In Like Flynn
R0 - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (3rd March 2019).
The Film

"In Like Flynn" (2018)

Taking place in 1930, Errol Flynn (played by Thomas Cocquerel) is guiding a group of American film producers deep in the jungles of New Guinea when they are brutally attacked and barely able to escape from the natives and their deadly traps. A wanderer always in the middle of dangerous happenings, Flynn sets out on an adventure with his friends Rex (played by Corey Large) and Dook (played by William Moseley) by stealing a boat to sail back to New Guinea in search of mysterious gold. But from fights, brawls, and other mishaps galore, getting there is more than just a battle.

Long before he was a leading action star in Hollywood with films such as "Captain Blood" (1935) and "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938), the Tazmania born Errol Flynn was an adventurer making a living between Papua New Guinea and Sydney. In 1937 Flynn published an autobiography entitled "Beam Ends" which chronicled some of his adventures in the jungles, in the seas, in various brawls and near death experiences that shaped his career as an action star. But how much of it was true and how much of it was fiction or exaggeration? That may never be fully known. During his time in the limelight he was always at the center of controversy and rumors. From his relationships with various people in the industry, drunken rages, fistfights, rape allegations, throwing a woman down a stairwell on a film set, rumored connections to Nazis and the Japanese in WWII, and much more. While some were confirmed others were of speculation or outright exaggerated or random rumors made by the tabloids. Even after his early death in 1959 at the age of 50, the stories of Flynn continued to flourish in both rumor mills and with the success of his films on television and revivals. There have been multiple biopics of Flynn over the years. 1985 saw "My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn" based on his later period autobiography. "Flynn" starring Guy Pearce which was riddled with production troubles and took years until it was seen by the public and what Pearce called one of the worst films he had made. 2013's "The Last of Robin Hood" had an excellent cast but was a critical and commercial misfire. None of the films seemed to do justice for the legendary actor and now with "In Like Flynn", it unfortunately doesn't raise it higher either.

Directed by Russell Mulcahy, this adaptation of Flynn's autobiography has a lot in its relatively short runtime. Fight scenes and confrontations come as frequently as a martial arts film. Characters and settings are introduced at a quick pace. Being a tribute to a star of the 1930s onward, it certainly feels closer to a music video (as Mulcahy is an established pioneering music video director) rather than a feature film. In addition, plot points and crucial scenes seem to fly by so quickly that the narrative seems to take a back seat compared to the action. It certainly packs a punch in the runtime, but the film feels flat and uninspired. The opening segment in the jungles with the film producers seems clearly cut from "King Kong", and its incredibly gory violence in that opening is very off putting, considering the rest of the film is of PG territory. The tone is quickly established yet quickly thrown away for no apparent reason. Granted much of the film relies on the fun aspects and the quickfire pace, it feel lacking without establishing the characters or settings as well as it could.

One of the more interesting characters is Clive Standen as Charlie, the drunkard boatman who lost his family is one of the bolder characters with a fully realized arc, and it's unfortunate that the others including the characterization of Flynn having so little to their backstories. Thomas Cocquerel as Flynn does a fair job, but takes too many cues from "Indiana Jones" rather than establishing himself as the later swashbuckling hero. The subplots involving the opium smuggling, the boxing match, and others seem to come and go very quickly. Even the main plot of the search for gold is basically a red herring or a MacGuffin for the rest of the subplots, and none of them ever seem to be as important as the big question - how does Flynn get to Hollywood? The film does in fact show Flynn going to Hollywood but there are quite a few "real" details that are missed in this film version such as his short stint in making films for Warner Brothers in England. But again, this is a slightly fictionalized account of Flynn's book which was already quite exaggerated, allegedly.

With a budget of over $12 million, it was quite a gamble to take and unfortunately the film has not been a critical or commercial hit in its native Australia or overseas. Considering how iconic Flynn is to the movie world and how many times biopics have been filmed about him, it's unfortunate "In Like Flynn" couldn't give something more definitive to the legend.

Note this is a region 0 NTSC DVD

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio in the NTSC format. A vibrantly colorful film with green jungles, blue waters of the Pacific, and hypnotic colors in the opium den to name a few, the transfer is very good considering it is a standard definition transfer. There are no scenes of color bleeding or errors to speak of and is very strong throughout. An excellent transfer.

The film's runtime is 98:08.



















Audio

English Dolby Digital 5.1
The original 5.1 track is a very active one with the effects and score using the surround channels throughout. At times the music becomes a little overpowering against the dialogue, making a slightly echoey effect and drowning out the vocals in intense scenes, unfortunately. Also with a rate of 256kbps, it is a very low channel considering how "big" it sounds.

There are no subtitles offered for the film.

Extras

There are no extras on disc. The film starts on start-up and the disc stops when the film ends, with no menu screen.

The trailer which is not on the disc has been embedded below.

Packaging

The packaging states region 4, but is in fact region 0.

Overall

"In Like Flynn" seems closer to a hodgepodge of ideas and subplots surrounding the adventures of the pre-Hollywood Errol Flynn rather that one consistent piece. The Umbrella Entertainment DVD provides great video and good audio, but unfortunately lacks extras on disc.

The Film: D+ Video: A- Audio: B Extras: F- Overall: C-

 


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