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"This is indeed the best action movie of 2000. Even though it was not realeased in theatre's, it is clearly a great action film. As the film opens, an undercover cop watches his partner blown away in an undercover deal gone bad. He quits the department and leaves to be with his girlfriend who has given him a second chance, but along the way, he gets shot at, chased, and winds up wanted by police and a gang of assassins who think he's someone else. By the time the film ends, you've seen a great action movie with a good plot. Thats usually hard to find."
Marcel McGuire | Massillon, OH United States | 09/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A Better Way To Die is a action-packed,dark-comedy about a ex-chicago-cop named "Boomer" who quits the force after his partner is killed in a undercover drug bust by ruthless gangters, and desides to go up north to wire things up with his estranged girlfriend, but on the way he gets robbed,shot at,beaten,framed,and his girlfriend killed in the process, and is mistakenly identified as a missing FBI agent the Chicago mob and corrupt FBI agents are trying to track down which leads Boomer to a quest of bloodshed and revenge. A Better Way to die is the best action-packed film of the year 2000, and its dark humor and hilarious gun fights and won't leave viewers disapointed. I highly recommend A BETTER WAY TO DIE."
A hidden treasure. Where did this come from?
Joe J Barclay | Chula Vista, CA | 08/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Boomer (Scott Wiper) is tired of all the violence in his job and the city that he lives in. He decides to quit the police force and return home to a small town and his girlfriend (Natasha Henstridge). On the way home he is mistaken for a government operative and becomes the target of several hitmen and a government agent (Lou Diamond Phillips).After reading nothing but great reviews everywhere I looked, I decided to finally pick up this movie and I was not disappointed. This is a movie all action fans will love. There is also a great plot and the story serves up several twists and turns. The great thing is not many of them are predictable. This film was written, directed and stars Scott Wiper. He has also put together a great cast including Andre Braugher, Joe Pantoliano, Natasha Henstridge and Lou Diamond Phillips. I can't wait to see more of his work.The DVD is presented in 16 X 9 anamorphic Widescreen and in DD 5.1 surround. The only downside it that there is not much in the way of suppliments. There is a commentary by Scott Wiper and the theatrical trailer."
"Get with the program, kid....or get the hell out."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 11/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Written and directed by Scott Wiper (Pearl Harbor), who also stars, A Better Way to Die (2000) features Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba, Young Guns), Andre Braugher ("Homicide: Life on the Street"), Natasha Henstridge (Species), Wayne Duvall (The Fan), Matt Gallini (2 Fast 2 Furious), Carmen Argenziano (Blue Streak), Mirjana Jokovic (Side Streets), Jefferson Moore (The Perfect Stranger), and Joe `Joey Pants' Pantoliano (The Matrix, Memento). Speaking of better ways to die, if I could choose the method of my demise, I think a pretty good way to go would be under an avalanche of Jessica Alba clones...
As the movie begins we see three Chicago undercover cops, including a rookie named Boomer (Wiper), waiting to hook up with some underworld types, which they do, but things go down badly (the criminals get word ahead of time the men are with the police), leading to Boomer deciding to quit the force and move out to the country to be with his girlfriend Kelly, played by Henstridge (smart move as Ms. Henstridge certainly has it going on). Anyway, around this time we learn of a gooberment agent named Harrison James (Moore), who's got information that could effectively bust up a national security threat in the form of a spy ring run by a mysterious criminal kingpin named Van Adder, has gone missing, and Special Agent William Dexter (Phillips) is tasked to find the man...only thing is, given the covert nature of James' work, seems no one is really sure what he looks like. Various events, of which I won't go into, all lead up to Boomer being mistaken for James (primarily because they sound alike over the phone) by numerous parties, including Van Adder's men, who've been assigned to kill James, among them a hired gun named Cleveland, played by Braugher. Things get extremely complicated and very messy as Boomer is drawn further into the situation and various individuals get killed along the way. All the twists and turns eventually lead to Boomer being forced to take on James' identity if only to find a way out, along with a surprising revelation in terms of the identity of Van Adder himself...
As far as independent action films go, I thought this one was really good, a diamond in the rough, in fact. The story's a little convoluted, and there seems, at times, more characters than necessary running about, but Wiper does a good job in keeping things orderly and moving along at a good pace. One aspect I appreciated a lot about the film was the fact characters were often shown reloading their weapons as it added a slight realistic touch often overlooked within the genre. This may not seem all that important, and it probably isn't, but I can't tell you how many action films I've seen where you never see a character reload making it seem like their weapon has unlimited firing potential. I'm guessing one of Wiper's influences may have been John Woo, as there are a few action sequences that seem to emulate his style, but not to the point where it felt like Wiper was copying directly from Woo's films, at least my opinion...another element I like were the comedic touches interspersed throughout the film. My favorite bit comes as a bunch of gooberment agents are in a conference room, being briefed on one of James' contacts, a sleazy, greasy, balding, chubby, former agent named Rifkin (Duvall) whose blind (complete with milky eyes), sports a ginormous scar on his face, and teeth that look much like baked beans. As the agents are watching some surveillance video featuring Rifkin, Rifkin turns to face the general direction of the hidden camera and all the agents turn in disgust given the man's extreme ugliness. I think I described the scene pretty well, but it's really something better seen than read about as the reactions are very relatable. There is sort of a cartoon like element with Wiper's character in that it seemed every other scene he was getting seriously smacked around, along with having to implement unusual, and generally disgusting, methods of escape from perilous situations. In one scene he's brawling in what appears to be a pigpen (full of muck but sans any swine) as someone chucks an incendiary through the window. Boomer manages to escape by making use of nearby sewer pipe, most likely filled with the same material that was in the pen. This may sound bad but there's an earlier scene that's much worse, one that takes place in a secluded cabin, as Boomer is forced to hide in a very uncomfortable place. As far as the performances I thought most everyone did pretty well and there was enough talent from some recognizable faces to make this a better than expected experience. I did notice a few plot holes (one major one at the end), but overall there felt a strong and entertaining effort, so it was easy for me to dismiss some of the perceived flaws in the production. The film is rated R, but not because of any nekkidness (if you wanna see Ms. Henstridge in the buff go watch Species) but because of depicted violence and a whole lot of swearing (the latter seemed a bit excessive, but then again if someone was shooting at me on a regular basis, I'd probably let the profanities fly). All in all this is a solid, entertaining action feature, one that was much better than I would have credited it for prior to viewing.
The picture on this DVD release, presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), looks sharp and clean, and the audio, available in English 5.1 Dolby Digital and English 2.0 Dolby Surround, comes through well. Other audio options are as follows; French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital, and Portuguese 2.0 Dolby Digital. Extra features include an audio commentary track with writer/director Wiper, a theatrical trailer for the film, detailed biographies/filmographies on the cast & crew, and subtitles in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai.
A Good Action Movie with Solid Cast
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/05/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
""A Better Way to Die" provides what action flick fans would like to see -- like, a twisted plot peppered with bullets-showering shoot-outs -- and moreover, it is proud of the solid supporting cast.The star (and writer & director) is Scott Wiper, who plays the role of 'Boomer', who, tired of violence in the police work, decided to go to his love (Henstridge), only to find himself involved another chain of bloody violence, being mistaken for "Harry," missing agent who went away with a secret of the government. To hunt down the hero, lots of hitmen (including Andre Braugher, seen with Nicholas Cage in "City of Angels" and with Paul Giamatti in "Duets") chase him, his love, and whoever he is concerned, causing many body counts on their way. The story itself is, frankly, very unbelievable, but thanks to Scott Wiper's impressive skills of direction to produce the high-octane action scenes, it is always entertaining, if too violent sometimes.But there are still some flaws; some of the supporting cast, most notably Joe Pantliano (seen in "Memento" as Teddy), is given too short screen time to give vitality to the film. Henstridge is also wasted in a minor role, so her fans would not appreciate her being in this movie very much, and the star Scott Wiper's acting (a little one-dimentional) seems to pale beside these colorful cast. However, the movie itself is a fast-paced, good action film, and certainly Wiper has a considerable talent to create an exciting gun-fight scenes with unexpected off-beat humor. But the best thing of the film is always underrated Braugher, who astonishes us, portraying the hitman's humane side and menace at the same time. Watching him act is another fun you can get in "A Better Way to Die.""