of course Sly Stallone.
Townsend is excellent as the mechanic, basically the guy who can manipulate a deck of cards to his advantage, he is the key to the group of grifters consisting of him, Newton, and Byrne.
They have a big score in mind, to take down master cards-man and king of all mechanics, the Dean played by Stallone. Now Byrne and Newton are both excellent, but this is a great role for Stallone.
Sly gives a great performance in this and it's a role that requires an inner depth and a subtlety and Stallone delivers. This is a Widescreen Presentation ('Avenging Angelo,' 2.35:1 - 'Shade,' 1.85:1), both enhanced for 16x9 TVs.