Action Blu-ray Review

'Jane Got a Gun' Blu-ray Review: Western tale of female empowerment aims high, shoots low

May 31, 2016Ben MK

Over a decade ago, Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton and Ewan McGregor shared the screen in George Lucas' Star Wars prequel trilogy. Now the trio are together again, this time with Portman as a headstrong, 19th century frontierswoman who's out to protect her family from a ruthless gang-leader played by McGregor.

Directed by Gavin O'Connor (Warrior), Jane Got a Gun follows Jane Hammond (Portman), a woman trying to make a quiet life for herself and her five-year-old daughter in 1871 New Mexico. Jane finds her past catching up with her, however, when her husband Bill (Noah Emmerich) returns home one day, "shot to Hell" by members of a gang led by wanted criminal John Bishop (McGregor). Left with no choice, Jane enlists the help of her former lover, war hero Dan Frost (Edgerton), and together they prepare to defend her homestead from Bishop and his band of outlaws.

Written by Brian Duffield, Anthony Tambakis and Joel Edgerton, Jane Got a Gun's title conjures up images of a Western-themed revenge movie, something along the lines of Kill Bill meets 3:10 to Yuma. In reality, however, the film plays out more like a character drama, with the majority of its first two acts devoted to revealing how the lives of Jane, Dan and Bishop are intertwined. For its final one-third, though, the movie becomes a period siege thriller, as Bishop's gang descends on the Hammond home, leading to a final confrontation between the three main characters.

Unfortunately, the film falls short of the promise of its title. Instead, the result is a movie that never quite seems to find its footing, straddling that middle ground between drama and action, but never excelling at either. That being said, Jane Got a Gun isn't without its merits, as its take on Western films is a welcome one, delivering a story of female empowerment seldom seen in the genre, and with a trio of stellar lead performances to boot.

Jane Got a Gun's Blu-ray technical presentation may not seem all that impressive at the outset, but it does a solid job conveying the filmmakers' intentions. In other words, the 1080p image is crisp and nicely detailed; black levels appear healthy; and the movie's dusty color palette comes across well, with varying shades of brown and yellow-green helping to define the film's gritty, dusty landscape. On the audio side, the disc features a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound mix that does exactly as advertised, delivering an assortment of sound effects that reinforce the film's Western setting, from galloping horses and cawing crows to bursts of gunfire, and even a few well-timed explosions.

VVS Films' single-disc Blu-ray release includes no extras.

Jane Got a Gun is available from VVS Films as of May 31st, 2016. The Blu-ray features English and French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks. The film is presented with English and French subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 38 Mins.

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