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Scarface - Blu-ray Review

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Scarface - Blu-ray Review

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3 Stars

Today, remakes are an epidemic, so it might come as a surprise to some folk who turned this 80s gangster flick into a revered cult hit that it is, in fact, a remake. Unlike a lot of today’s unnecessary re-dos, Brian De Palma’s contemporizing of Howard Hawk’s 1932 original presented a social relevance of its time that was overshadowed at the time by its no holds barred violence and irreverence.

Time has been kinder to Scarface, with even the latest generation idolizing the antics of one Tony Montana and his rise to the top of the Florida drug trade. He is the epitome of 80s capitalism and a perversion in excess of the American dream, proof sickening positive that a man can become whatever he wants in the land of opportunity—and people still love that message, if not Montana’s methods.

Tony Montana is a ‘political refugee’ from Cuba in the 1980s; he is a ruthless thug and has aspirations of greatness he will stop at nothing to achieve. They begin with him murdering someone to get his green card and escalate as he rapidly rises through the ranks of Florida’s organized crime. Through unbreakable and fearless determination, Montana becomes the head of his own drug empire. But any joy he might have derived from his ‘success’ is short-lived; between his marriage imploding, the cops and rivals bad guys nipping at his heels, and his own drug-fuelled paranoia, the clock is ticking on his brutal life.

This is a real hybrid of a movie; it is a straight down the line gangster flick on one hand and on the other, for all its excesses, it is a sophisticated character study—a real cautionary tale in that traditional framework from Oliver Stone. There is no direct antagonist because Montana is his own worst enemy. It is steeped in its own time, with 80s excess oozing from every frame, and it dares to go all out, so much so it still presents as one of the most violent and uncompromising films on the subject ever made.

Al Pacino as this character—excessive, flamboyant, and over the top—has become an icon to some, and it is testament to his performance that such a bad guy ends up being rooted for. This reviewer, however, never bought the character, not back then and not now. Such an unhinged psychopathic monster could only ever succeed, as he does, through the conceit of a motion picture narrative. I just don’t buy that someone like Tony Montana could ever rise to the heights he does or even breathe past his first meeting with organised crime. As such, though realism is not a prerequisite to me, or to this picture, I could never get past that conceit and enjoy the character’s journey. I found the supporting characters suffered for this conceit as well, particularly Michelle Pfeiffer’s mob moll. Bottom line is, if you don’t like, or at least believe, in a character’s journey, you won’t enjoy the story.

Story aside, if you’re to look at the film as a whole, it’s a class act, well shot, impeccably acted, and undeniably charismatic. If you buy Tony Montana—and many folks do—then I can see why this movie has become the cult classic it is. If you don’t, as much as you might appreciate the talent that is poured into it, this film kind of leaves you cold.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Scarface - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R.
: Brian De Palma
: Oliver Stone
Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer; Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio; F. Murray Abraham; Robert Loggia
Genre: Drama | Crime | Thriller
He was Tony Montana. The world will remember him by another name...SCARFACE.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I kill a communist for fun, but for a green card, I gonna carve him up real nice."
Universal Pictures
Release Date:
December 9, 1983
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 6, 2011

Synopsis: When Fidel Castro opens the harbor at Mariel, Cuba, he sends 125,000 Cuban refugees to reunite with their relatives in the United States. Among all the refugees, there is one who wants it all, his name is Tony Montana. Tony and his friend Manny when they arrive in the United States and start in small time jobs, soon they are hired by Omar Suarez to pay money to a group of Colombians. When the deal goes wrong, Tony and Manny leave with the money and succeed in their job. Soon Tony meets with drug kingpin Frank Lopez and falls for his boss's girl Elvira. Pretty soon Tony will know that those who want it all, do not last forever and that is the price of power. The world will know Montana by one name....SCARFACE.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Details}

Scarface - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades

Blu-ray Disc
3 Stars

4 stars

Blu-ray Experience
3.5 stars


Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 6, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; English: DTS 2.0; French: DTS Mono; Spanish: DTS Mono
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (as download); DVD copy; Bonus View (PiP); BD-Live; D-Box; Mobile features
Playback: Region-free

You get loads of extras befitting a release of this magnitude. Video quality is inconsistent with noticeable touch ups throughout and edge enhancement ever present; however colours are rich, black dense, and the sound is AWESOME. The best it has ever looked and definitely the best it’s ever sounded. A solid offering from Universal.



  • None

Special Features:

  • Scarface (1932) (93 minutes)
  • Picture in Picture Experience
  • Scarface Scoreboard
  • The Scarface Phenomenon (39 minutes)
  • The World of Tony Montana (12 minutes)
  • The Creating (30 minutes)
  • The Rebirth (10 minutes)
  • The Acting (15 minutes)
  • Scarface: The TV Version (3 minutes)
  • The Making of Scarface: The World Is Yours (12 minutes)
  • Deleted Scenes (22 minutes)
  • BD-Live Functionality
  • My Scenes Bookmarking

{2jtab: Trailer}


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