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Blu-ray Reviews

Money Train Blu-Ray

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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   MatthewA


    Lead Actor

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Posted July 03 2011 - 10:41 AM

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Money Train
Studio: Columbia Pictures (distributed by Image)
Year: 1995
Rated: R
Length: 110 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (inaccurately listed on the cover as 1.85:1)
Resolution: 1080p
Languages: English (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio)
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
MSRP: $17.97
Film Release Date: November 22, 1995
Disc Release Date: May 17, 2011
Disc Review Date: July 3, 2011

The Movie:
:star::star::half: out of :star::star::star::star::star:
After the commercial success of 1992’s White Men Can’t Jump, Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson reunited in this less successful pairing. It’s Christmas in New York; Charlie (Harrelson) and John (Snipes) are decoy cops and foster brothers. After tangling with Commissioner Patterson of the Transit Police (Robert Blake), they find themselves guarding the money train that carries all the fare. Meanwhile, they are paired with Grace (Jennifer Lopez, in one of her first roles before Selena brought her mainstream fame two years later), with whom they both become infatuated. Thousands of dollars in debt because of his gambling problem and feeling inferior to his foster brother, Charlie has something to prove. He proposes to John that the two of them rob the money train on New Years’ Eve. As Grace grows closer to John, Charlie becomes more desperate as his foster brother’s patience with his incompetence wears thin, and Patterson loses his patience with both of them.

Money Train was a huge critical and commercial flop when released, and more than a decade and a half later, it’s not hard to see why. Despite the spectacular special effects, and the two stars’ obvious chemistry—though their purportedly humorous banter falls flat—the film gets derailed by the love triangle subplot. Furthermore, Harrelson’s character of Charlie is such a stupid loser that it’s hard to care whether or not he gets the girl, or succeeds in his plan to rob the train, and equally hard to see why John puts up with him. Even worse is a pair of sequences with an arsonist that go nowhere. Director Joseph Ruben (Sleeping with the Enemy) is more interested in flashy location shots of New York City than doing anything with the flabby script or nondescript supporting performances; Jennifer Lopez is bland as the love interest, and poor Robert Blake is not given much to do with the cardboard villain he’s forced to play. Disappointingly, there was a good premise underneath all that dead weight. Maybe a more judicious editor could have whipped this overlong film into shape.

In hindsight, the one amusing aspect of this film is that Wesley Snipes has since gotten on the bad side of the law for tax evasion since this film came and went.

The Video:
:star::star::star::star: out of :star::star::star::star::star:
Shot in Super 35, the film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Colors run to the cool side, and the light grain structure is has not been removed. There are few traces of dirt and scratches. Blacks are dark without losing detail, and the picture is not overly bright at all. The transfer is encoded as AVC, and there are no artifacts that I could find, which, for an action-packed film on a single-layer Blu-Ray, is pretty good.

The Audio:
:star::star::star::star: out of :star::star::star::star::star:
The film’s soundtrack is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and it’s a very dynamic track indeed. Mark Mancina’s pulsating, archetypical “action movie score” really comes alive, and the surrounds get plenty of activity.

The Extras:
:star: out of :star::star::star::star::star:
While not mentioned on the cover, the only extra is the film’s theatrical trailer. It never received a substantial special edition on DVD, so nothing is missing.

Final Score:
:star::star::half: out of :star::star::star::star::star:
Despite the action and the appeal of the two stars, Money Train is an overlong and disappointing ride that takes too many unnecessary detours. At least it looks and sound good in its voyage to Blu-Ray.

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then. And while you're at it, PLEASE stop dropping DVD/laserdisc extras from Blu-ray releases of other films.

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