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Dawn Patrol DVD Review

Dawn Patrol (2015) movie poster Dawn Patrol

Theatrical Release: June 5, 2015 / Running Time: 88 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated

Director: Daniel Petrie Jr. / Writers: Rachel Long, Brian Pittman

Cast: Scott Eastwood (John Piper), Rita Wilson (Sheila Piper), Kim Matula (Donna), Chris Brochu (Ben Piper), Julie Carmen (Laura Rivera), Jeff Fahey (Trick Piper), Gabriel De Santi (Miguel Rivera), James C. Burns (Kevie), Dendrie Taylor (Vicki), Matt Meola (Gary), Miles Elliot (Cecil), Frankie Stone (Jeanette), Daz Crawford (Charles), Sean O'Bryan (Mace)

Buy Dawn Patrol from Amazon.com: DVD Instant Video

Scott Eastwood has been following in the footsteps of his famous father Clint for some time now. The younger Eastwood began acting in his late teens, starting with brief appearances in movies directed by Clint.
Bearing a striking resemblance to one of the most enduring and iconic actors of all time in his youth has to help, but Scott's rise to stardom hasn't been any quicker than Dad's, who spent four years in bit and uncredited parts before landing a lead role on the Western TV series "Rawhide", steady employment that eventually led to Sergio Leone's landmark spaghetti westerns and a lifetime of notable work on both sides of the camera.

At 29, Scott is now the age his father was when cast in "Rawhide." He's worked his way up to non-nepotistic work, including films like Texas Chainsaw 3D, Fury, and, most prominently, spring's Nicholas Sparks tearjerker romance The Longest Ride. Promising upcoming credits include Oliver Stone's Snowden and DC Comics' 2016 supervillain flick Suicide Squad.

For now, though, Scott Eastwood is taking what they're giving 'cause he's working for a living. That means movies like Dawn Patrol, a surf/revenge drama that languished in extremely limited theatrical release last month before hitting DVD today.

John (Scott Eastwood) and Ben Piper (Chris Brochu) are California bros for life in "Dawn Patrol."

In a frame narrative, John Piper (Eastwood) relays "his story" to a gun-wielding middle-aged woman (Julie Carmen) holding him hostage. He's in his military fatigues and she's covered up in headscarf, but this is not the Middle Eastern conflict you might mistake it for. John's story begins in Sunset Beach, California in the summer of 2008. Though he and his family live right on the Pacific Ocean, they are working class folk, as vulnerable as anyone to the year's financial crisis. With oft-kerchiefed and thickly goateed father Trick (Jeff Fahey) losing his construction job, the Pipers are among the many in the neighborhood facing foreclosure and eviction.

The family is making ends meet somewhat on the shoulders of John's brother Ben (Chris Brochu), a dynamic surfer who makes money from events and "surferazzi" photographs sold to magazines. Ben and John are content to soak up the sun, repair the occasional surfboard, and smoke a little weed. But Ben is protective of Donna (Kim Matula), a sexy ex-girlfriend he still thinks of as his own. The on-and-off relationship isn't healthy in the slightest; he proposes to her as foreplay for some From Here to Eternity-style beach assault sex and he's already shrugging it off the next night.

That night, some stuff goes down. The film treats this tragedy like a music video, but the Pipers are broken up by it. Blaming their fate on Mexican gang members, John vows and exacts revenge, only to discover the truth is more sordid than what he believed and investigators are looking into.

The combination of flowers, sun, a surfboard, and shirtlessness does not lift the spirits of Donna (Kim Matula) and John (Scott Eastwood).

Dawn Patrol is not Scott's "Rawhide" and it's certainly not the start of his Man with No Name Trilogy. This is absolutely not a film for someone on the rise to make. You kind of assume it was made a few years back (the "present day" is seemingly 2013) and delayed in the hopes that Eastwood's profile would rise. It has somewhat,
though not to the extent that anyone will care about this movie or that this radar blip will register as an embarrassment on his burgeoning career.

Dawn Patrol is plagued by a number of cringe-worthy pieces of dialogue. Bad acting abounds, some of the worst of it from Rita Wilson who in the role of the Pipers' pot-smoking matriarch puts her suspiciously enlarged breasts on prominent display in low-cut dresses. Making Larry Crowne look like Michael Clayton, this truly puts her husband's comparably mild disappointments into perspective.

The film is directed by Beverly Hills Cop writer Daniel Petrie Jr., who picks up his first theatrical credit since the 1994 Pauly Shore vehicle In the Army Now. Petrie's failings are less noticeable than those of scribes Rachel Long and Brian Pittman, a duo with a surprising number of projects in development, starting with Jason Statham's 2016 sequel Mechanic: Resurrection.

Though not rated by the MPAA, Dawn Patrol would definitely earn an R for language, drug use, sex, mild violence, and some nudity, the lattermost of which might be the biggest selling point for fans of "The Bold and the Beautiful"'s Matula. Alchemy releases the movie today on DVD, but not Blu-ray.

Dawn Patrol DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com DVD Details

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extra Not Subtitled
Release Date: July 14, 2015
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Black Keepcase
Also available on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Dawn Patrol looks okay but far from terrific on DVD. The 2.40:1 picture shows off low-grade digital video, which is lacking sharpness throughout. Obviously, a low-budget production like this isn't expected to look like American Sniper, but it should probably look a bit better than it does. The English soundtrack is offered in Dolby Digital 5.1 and plain 2.0 stereo. The default former is passable, though nothing to write home about. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are kindly provided.

Scott Eastwood shows off his "What have I done?!" face on the Dawn Patrol DVD main menu.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The DVD's only extra is Dawn Patrol's trailer (1:21),
which joins the four that play automatically at disc insertion on a Previews menu. They promote Kidnapping Mr. Heineken, Survivor, Are You Here, and Accidental Love.

The surf-heavy main menu montage sets clips to the film-closing song "Awaken" by Guardian Ghost.

No inserts or slipcover accompany the black Eco-Box keepcase.

Rita Wilson and Jeff Fahey play the Piper parents, who are troubled in a number of ways.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Dawn Patrol is kind of a difficult movie to wrap your head around. Aspects of it remind you of inspirational, patriotic conservative Christian efforts, but for the most part it's just a trashy beachside B-movie revenge mystery. Needless to say, this does not provoke the emotional responses it wants to, making it a sometimes frustrating, sometimes laughable endeavor that is instantly forgotten and certain to be overlooked by all but the most devoted fans of the cast.

Buy Dawn Patrol from Amazon.com: DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
New: Survivor Woman in Gold It Follows Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 McFarland, USA
Scott Eastwood: Fury Trouble with the Curve | Rita Wilson: Jingle All the Way Old Dogs That Thing You Do!
Chris Brochu: Soul Surfer Lemonade Mouth | Dendrie Taylor: The Fighter | James C. Burns: My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done
American Sniper Lone Survivor 88 Surf's Up In the Valley of Elah The Mechanic Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear

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Reviewed July 14, 2015.



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