DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Starsky & Hutch

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Herb Kane, Jul 18, 2004.

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  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]

    Starsky & Hutch






    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 2004
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 100 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Enhanced Widescreen
    Audio: DD 5.1
    Color/B&W: Color
    Languages: English & French
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
    MSRP: $27.95
    Package: Keepcase





    The Feature:
    Not that I’d have to stress this, but as you can well imagine a film starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson is going to be a comedy first, a serious police drama second – er, maybe not at all. Due to Hollywood’s lack of imagination, we’re going through a period of relatively successful police drama shows that aired during the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s and turning them into full length motion picture films e.g. S.W.A.T., Charlie’s Angels, The Mod Squad, Dragnet, The Fugitive and I suspect before it’s all over, we’ll see films representing Adam 12, The Rookies, Hawaii Five-0 among the many others. Starsky & Hutch is director Todd Phillips’ attempt at satirizing the popular 70’s cop drama.

    David Starsky (Ben Stiller) is your typical straight-laced cop always on the straight and narrow and as serious as a heart attack. His laid back partner is Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson (Owen Wilson), who associates with as many bad guys as he does with cops. Their long time informant is “Huggy Bear” (played by Snoop Dogg and I never thought I’d ever write words like these, but he actually steals the show here).

    Not that the story is of any real consequence, after Starsky gets Hutch as his new partner (his 12th partner in the past several years), they are dispatched to investigate a homicide. The body of a man has washed ashore (a “floater”) and while Hutch suggests they let body float on down the coastline to become another agency’s problem, Starsky takes the discovery a little more seriously. Soon after, they learn the murder is drug related and a ruthless drug kingpin, Reese Feldman (played by Vince Vaughn) and his nerdy sidekick Kevin (played by Jason Bateman) become the center their investigation. Reese’s girlfriend (on the side), Kitty (played by Juliette Lewis) also factors into the equation as does an incarcerated drug dealer, Big Earl (played by Will Ferrell), whose hilariously funny jail scene is a must see.

    Although the film was commercially successful, it relies too heavily on making fun of and poking fun at the 70’s. Needless to say there are countless jokes pertaining to hairstyles, food, disco dancing and most of the things many of us have tried to erase from our memory cells. Even though I do remember the original TV Series and was able to spot much of what was being satirized from the show, newer gags or joke material was too few and far between. While I thought the chemistry between Wilson and Stiller was a good combination, I’m afraid they didn’t have much to work with beyond the original theme of the show itself. For me the highlight was seeing a cameo of the original duo Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul show up to offer a replacement set of wheels to the pair who have, well, lost their prized vehicle.

    The single disc comes in a keepcase and upon insertion of the disc, we get three trailers for The Whole Ten Yards, The Big Bounce (2004) and interestingly, the upcoming DVD debut of the Seinfeld show which is a Columbia product, all of which are easily skipable.

    The Feature: 3/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Video:
    By and large this transfer is generally pleasing. Shown in its 2.35:1 enhanced widescreen, my only real complaint was the seemingly excessive amount of filtering that was used creating a softer look than I fancy. Some of the image definition was very sharp but for the most part, facial close ups, and wider shots were softer than I would have preferred.

    There was a better than average sense of dimensionality rendering a good film like image. In contrast to another WB new release I just watched (The Big Bounce), this film lacks the detail and definition and isn’t quite as impressive in terms of depth and dimensionality. As we’d expect, the print was immaculate – free of any dirt or blemishes and film grain of any density was virtually non existent.

    Colors looked very impressive! The color palette was very impressive displaying a beautiful array of vibrant colors that were saturated quite nicely. Starsky’s signature candy apple red Ford Gran Torino never looked better. Skin tones looked real and accurate (perhaps just slightly red). Blacks were deep and whites were contrasted perfectly, always looking clean and crisp.

    The overall image was rock solid and stable, never once suffering from any light shimmer and it was all but impossible to detect any edge enhancement or signs of compression errors.

    Warning: A FULLSCREEN version exists.

    Video: 4/5
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    Audio:
    The audio presentation on this Dolby Digital 5.1 transfer is better than average and slightly aggressive.

    The track is clean and free of any hiss or other distracting anomalies and for the most part sounds natural. The track is slightly on the aggressive side, which is for the most part an up front track. Dialogue was always clear and bold and was never in competition with K.C. And The Sunshine Band or Barry Manilow… true story. All hope wasn’t lost though as you’ll also hear The Average White Band. Great stuff…!!

    The dynamic range was slightly better than average and the soundstage, which was moderately wide, was pretty much up front, but all kidding aside, the music sounded very wide and spatial.

    The 5.1 track employed the surrounds mostly for the purpose of envelopment more than directionality. Although tactful they were effective during many of the gunshots and car chases and indeed, there are plenty of examples. LFE was present during a few of the action scenes, but that was about it.

    Audio: 4/5
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    Special Features:
    There is a decent assortment of special features on this disc but not much in terms of substance:
    [*] A Commentary By Director Todd Phillips. The commentary isn’t really all that in-depth and really doesn’t offer up enough fruit for the two hours your going to spend picking, much of which is him simply narrating what we’re watching on screen – skip this one.
    [*] Fashion Fa Sizzle Wit Huggie Bizzle is a brief tour wit Huggy as he proudly shows off his wardrobe and jewelry for the film. Duration: 2:41 minutes
    [*] Next up is a Last Look Special which is a satirical look at the making of the film (in essence, a satire of a satire…). They basically spend the entire time exclaiming how difficult it was to make the film as they recount their horrible experiences during the shoot… Duration: 9:19 minutes
    [*] Deleted Scenes consists of six cut scenes, which were deleted for a reason, however, the final scene which includes Glaser and Soul should have been included. Duration: 6:31 minutes
    [*] Gag Reel which includes a number of funny and flubbed scenes. Duration: 5:00 minutes
    [*] Lastly, the Theatrical Trailer is included and is in perfect shape. Duration: 2:26 minutes

    Special Features: 2/5
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    **Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



    Final Thoughts:
    Perhaps it’s just me… but is there anyone else out there tired of seeing and hearing about Ben Stiller…? Obviously, he’s striking while the iron is hot and right now, it’s white hot. It’s almost as bad as seeing Terry Bradshaw in yet another TV commercial… The film is not a bad film per se, but it’s reliance weighs too heavily on the theme of the original show and of the garish look and feel of the 70’s. There are laughs to be found, but they are in rather short supply.

    If you enjoyed this film in the theaters or are a diehard fan of the Stiller and Wilson combo, I’d have no reservations about picking this up as the presentation is fantastic. However, as far as the film is concerned, if you haven’t yet seen it, I’d suggest a rental first.

    Overall Rating: 3.5/5 (not an average)
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]





    Release Date: July 20th, 2004
     
  2. Dillon*G

    Dillon*G Second Unit

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    Good Review.I saw this in theatres and I enjoyed it and will be picking it up on Tuesday.
     
  3. Mike Wadkins

    Mike Wadkins Supporting Actor

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    i thought the video was soft in the orig print was it not filtered to look 70's ?

    i love the picture quality on this dvd the extras do suck tho
     
  4. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    Mike, if that was the case, I'd say they failed miserably. The overall look seemed very contemporary, with many shots that were sharp - it was however, inconsistent. If they were trying for a 70's look, I would expect grain and a muted color palette, neither of which existed.

    That said, I still gave the video presentation a decent grade since it looked pretty darn good.

    Herb.
     
  5. Mike Wadkins

    Mike Wadkins Supporting Actor

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    fair point well made
     
  6. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    there is an egg.

    when you go to the features and go to the lower ones and then go to the right to hi-light a star, you will get to see vaughn play a brady bunch trivial contest with a guard on the set of the movie.
     
  7. Michael Napier

    Michael Napier Stunt Coordinator

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    I rented this DVD tonight. I may be mistaken, but I seem to remember during the big disco battle, the music was several disco tunes cut together in sort of a medley.

    On the DVD, there is only one song playing ("That's the Way I Like It")

    Anybody else notice this? Or am I crazy?
     
  8. Jens Raethel

    Jens Raethel Second Unit

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    Thanks for the review!
    Im going to give this a try.[​IMG]
     
  9. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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    I'm leaning towards crazy. My memory of that scene only includes "That's the Way (I Like It)." (Admittedly, I may be the one who is crazy...)
     
  10. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    I'm so glad I checked out a buddie's copy and didn't open my own. This was one of the worst movies I've seen in a long time. While I mustered a few smiles, I didn't laugh once. Yeah, the presentation was great (especially the video), but it didn't save the film. It was like an excellent picture of garbage...yeah it looks great, but it's still garbage! Back to Wal-Mart it went.
     
  11. Rick Lyon

    Rick Lyon Stunt Coordinator

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    Ron Reda- You can return opened movies?

    Yea, I just bought it thinking it would be entertaining. Man was I wrong. This is a birthday gift for my wife's sister now. The movie was horrible, barely funny and I think had 1 explosion and a body count of 2 if lucky. It's Zoolander with guns that only get shot at horses, iguanas and hmm, occasionally at a bad guy. There is no action and the jokes are dated and not very funny. It;s like they were unsure to make it a comedy with lots of laughs or to make it an action movie. It's like a really bad Charlie's Angels 2 without the awesome cinematography and stunts. It's cheesy. It's not very funny and not very much action. Who cares what the video looks like when you are sitting there regretting the purchase.

    Horrible movie and I consider myself an easy fellow to please. I grew up on Starsky and Hutch and was very disappointed in this movie as a homage or movie version of the series. By itself, it's not even a decent movie without falling back on the history of the series. It's just awful.
     
  12. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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  13. Eric_B_C

    Eric_B_C Stunt Coordinator

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    I hated the movie. Thought it was awful, despite practically worshipping Owen Wilson.

    The problem was, survey says... BEN STILLER. Yep, I'm sick of the guy. Never liked him. Then I picked up Zoolander cheap, LOVED that... But that had Wilson and Ferrell in it to help...

    Stiller also grates due to casting his bloody wife in every other movie he makes.

    The movie may have worked had it been Owen with someone else. The casting of Snoop Dogg was a work of genius.
     
  14. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I'll go against the grain here and say I loved it. If you have seen the series, there are alot of jokes that you will miss if you haven't. They aren't really jokes persay but I found them funny due to the fact I had seen the original. All the characters fit in well. Stiller played his role perfectly and so did Wilson as did Snoop Dogg. The cameo roles were also quite good.

    I laughed ALOT and often and enjoyed the homage towards the series. So far all my friends have liked it too.
     

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