For someone who is a fan of the 80s, Bad Influence has a lot going for it. It stars Rob Lowe, James Spader and it’s billed as a sexy and suspenseful drama. So, it made perfect sense to pick up the flick on Blu-ray from Shout! Factory and give this flick a watch/review…
RUN-TIME: 99 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
PRODUCTION DATE: 1990
RELEASE DATE: May 24, 2016
Quiet, unassuming financial analyst Michael Boll (Spader) lives a successful-yet-timid life, lacking in risks or rewards. When he crosses paths with the enigmatic Alex (Lowe), the two form a friendship based on ever-increasingly bold behavior. When Michael’s new pal pushes things too far, however, Michael wants out… but the mysterious Alex has no desire to set him free from the seductively dangerous lifestyle he’s dragged him into.
In what could be seen as a reversal of roles, James Spader plays Michael, a man stuck in a stressful job on the verge of marrying a woman he doesn’t love. His life is in a rut, but that all changes when he runs into bad boy Alex–if that’s even his real name–played by sex tape star Rob Lowe. Alex tells Michael he needs to stand up for himself and he shows him how to by introducing him to sexy parties with sexy women and a whole lot of drinks and drugs. A few convenience store robberies later and Michael is starting to regret meeting Alex. He tries to end this dangerous relationship, but Alex doesn’t take to kindly to it and starts to go off the deep end.
What is there not to love about this movie? I personally was hooked the moment the film started and I was deeply engrossed in watching Rob Lowe and James Spader play off each other. The film isn’t perfect, though. There are a lot of loose threads dangling at the end and the fate of certain characters is left up in the air. Also, Rob Lowe was a bit stiff in the role at first, but as the film progressed, he loosened up and started to go wild.
Maybe I’m going crazy here, but there was one thing that really stood out to me in this movie. A woman randomly shows up throughout the flick, but her character’s presence has no explanation. She even has a few lines here and there, which means she was paid for the role and wasn’t just some extra in the background. I thought she would be important at some point in the film, but nothing ever did come of it. Maybe she was the director’s wife/girlfriend/mistress or something?
Shout! Factory has released Bad Influence on Blu-ray in a standard Blu release, with a nice half hour interview with writer David Koepp. The video is cleaned up nicely, with only a bit of dirt and debris present at certain points. It’s never enough to distract from the viewing experience. The audio comes in DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo, which was a bit on the low end if you ask me. I had to turn the speakers up to hear the dialogue. As already mentioned, the only feature is a nice interview with David Koepp, who goes into the process of screenplay writing and his work on Bad Influence. Also included is a theatrical trailer, which shows way too much.
Under The Influence – New Interview With Writer David Koepp
Bad Influence was to me a taut thriller with only a few loose ends. The performance from Rob Lowe started off iffy, but as the story progressed, everything just kept getting better and better. Shout! Factory has done a good job on the Blu-ray and I think it’s worth a purchase.