DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

RocknRolla - Blu-ray Review



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</script></div>{/googleAds}Guy Ritchie's latest offering, RocknRolla, is a bit of a rehashing of his best work thus far. Visually, it matches the look of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, but the humor throughout the film is straight out of Snatch. The fact that RocknRolla is set back on Ritchie's familiar turf is not a bad thing - at all. RocknRolla is vibrant, fresh, and innovative; it's Ritchie doing what we love shooting from the hip and bringing back the quirk in cinema.

Rock n RollaRitchie sets this hyperkinetic tale of the criminal underworld on the mean streets of modern day London and explains how property is worth more than drugs to anyone interested in making a name for him (or her) self. The story involves a shady land deal and then it goes sour, every criminal, accountant, crook, rock star, agent and crack fiend wants a piece of the action. A real estate scam involving a Russian mobster and unrelenting crime boss Lenny Cole (Tom Wilkinson) falls through because of a theft involving a criminal One Two (Gerard Butler) and his gang, a corrupt accountant Stella (Thandie Newton) and her homosexual husband (a detail important to the story), an unpredictable punk rocker Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), who has just recently faked his own death in favor of seclusion, smoking, and a life of drugs, and a â"borrowed" painting.

After a wicked-cool opening credit sequence, RocknRolla begins with narration that subtly drops from the picture as the cast is introduced and the plot becomes clear. The narration helps to explain what is happening in London and the locales of the film, as well as some of the characters that the film introduces us, too. The cast in RocknRolla is superb and look like they are having fun with Ritchie's world. There are only two cast members that seem out of place here and those are Jeremy Pivens and Chris "Ludacris" Bridges (yes, the rap star) starring as managers of Johnny Quid. It is suspected that they know the whereabouts of Quid after it is discovered that he faked his own death and they are brought into the events. Unfortunately, they don't have much to do and neither one brings much to their role. I am not sure if Pivens was suffering from his weird stomach illness or what, but he simply dialed this performance in (Smoking Aces he is not) and Ludacris, well, he just needs to stick with music and videos because I ain't buying what he's selling on-screen.

While this is an all-star cast, the real focus is Gerard Butler's performance which is pure magic. He is One Two. There is no doubt about his intentions here and his inclusion in the film is a genius bit of casting. While there is no smoldering chemistry between himself and Thandie Newton's character, there is a strong chemistry between himself and the other two members of his gang. They steal the show and the bit where they are fighting off the Russian mobsters that â"just won't die" is absolutely one of Ritchie's finest moments behind the camera. Also noteworthy is the sex scene between Newton and Butler for its comedic and ingenious value. Apparently, Butler was sick the day the scene was shot and Newton refused to kiss him so Ritchie had to work from the hip and re-imagine the scene. The final product? Awesome. What could have been the usual love scene got turned on its head and became something memorable.

The movie is a blast and so is the material. While some people think Ritchie is a one-trick pony type of filmmaker there are others who appreciate what he does behind the camera and for those people out there, then RocknRolla is for you. It is pure adrenaline with a smart story and a great cast behind it... and, if the closing credits are to be believed, a sequel isn't too far behind.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
4 stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Blu-ray Disc: 1080p High Definition 16x9

Screen Formats: 2.4:1

Subtitles: English; French; Spanish; Dutch & Potuguese (Music and select bonus material)

Language and Sound: Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1; Dolby Digital: English 5.1; French 5.1 (dubbed in Quebec); Spanish 5.1; Portuguese 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; commentary; additional scenes; featurettes.

* Commentary
o Feature-length commentary track with Writer/Director Guy Ritchie and co-star Mark Strong.
* Featurettes
o Blokes, Birds and Backhanders: Inside RocknRolla (in high definition)
o Guy's Town: The Director Reflects on his Fascination with Ever-Evolving London (in High Definition)
* Deleted Scenes
* Digital Copy

Number of Discs: 2 with Keepcase Packaging - disc 2 is a digital copy.

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