Money Talks Blu-ray Review

2.5 Stars Mediocre comic action picture
Money Talks Review Screenshot

In Money Talks, tiresome comic mayhem is the order of the day here.

Money Talks (1997)
Released: 22 Aug 1997
Rated: R
Runtime: 97 min
Director: Brett Ratner
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Cast: Charlie Sheen, Chris Tucker, Heather Locklear
Writer(s): Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow
Plot: Sought by police and criminals, a small-time huckster makes a deal with a TV newsman for protection.
IMDB rating: 6.2
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: Warner Archive
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 35 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray
Case Type: keep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 03/26/2024
MSRP: $21.99

The Production: 2.5/5

A loud, tiresome, and overblown odd couple comedy, Brett Ratner’s Money Talks trades on the blueprint of the Eddie Murphy-Nick Nolte mismatched duo in 48 HRS. for a dose of frenetic mayhem and excessive verbal diarrhea all its own. This was Ratner’s feature film debut, so perhaps he can be excused for going overboard in three or four instances in order to establish his credentials in features after a career shooting music videos, but that doesn’t prevent this 95-minute comic caper from running out of gas before it’s over and squandering some promising comic ideas by surrounding them with noise, smoke, and mirrors.

Street hustler Franklin Hatchett (Chris Tucker) has swindled enough people to interest Channel 12 newsman James Russell (Charlie Sheen) into setting him up for arrest. Cuffed to French diamond smuggler Raymond Villard (Gerard Ismael) on the way in a bus to jail, Villard’s terrorist crew pulls off an elaborate escape plan killing several police guards and prisoners in the process and placing a bull’s eye on Hatchett’s back as a cop killer. Trying to settle a score with Russell for turning him in, Hatchett becomes Russell’s ticket to big ratings if he can keep him alive until Monday when sweeps week begins, but Hatchett decides to use Russell as his ticket to finding the stash of diamonds worth $15 million hidden in an antique foreign car up for auction. But by tying himself to Hatchett, Russell becomes a wanted man himself hunted by Villard and his men, the police being led by detectives Pickett (Paul Gleason) and Williams (Daniel Roebuck), and a street gang whom Hatchett owes $7K.

The screenplay by Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow is full of eventful action and destructive havoc with calmer sequences featuring Hatchett’s pregnant girl friend Paula (Elise Neal), Russell’s confused fiancé Grace (Heather Locklear), and her concerned millionaire parents (Paul Sorvino, Veronica Cartwright). In one of the cleverer bits of tomfoolery, Hatchett pretends to be the son of Vic Damone and Diahann Carroll giving him instant entry into Italian papa Cipriani’s (Sorvino) inner circle leading to the movie’s high point: the auction of the vintage car holding the diamonds where protagonists and antagonists come up with a hilarious array of bidding gestures that double as putdowns for their competitors. Conversely, there’s a loud and unfunny chase scene that offers lots of death and destruction (the nonchalance with which people and property are rubbed out in the film is truly disturbing) and the all-stops-out climactic encounter at the L.A. Coliseum where all of the rival parties gather for a deadly shootout leads to a fiery culmination of the assault narrative.

Charlie Sheen gets top billing in the film (Tucker seems to get it in the publicity materials and posters), but it’s clearly Chris Tucker’s film all the way. He rarely shuts up, motor-mouthing his way with any and all who come in his path, enough so that’s it’s almost a relief when Sheen’s Russell finally punches him quiet for a few blessed seconds (he quickly retaliates, of course) and pushing the action forward at every conceivable moment once the escape plan and diamond plot starts rolling.  Sheen seems restrained through much of the story though he gets a moment or two of bravura heroism near the climax. Paul Sorvino and Chris Tucker make an amiable pair in their two or three scenes together, more animated and amusing than any of Tucker’s scenes with Sheen. Gerard Ismael is one dimensional as the bad guy, but that’s all he needs to be in this kind of action comedy. Paul Gleason and Daniel Roebuck are the cops on the case who provide a surprise or two along the way. Heather Locklear and Elise Neal look very nice but offer little else of interest as they’re apart from all the buddy comedy action stuff that makes up the bulk of the movie. Yes, that’s David Warner as Russell’s television station boss who fires and then rehires him once he gets wind of the exclusive Russell is working on.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

The film’s Panavision 2.39:1 theatrical aspect ratio is faithfully generated in this 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. The images are clear and clean but are not always the sharpest or most detailed. Flesh tones look very nice throughout. Black levels are fine during the nighttime scenes. The movie has been divided into 21 chapters.

Audio: 4.5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo sound mix has some heft to it during the film’s most explosive passages, but more could have been done with the sound design to capture more grittily street life especially in the early scenes. All of Chris Tucker’s verbalisms have been well recorded, and the mix of pop and hip-hop music and Lalo Schifrin’s background funk are all on fine aural display on the soundtrack.

Special Features: 1/5

Theatrical Trailer (2:25, HD)

Overall: 2.5/5

Overly derivative of many 1980s buddy comedies with much of the same tone and tempo of those hits, Brett Ratner’s Money Talks breaks no new ground but is good for a laugh or two. Fans of his or the two leading stars will certainly find the Warner Archive Blu-ray right up their alley.

Matt has been reviewing films and television professionally since 1974 and has been a member of Home Theater Forum’s reviewing staff since 2007, his reviews now numbering close to three thousand. During those years, he has also been a junior and senior high school English teacher earning numerous entries into Who’s Who Among America’s Educators and spent many years treading the community theater boards as an actor in everything from Agatha Christie mysteries to Stephen Sondheim musicals.

Post Disclaimer

Some of our content may contain marketing links, which means we will receive a commission for purchases made via those links. In our editorial content, these affiliate links appear automatically, and our editorial teams are not influenced by our affiliate partnerships. We work with several providers (currently Skimlinks and Amazon) to manage our affiliate relationships. You can find out more about their services by visiting their sites.

Share this post:

Most Popular