Tied Up (2000)
By: Dr. Obrero  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Universe Laser and Video Co LTD (Hong Kong). Region 3, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0 Chinese Subtitles. 94 mins
The Movie
Director: Anthony Hickox
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Danielle Brett, Richard Fitzpatrick, Kristi Angus, Charles Seixas, Sandi Ross, Greg Ellwand, Susan Kottman, Victor Pedtrchenko, Kylie Bax, Bruce McFee, Kathryn Albertson
Screenplay: Kevin Bernhardt, Gareth Wardell
Tagline: Imagine if Jack the Ripper had a sister...
AKA: Jill Rips; Jill The Ripper
When his brother is brutally murdered, ex-policemen and former boxer Dolph Lundgren hits the vengeance trail and launches his own unorthodox investigation.

Sinking ever deeper into a mysterious underground of political intrigue and illicit affairs, he's soon beginning to lose his objectivity, finding himself inexorably drawn into the world of hardcore S&M, a dominion of bondage and sexual violence. As a slew of other men turn up dead by over enthusiastic bondage like so many Tory politicians, Dolph's obsession with finding the killer mounts and the more he infiltrates, the more the web of corruption and deceit begins to close in around him.

Lundgren, the talent-challenged hunk, one of few players in the annals of bad movie-making to match the acting (in)ability of Chuck "The Walking Wardrobe" Norris sleepwalks through this absolute mess of a film, brooding, scowling and mumbling drunkenly through an appalling performance that carries all the emotiveness of an uprooted fencepost. Supporting 'acting', and I use the word advisedly resembles that of a school play, whilst the script is a (bad) joke. Hickox, directing at the technical level of bad pornography aims for mood, occasionally throwing in a mediocre attempt at gimmicky sensationalism, but only achieves emotionally deadened, mind-numbing tedium. Hickox has made some awful films in his time, Waxworks, Waxworks II: Lost in Time, Warlock: The Armageddon, Full Eclipse and Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat were abysmal, and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth mundane, but he's surpassed himself with this incoherent cliché ridden jumble. Based on the lukewarm novel by Fredrick Lindsay, Tied Up aka: Jill Rips doesn't even aspire to the level of a poor B-movie.
This is an appalling Pan & Scam transfer, one of the worst telecine efforts I've seen since the early days of VHS. A real point & click hack job which sees characters regularly out of frame as they speak, whilst the camera stares resolutely at the unpopulated centre part of the screen. Colours are muted and lacking in vibrancy, whites bloom, the overall image is opaque and soft, there is heavy grain and fleshtones resemble sunburn. The picture is lacking in stability and compression artefacts are noticeable. To match one of the worst films I have ever seen, one of the worst DVD transfers I have ever seen. Come back Diamond, all is forgiven! The Region 1 at least boasts an anamorphic, 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which retains the framing of images correctly (for what it's worth in this farrago). The R3 sleeve art claims 'widescreen' - it lies.
The audio is English 2.0 Stereo and the mix is in keeping with the rest of the film and how it is presented, it's dire. Lacking finesse and fidelity, this offers no directionality, no depth and provides a distancing aural experience. Apparently, the whole mix was done in only 3 days according to the director. It shows! The Region 1 at least offers a choice of English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, English 2.0 Stereo, and Spanish and French 2.0 Stereo Surround as well as English Closed captions, and subtitles in English and Spanish. I think watching this in Spanish or French would at least enhance the entertainment value.
Extra Features
The Region 1 DVD includes additional material including directors screen-specific audio commentary track, a theatrical trailer in non-anamorphic 2.0 Stereo, and *ahem* talent files on the cast and filmmakers(!) On the talk through, Anthony Hickox apparently cuts loose, revealing the considerable interference perpetrated by Lundgren and one of the producers, both on set - constantly demanding extensive reshoots, and to his original cut - subject to extensive re-cutting against his wishes. Apparently, this is something Hickox has never had to endure before. Welcome to Hollywierd Tony! None of that however is relevant here, as the Region 3 DVD offers up in the way of supplemental material precisely nothing, not a thing. Region 3 discs are, as I've said before, and will doubtless say again, the 'cheap' option, and here anyway the lack of extras doesn't disappoint at all as I wouldn't ever wish to return to this anyway. It's quite simply a waste of (DVD) space and I couldn't face watching it again, no matter how riveting Hickox's commentary might've proved.
The Verdict
I utterly loathed this film, it's an absolute clutter - slow to the point of inertia, confusing at times and quite abysmally penned, played and helmed. Director Hickox is noted for garbage, this one, even by his subterranean standards absolutely takes the proverbial biscuit. The film is a dead loss, the DVD a dead weight, so the only rating conceivable is a big fat ZERO. Having not seen it, a cheap R3 sight unseen purchase seemed the most logical option, but I would recommend anyone considering acquiring this, in either Region 3 or Region 1 to seek professional help without delay.
Movie Score
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