Review: The Diplomat Blu-ray/DVD

The Diplomat Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Vivendi | DIRECTOR: Peter Andrikidis | CAST: Dougray Scott, Rachael Blake, Jeremy Lindsay Taylor, Richard Roxburgh, Claire Forlani, Don Hany
RELEASE DATE: 8/10/10 | PRICE: DVD/Blu-ray Combo Pack $19.93
SPECS: NR | 187 min. | Thriller | 1.78:1 widescreen | DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Don’t be fooled. Despite a marketing campaign that calls to mind The International and a host of other Clive Owen movies, The Diplomat is a repackaged television movie made for British and Australian viewers in 2009 under the title of False Witness. (It was originally broadcast Stateside as a two-part, four-hour mini-series.) The hunky British actor isn’t Owen but Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible II), maybe best known recently as one of Teri Hatcher’s suitors on Desperate Housewives.

That said, The Diplomat isn’t a horrible espionage film, although its three-hour running time is bloated. Scott plays Ian Porter, a well-to-do British diplomat arrested for smuggling drugs. But Scotland Yard surmises early on that Porter ferrying drugs makes about as much sense as an arms dealer running a convenience store, and that he might be conspiring with the Russian mafia to perpetrate a much bigger international plot. Placed in witness protection and being squeezed for information about his Russian contact, Porter must protect himself and his estranged wife (Claire Forlani, Meet Joe Black) from his Bolshevik masters while trying to clear his name and prevent a nuclear disaster.

The script frequently crawls with mind-numbing cloak-and-dagger prattle, but there are a few surprises and some jarring, albeit low-budget, action scenes. In fact, whenever guns come out, the DTS-HD mix delivers the goods.

But the film’s strong point is the cast, with all giving earnest performances seemingly modeled after those of Matt Damon, Joan Allen and Brian Cox in the Bourne trilogy.


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About Gary

Gary Frisch has been contributing laserdisc, DVD and Blu-ray reviews to Video Business magazine, Home Theater Magazine, Home Theater Buyer’s Guide, Stereophile Guide to Home Theater and the DVD Guide for more than 14 years. He still has a collection of more than 40 laserdiscs, along with a working auto-reverse LD player, but thinks Blu-ray is da bomb and anxiously awaits the original Star Wars trilogy so he can buy it for the fifth time.