The Human Factor DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Dark Sky Films
NOOOOOOOOOOO! – John Kinsdale
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Written by Thomas Hunter and Peter Powell
1975, Region 1 (NTSC), 95 minutes,Rated R
DVD released on October 31st, 2006
George Kennedy as John Kinsdale
John Mills as Mike McAllister
Raf Valone as Dr. Lupo
Barry Sullivan as Edmonds
Rita Tushingham as Janice
Arthur Franz as Gen. Fuller
When John Kinsdale’s entire family is brutally murdered, he decides to use every resource he has to track down the killers.
Good thing he’s contracted to the Italian government on a secret project that uses a supercomputer. That’s gonna come in handy.
But Kinsdale has stumbled into something big. It’s not just his family that was murdered — it’s much, much deeper than a random crime. So, using his friends, wits and job, Kinsdale (George Kennedy – The Naked Gun series, Cool Hand Luke) is going to make sure these killers get what’s coming to them.
Whenever I think of George Kennedy, I think of a big, loveable oaf. Sure, he’s had his moments where he’s played a bastard, like in Cool Hand Luke, but he was a big, loveable oaf bastard. He’s just so damn likeable.
So I was excited to check out The Human Factor. To think I’d get to see an angry Kennedy kicking ass and taking names later intrigued me. But I didn’t see as much ass kicking as I had expected.
What I did see was a man devastated and angry over his family’s senseless death, doing everything he can to make sure the murderers get justice — even if it’s the justice he doles out. Kennedy rocks in this role because he’s really not the “killer” type. And when his character does get to the killing, he radiates nothing but rage, hate and grief — making it all the more believable. Make no bones about it, Kennedy is a rock star here.
While the box cover suggests an action movie, Factor is more of a suspense/thriller in the vein of Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. Certainly, there are some chase scenes — both foot and car — but its more of a political thriller than anything else. And that’s a good thing, because it’s a well-executed political thriller.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the film is the weird coincidences this movie that’s 30 years old shares with the world — particularly the United States — today.
Here there be spoilers:
Using his resources available, including a computer system (or program; it’s a little murky) called “The Nine Eleven,” Kinsdale finds out the people who killed his family are terrorist extremists. And they are targeting Americans living in Europe. Granted, they aren’t terrorists in the Middle Eastern flavor, but it’s still some food for thought and brings the film to a whole other level of interest.
While the movie isn’t action packed, the action it does have is a blast. The two, hands down, best scenes are towards the end of the film. The first involves Kinsdale, one of the killers and a chain. After watching an angry Kinsdale just completely destroy this bad guy, I wanted to go out and fight someone. You know how you play a racing game and immediately after, you want to go out and drive fast? It’s like that. Kennedy owned that scene.
The other scene is the movie’s climatic ending. While it’s a bit over-the-top, it was also believable because Kennedy sold the character so well leading up to this hectic finish. Dramatic and intense, the ending delivered the goods so impressively, I did go out and start a random fight. Okay, I gave a hard look at my cat, but I wanted to go out and crack some skulls.
Moral of the story? You take from Kennedy, he’ll come collecting, come hell or high water.
Video and Audio:
Factor is presented in 16x9 anamorphic. The picture quality varies from soft (on outdoor shots) to softer (on indoor shots). Some interior scenes are almost hard to watch, as it looks like they were filmed through an orangeish filter. This looks to be a source factor rather than Dark Sky’s fault.
The entire film has specks and marks throughout, though. Not enough to be distracting, but enough to be noticeable.
The 2.0 mono soundtrack, like the video, is a disappointment. While there aren’t any pops, hisses or mechanical noise, there is a noticeable lack of bass. This is one of those movies that would have benefitted heavily from at least a 5.1 track.
- “The Kennedy Factor: An Interview with George Kennedy”
- TV Spot
- Still Gallery
Not much is offered in the way of special features, but the documentary makes up for what is lacking.
With a running time of about a half an hour, this is all about George Kennedy. The first half, Kennedy talks a little about his childhood, his parents and his experience in World War II. The second half focuses on his experiences while filming The Human Factor, and he provides quite a few great little tidbits about what went on around the set.
The Human Factor wasn’t the action-packed movie I was expecting, but it’s one heckuva thriller and, coupled with George Kennedy’s rock-solid performance, a solid buy.
(Equipment a Mitsubishi WS-48613 48” HDTV, Sony DVP-CX875P DVD player and Onkyo HTS-770 Home Theater System and, in some cases, a Sony 27” WEGA TV and a Sony DVP-NS50P DVD player.)