March 16, 2005


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Criterion Studios

Black, like the fine state of Virginia, is for lovers. Except perhaps these lovers are not the kind youíd like to vacation with. These lovers treasure not the wild diversions of Busch Gardens, the warm waves off Viginia Beach or when history comes alive at Colonial Williamsburg. No, these travellers are here for the snap of a rifle bolt and the crack of a bullet. The mule kick of a 12-guage and the testosterone rush of shot-gunning a door down.

Cause letís be honest, if we could open every door with such forceful authority we would.

Black does one thing, exceptionally well: shooting stuff. You experience the ballet of frantic gunfights with an ample array of arms translating your ballistic vision into lovingly rendered virtual reality. Black understands that, when you shoot something with a rocket-propelled grenade, a miniature Michael Bay movie unfolds from the point of impact.

There is some story off-handedly draped across the shooting but itís silly, basically ignorable, proffering up an unsatisfying ending and showcasing all of Blackís short-comings (like, for instance the lack of a map function!)

But, like the emotional abuse of a high school lover, you put that aside, shamefully, possibly foolishly, and refocus on the jaw-dropping portrait painted in muzzle flash, light bloom and dynamic dust whorls that riddling a wall with machine gun fire produced.

If you like shooting stuff, or think you might, Black currently owns you. A

ó Glenn Given.