Leverage: The 1st Season

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Timothy Hutton as Nathan Ford
Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer
Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison
Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux
Beth Riesgraf as Parker

Special Features:
Leverage: Behind the Scenes
Anatomy of a Stunt Fight
The Cameras of Leverage
Leverage Gets Renewed
Beth Riesgraf Crazy Actress Spoof Video
Deleted Scenes

Other Info:
Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 584 Minutes

The Series:
The following is the official description of the series:

“‘Leverage’ is a slick and crafty drama following a team of expert thieves that take down corrupt corporations in elaborate high-tech schemes. Insurance investigator Nate Ford (Academy Award-winner Timothy Hutton) exposed scams and recovered stolen items worth millions. But his life hit the skids when his insurance company allowed his ailing 8-year-old son to die. Years later, Nate gets even as the leader of a specialized team of thieves, computer experts and con artists that right corporate and governmental injustices against honest citizens. To expose corruption, Nate will do wrong for all the right reasons – he will provide ‘Leverage.’”

“Leverage: The 1st Season” is not rated.

Mini-Review:
If I had to describe “Leverage” to someone unfamiliar with it, I’d call it a cross between “Ocean’s 11″ and “The A-Team.” The basic premise is a group of super-thieves are led by a disgruntled insurance investigator to help the little guy out against “The Man.” Each episode features them carrying out some impossible scam or theft against impossible odds, then prevailing in the end in some clever way. The heists have that slick “Ocean’s 11″ feel with hip music playing in the background. The group is a colorful cast of misfits that have criminal backgrounds but hearts of gold.

The cast is pretty good. Timothy Hutton is the only really familiar face as Hannibal… I mean Nathan Ford. They give him sufficient motivation for switching sides in this as his son’s cancer treatments weren’t paid for by his former employer. He blames the greedy insurance company for his son’s death. The rest of the cast is made up of unknowns. Christian Kane plays Eliot Spencer, the ‘muscle’ of the operations. Aldis Hodge plays Alec Hardison, the hacker. Gina Bellman is Sophie Devereaux, the femme fatale. Beth Riesgraf is Parker, the cat burglar. They each bring something unique to the table and keep things funny and interesting. There are also some interesting guest bad guys including “Battlestar Galactica’s” Mark Sheppard as Jim Sterling.

This series is produced by Dean Devlin of “Independence Day,” “Godzilla,” and “Stargate” fame. He also directs a few episodes along with a couple by Jonathan Frakes. The overall result is a slick and funny series, though it is probably best taken in small doses. Since it follows a distinct formula, it can get a tad repetitious if you watch a bunch back to back.

There are a handful of bonus features included on the DVD. You get a standard “making of” featurette, some deleted scenes, and featurettes on the digital cameras and stunts. You’ll also find a video where Dean Devlin surprised the cast via video conference that they had been renewed for a second season. Rounding out the extras is “Beth Riesgraf Crazy Actress Spoof Video,” a video in which the creators label her as a diva and show her coming into a writer’s meeting with her entourage to demand changes to her character. It’s funny, but goes a bit over the top when she suggests she should be renamed “Sharker”… after a shark. Which she demonstrates by flopping on the table.

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