New To Blu: Beyond The Reach

Michael Douglas stars in this week's blu-ray release, Beyond The Reach.

"You're the doctor that messed up my
wife's face. Now you must die."
Michael Douglas has played a number of memorable roles during his forty-plus year film career.  His most famous role is arguable Gordon Gekko, the cold-hearted corporate raider of Oliver Stone's Wall Street who turned "greed is good" into one of the great catchphrases of the 1980's.  Despite both the volume and diversity of roles he's played since, Douglas will always be Gekko in the minds of movie lovers everywhere.  So it's not too surprising to see how easily he slips into his role this week's new blu-ray release, Beyond the Reach.

Beyond the Reach, based on the 1970's novel Deathwatch by Robb White (and obviously inspired by the classic Richard Cornell short story The Most Dangerous Game), is a twisted, occasionally tense, but mostly slow-moving thriller. Beyond the Reach is a serviceable enough classically designed thriller, with the kind of tension and twists one would reasonably expect from such a film.  The two leads, who get the majority of the film to themselves, play off of each other nicely and give great performances.  The film is also shot beautifully, with the desert appearing bright and colorful while appropriately vast and foreboding.

"I could have sworn there
was a taco stand here last week."
The main problem with the film is pacing.  Beyond the Reach clocks in at about an hour and a half, but feels much longer.  Unfortunately this kills a bit of the tension that films like this require to be truly effective.  As a result it becomes nearly as much of an endurance test as the one our hero undergoes, minus the third degree sunburn.  A better paced film would have been much easier to follow and could have been more satisfying at the end. This unfortunately cripples Beyond the Reach.

Douglas's familiar and entertaining performance and the overall construction of the story make Beyond the Reach a better than average thriller.  Unfortunately, the film's slow pace holds it down to being only slightly better than average.  Beyond the Reach is a good enough film that is, unfortunately, not always quite good enough.

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-Mike Stec