Death in Paradise CoverBUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $24.96
RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

The Pitch

Jesse Stone returns for more hard boiled domestic disturbance action in a small Massachusetts town. His facial hair remains unchanged.

The Humans

Tom Selleck, Viola Davis, William Devane and Steven Flynn

The Nutshell

Jesse Stone’s fantastic life of drinking hard scotch and scowling at people all day is disturbed when a body is found floating in the local lake. It’s a murdered 13-year-old girl about town and she was pregnant at the time of her death. Is she the victim of a murderous frat-boy who decided to take advantage of her nature? Or is it something more sinister, like a pedophile? Someone get Dateline NBC on the phone.

The Crypt Kepper finds his next piece of ass.

Of course, one case isn’t enough to satisfy Jesse Stone. There’s also yet another bout of domestic violence to deal with, as a drunken husband routinely beats on his wife. Jesse does his best to console the woman and threaten the man’s life, but his interference may just push the man over the edge. Will Jesse defuse the situation by challenging the husband to a drinking contest?

There’s also plenty of character development to be had. In the first two Jesse Stone movies, Jesse was a troubled, grizzled alcoholic. Now he’s just a troubled, grizzled drunk. There’s a difference! He’s trying to cope with his addiction to scotch with the help of a troubled, grizzled ex-alcoholic therapist. He’s also forging another relationship with a woman younger than him and struggling to break free from the memory of his ex-wife. After all, well adjusted cops aren’t interesting. Elliot Stabler and Robert Goren are evidence of that.

The Lowdown

The previous Jesse Stone films like Night Passage and Stone Cold felt like self contained stories that just happened to have the same characters. Death in Paradise breaks this trend by calling back events from the other films and leaving plotlines unresolved. It almost feels like a pilot episode for a proposed Jesse Stone series. With Selleck taking over on NBC’s Las Vegas next season, that’s probably not going to happen.

I’ve already had to listen to Jack Bauer’s whining this week. I’m not putting up with your crap too, Magnum.

There is another film coming out later this month (which makes the fact that the DVDs don’t come out until June pretty weird), so maybe the plotlines will resolve themselves there. Still, it feels like a weird tactic for a string of previously self contained telefilms. Want to learn the answers to your questions, dear viewer! Don’t touch that dial for six months!

Thematically, Death in Paradise is pretty similar to its predecessors. Jesse has no good officers or crime labs at his disposal, so he’s forced to rely on police intuition and his surly demeanor in order to trick the criminals into giving themselves up. Proving the guilt of the bad guys in a court of law would be impossible since he doesn’t collect evidence, so he usually finds a way to brutally murder them in order to prevent that little snafu. Police work at its finest.

The Jesse Stone movies are all ultimately mediocre cop dramas. The actual police details in the stories are on par with Walker Texas Ranger and can’t compare to The Wire or The Shield, much less Law and Order. The only thing left then is character development, which there is precious little of since Jesse seems frozen in time. If his character changes too much from one movie to another, viewers may be confused. On the other hand, there are so few movies that there’s barely any time to even tweak his character. After three movies he’s only beginning to think of curtailing his drinking. Maybe by the sixth he’ll get serious about it

That last box of Boo Berry is mine! Step away or innocent produce is gonna get hurt.

These films just go in through one ear and out the other. If you’re a fan of the books, you might get a thrill out of seeing them adapted on the small string, but everyone else can undoubtedly find better material on any other channel or elsewhere on the DVD shelf.

The Package

The extras on this release are exactly the same as on Night Passage .No in-depth feature about how the concentric patterns in Tom Selleck’s resemble alien crop circles or one about how his moustache is actually hardened chitin and a result of a leap in evolution.. All you’ll get for the trouble of clicking the “extras” selection are four DVD previews for such Seinfeld – Season 8, Catch and Release, The Pursuit of Happyness and Driving Lessons.

I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now. I’m Lance Henriksening.

Seinfeld and The Pursuit of Happyness are such little known gems. It’s a good thing these previews were included for all two people who haven’t heard of them. Putting previews of movies that people who liked Death in Paradise might find interesting just wouldn’t make sense at all. Putting the previews of the other Jesse Stone movies would just be ludicrous! Then again, the television commercials for Stone Cold and Night Passage might convince people not to watch them.

Overall: 5.0 out of 10