Cold Around the Heart (1997) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

I learned something very important from the Region 2 German DVD of this film: America has no monopoly on sleazy marketing. The German title of this film is Menschenjagd (Manhunt), and the DVD box specifically prints the full title as "Oliver Stone's Menschenjagd." The DVD tagline says (my translation): "After Platoon, JFK, and Natural Born Killers comes the latest action thriller from Oliver Stone." Stone is mentioned several more times on the box, and there is an Oliver Stone biography in the special features.  (It is, by the way, a pathetic special feature. It consists of two pages of text. When you go to that feature, a German voice also reads the same words aloud, verbatim from the text!) Stone is just about the sole selling proposition of the disc, presumably because Stone is loved in Western Europe, where his liberal views and his conspiratorial view of history find exactly the right choir for his preaching. No doubt his name will sell some DVDs there.

Only one problem: Oliver Stone had almost nothing to do with this film. He served as executive producer. There was another executive producer, and there were also three producers and an associate producer. Suffice it to say that Ollie's influence on the film was minimal. It doesn't really seem like a Stone movie in any way. It shows no flashes of his normal directorial pyrotechnics, and it contains very little social commentary or wit of any kind. It isn't interested in history or politics. It's your basic standard crime thriller with a B-list cast (David Caruso and Kelly Lynch).

Caruso and Lynch play robbers who are in danger of being caught in a police pursuit. Lynch pushes Caruso from the car, and makes her escape when the coppers stop to apprehend Caruso. Caruso then escapes from his prison hospital ward and goes after Lynch. They meet, reunite, double cross one another some more, reunite again ... whatever. It's a totally unoriginal sort of noir road picture, and the film has some illogical plot twists which may have been caused by excessive editing. I still haven't figured out how Caruso got out of that hospital so effortlessly, and when he did get out into the streets, I don't know how he could have had the bushel basket full of cash which would have been needed to get a vehicle without revealing his identity. I'm betting that these details were originally covered in scenes which were eventually trimmed.

The actual writer/director of the film was a directorial rookie named John Ridley, a writer who participated in the script for Oliver Stone's U-Turn. After Cold Around the Heart, he would not be offered the helm of another film for years, but as I write this (early 2005), he actually has his second and third film in the pipeline at the same time, even though it has now been eight years since number one!

The film has only one major positive: Kelly Lynch did an open-leg nude scene.

Or at least that WOULD have been a positive, but I have bad news on that front as well. The German DVD is a letterboxed widescreen transfer, and the Lynch nude scene ends at the top of her buns. The absence of the key Lynch nudity reduces the number of significant positives to zero.

Fullscreen video tape version

Widescreen German Region 2 DVD version


DVD INFO:  This film is not available on a Region 1 DVD. The link to the left leads to the VHS video tape, which is out of print  but may be located through Amazon's marketplace.

There is a Region-free PAL DVD available from Germany. It has a mediocre letterboxed widescreen transfer, with no meaningful features. In addition, there is NO English sound track, so the only option is the dubbed German version. Finally, the Kelly Lynch nude scene has been truncated by the widescreen letterboxing, and that was the only reason to watch the film to begin with. In other words, this is not a good value, and is not recommended.  The German DVD info (in English) can be found here. The U.S. distributor's home page can be found here. If you are thinking of buying DVDs from outside your region, read this first.



  • Widescreen: two brief peeks at Kelly Lynch's breasts.

  • In the fullscreen version there is also a full rear open-legged shot of Kelly as she rolls away from Caruso in bed.

The Critics Vote ...

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 3.8/10. That is no fluke. It really is that bad. 85% of viewers score it a six or lower.
  • Box Office Mojo. I'm not sure what the record is for the lowest gross of all time among films which were actually screened commercially in at least one theater, but this must be a contender, with a domestic gross of five thousand dollars.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is no more than a very low C-, maybe a D. You will be hard pressed to see anything here which you haven't seen done better before.

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