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Blu-ray Review Real Men Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Neil Middlemiss

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Real Men Blu-ray Review

Chances are you’ve never heard of Real Men. And even if you have, chances are you haven’t seen it. And that’s criminal. Out of the 1980s came a number of comedies that he still herald, or at least fondly speak of, today. Police Academy, Coming to America, Vacation, and Fletch to name a few. That Real Men isn’t spoken naturally among that list of memorably funny films to come out of that decade is a mystery. The film features a playful story with an unpredictable mix of silly and comedy moments that flow naturally into, and out of the strange places the film walks into. Real Men is an unsung classic. I have been a fan since watching (and being captured by) a worn-out VHS version back in the day, it’s entirely possible that my high regard for the film is driven by nostalgia, or from the film finding me at just the right moment to both appeal to, and help form, my sense of what is funny. Released for the first time in Blu-ray courtesy of Kino with a sufficient audio and video presentation, this is the absolute best this film has looked and sounded.



Studio: Other

Distributed By: Kino Lorber

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles:

Rating: PG-13

Run Time: 1 Hr. 25 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray

Standard

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: A

Release Date: 07/14/2015

MSRP: $29.95




The Production Rating: 4/5

Bob: What are they trying to do?
Nick: They're trying to kill me. They know I can't afford a loss like that

 

Bob Wilson (John Ritter) is the definition of ordinary. His life is ordered, his resolve weak, and his yard well-manicured. When a CIA agent who looks exactly like Bob is killed during the dry run of a mission of national and global importance, the agencies top man, Nick Pirandello (James Belushi) is tasked with securing Bob as an asset. He must escort Bob across the country so that he can take the place of the slain agent and complete the vital mission. Nick’s methods are unorthodox and Bob makes your typical coward look like a brave hero. They don’t get along. But for the sake of the mission, they’ll need to find a way.

 

Real Men probably shouldn’t work as a comedy. Around the familiar road-trip structure, dashes of absurd and peculiar pursuits are peppered. Even the central premise is flavored with science-fiction that leaves the entire affair a strange but wonderful hybrid. The result should be a genre-confused mess that stumbles over its ideas of what’s funny, but, against all odds, the mix is so delightfully eclectic at times that one can’t help reveling in the fun it’s having with itself.

 

Watching James Belushi confidently play Nick Pirandello, the CIA’s best agent with comedic aplomb and, when the time calls for it, distracted whimsy, is a joy every time I see it. Partnered with the weedy and average ‘everyman’ character of Bob Wilson, played vibrantly by John Ritter, Belushi relishes the madcap. This is the James Belushi that we needed to see more of (and we did a year later in Red Heat.) Ritter, too, throws himself unafraid into the pathetic cowardice and resigned-to-be-average styling of his Bob character. As the film progresses, Bob finds courage and Nick falters (due to his sexual encounter,) leading up to the welcome, if entirely expected, denouement. But along way the script provides some fun banter between the two and offering a number of well-timed sarcastic quips from Belushi.

 

First time director Dennis Feldman, who also wrote the feature, holds the madness together well enough, and allows the actors to play their roles to the very edges. As director, he is clearly invested in the characters he’s created and allows the playful mix of comedy and farce to move with good pacing throughout. Feldman wouldn’t direct again after Real Men, instead focusing on producing and writing screenplays for movies like Dead Again, Species, and the quite terrible Virus. Sadly, he would not return to comedy.

 

Real Men failed outright upon its September 25th release, finishing up its run with less than a million dollars made. By contrast, 1987’s top film, Three Men and a Baby topped out at $187.7MM. Still, its commercial failure is not an indication of the quirk and quality of this unheralded gem. Rather a mix of bad timing (released just a week after Fatal Attraction stormed theaters, and James Belushi’s own The Principal hit cinemas,) finding its way to just 150 screens, and audiences unsure of what to make of the comedy on display.



Video Rating: 3.5/5  3D Rating: NA

Kino presents Real Men with a better than expected encode, featuring satisfactory sharpness (though still quite soft, relatively speaking,) and detail, grain structure, and reasonably good color. Exterior shots hold up the best and reveal the greater amount of clarity. This is without a doubt the best this film has looked (and is likely to look) on home video. A few specks of dust and other detritus pop up from time to time but aren’t distracting.



Audio Rating: 3.5/5

The available 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio option sufficiently satisfies and is perhaps most supportive of the wonderfully playful score by Miles Goodman (a score that deserves a release…La-La Land Records, are you listening?) Dialogue is easy to understand and though the mix isn’t particularly dynamic, it handles the various shoot-outs nicely.



Special Features Rating: 1/5

Trailer (SD)



Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Real Men is stridently irreverent, clever and cavalier in ways that still give me chuckles today, and in this terrific Blu-ray release, fans old and new can remember or discover just how sharp the comedy remains today. Filled with quotable chuckles and even a few corny gags that will tease a knowing smile, Real Men is a super little film. Fans of 80s comedies should pick up a copy without delay. As a lifelong fan, I can’t recommend this enough - perhaps with the hope that more people will discover this hidden treasure and enjoy the uniqueness of this unsung comedy. Recommended!


Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss


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Citizen87645

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Cameron Yee
Count me as one who had not heard of the movie. I'll have to remedy the "not seen" part now. Thanks!
 

skylark68

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I actually saw this film at release. I was one of maybe 10 people at the theater on opening weekend. A funny film if I remember correctly, but strangely enough I haven't seen it since. This is worth picking up.
 

PaulDA

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I saw this first run back in the 80s (at least, if it has a certain spoof of a Star Wars moment, then I saw it). Enjoyed it and wouldn't mind watching it again.
 

Sean Bryan

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My brother and I saw this on HBO way back when, and it cracked us up. We didn't know what we were watching, but it was so silly we enjoyed the hell out of it.

To this day, whenever I hear CCR's 'Down on the Corner' I immediately think of Bob staring down those dudes in the bar.
 

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