Warner Archive has released the 90’s cult thriller Judgment Night, manufactured on demand on a DVD-R. The film is directed by Stephen Hopkins, who is known for releasing average films like Predator 2, A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, Lost in Space, The Ghost and the Darkness, Blown Away, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, and Under Suspicion. I feel his filmmaking style is present in this film as well. It’s decent but not really anything you haven’t seen before.
The premise is pretty straightforward; a group of four guys goes out for a night on the town in a borrowed luxury RV. While trying to get to a big boxing match in Chicago they get stuck in traffic on the interstate. The group tries to get to the arena before the title match and therefore take shortcuts in the bad part of town. They get lost in gang territory, hit a guy with their RV, and get in way over their heads trying to help the injured person out. Will they make it out of the night alive? You’ll just have to watch to find out!
Judgment Night has a very recognizable cast: Emilio Estevez, Cuba Gooding Jr, Stephen Dorff, Jeremy Piven, Peter Greene, and Denis Leary round out the major characters. The film takes itself fairly seriously, although Leary is able to chew some scenery as the lead villain. The film had around a 20 million dollar budget but it sort of just feels more like direct to video. I imagine there are some fans of the film but really the only thing that stands out is the cast and maybe the soundtrack. Especially, if you grew up around the late 80’s/early 90’s and are a fan of alternative and hip hop its fun to pick out stuff like Sir Mix-a-Lot or Cypress Hill in the background. The score is done by Alan Silvestri and is reminiscent of his Predator score.
Apparently, the original script was far more violent than what we see on screen and I think that would have helped me find it more interesting and entertaining. A lot of the story has to do with the reactions of the main characters dealing with the situation they find themselves in. I’m a big fan of Estevez, and while he does a fine job I don’t feel the character really plays to his strength’s as an actor. Piven is sort of irritating, but I feel he plays that type of character very believable. Cuba Gooding and Dorff make up the more stereotypical 90’s thriller/action roles but they do it very well and seem to be the emotional anchor of the script.
The movie isn’t stupid or terribly done, it’s just not exactly very original or smartly written. It’s 109 minutes long and started to lose my interest at about the halfway point, but it was never a slog to get through.
Judgment Night has been released a couple times before through different distributors, so if you have the film already, then unfortunately, there is no reason to get this new release as it has no special features and is only available on DVD-R. However, if you don’t already own a copy and love 90’s B-movie thrillers this release from Warner Archive is probably the cheapest way to get it on physical media.
Judgment Night Final Thoughts:
Judgment Night is a decent little forgotten 90’s thriller if you don’t take it as seriously as it takes itself. It has a nice cast and a solid soundtrack. If your player supports DVD-R it’s certainly worth checking out. You can buy your copy from Amazon or other fine retailers.
Note: This DVD was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgment or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.