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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Fighting (Blu-Ray + Digital Copy) [Blu-ray]

 

(Dito Montiel, 2009)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Rogue Pictures & Misher Films

Blu-ray: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: ALL (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:47:19 or 1:44:56  -  Rated (PG-13) & Unrated Versions

Disc Size: 48,853,155,218 bytes

Feature Size: 23,444,029,440 bytes or 23,098,546,176 bytes -  Rated (PG-13) & Unrated Versions

Average Bitrate: 22.25 Mbps

Chapters: 20

Case: Standard Blu-ray Case w/ slipcover

Release date: August 25th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3573 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3573 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit

 

Subtitles:

English SDH, Spanish, French, none

 

Extras:

• Rated (PG-13) & Unrated Versions of the Film

• 5 Deleted Scenes – in HD (8:03)

• D-Box Motion Enabled

• BD-Live 2.0

• Digital Copy Disc

 

 

The Film:

My promo sheet contains a two word quote from A.O. Scott's review of the film: "A Winner!" OK, said I, I'll keep an open mind. I have always like Terrence Howard and those warm expressive eyes of his, and I saw Channing Tatum in Step Up and thought he had potential. Of the director, Dito Montiel, I knew nothing. Cutting right to the chase, I liked this movie – a lot. I liked his sense of character – both human and the neighborhood. I liked that I saw a glimmer of James Dean behind Tatum's hesitations and knowing/not-knowing glances. I liked that we just sort of drift into the fight scenes without orchestra swells or cheering audiences. Because I liked it, I felt kind of let down by the final fight, which wasn't staged as tightly as the earlier ones, and there are a couple moments where too much cutting within a dramatic talking scene loses track of the emotional pulse.


Fighting is not a great movie, and has nothing new to say, but it tells a familiar tale in fresh ways. I noticed later that Amazon users rated this movie a mere 5.1 out of over 2000 votes. I wonder what they expected. Since A.O. Scott noted the Joe Buck/Ratso Rizzo connection as I did (it wasn't much of a reach, but I felt it was the heart of the film), and since he writes much better than I, here's a few lines from his review and a link to the rest:

"From an impromptu street brawl near Rockefeller Center (where he is trying to sell phony iPods and pirated Harry Potter books), Shawn [Channing Tatum] works his way through the underground fight clubs in different neighborhoods, where well-heeled patrons of various ethnicities (Russian in Brooklyn, Hispanic in the Bronx) pay money to watch guys punch one another. . . A lot of [the film's] hustle consists of killing time, waiting for something to happen. And it is in its slackest moments that the real poetry of “Fighting” breaks through. Mr. Montiel has an odd, stuttery sense of pacing, an eccentric, almost haphazard approach to framing and a fondness for loosely structured scenes driven by improvised dialogue. Either he has no idea what he’s doing or he’s in possession of a vividly idiosyncratic directing style. Having been unexpectedly delighted by “[A Guide to Recognizing Your] Saints” and “Fighting” — which both swim through seas of cliché and emerge sparkling and fresh — I’m inclined to choose the second possibility." - A.O. Scott
 

Excerpt of A.O. Scott's review from NY Times located HERE

 


 

Image: 9/9 NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

Light and color changes from scene to scene like a boxer dancing in the ring, while the Blu-ray follows its artistic intentions without dropping a beat, keeping the bit rates in about the upper 20s and low 30s. I found no distracting artifacts, enhancements or noise reduction. On the contrary, a tight grain lends a little grit to the image, and a boost in contrast suggests a faux-documentary look that makes everything feel that much more spontaneous.
 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 8/8
I remember the first time I heard gunfire in a feature film that sounded like what I thought the real thing ought to sound like: The movie was Under Fire (with Nick Nolte, Ed Harris, Gene Hackman and Joanna Cassidy.) The sound of spent casings falling on the pavement was astonishingly realistic; the total effect very persuasive. Movies where guys slug it out – either in the ring or in the streets – rarely seem to get it right. (Fight Club is a standout exception.) But, then, getting it right is clearly not the usual intention, for, unlike real gunfire, which has dramatic impact without pumping it up, blows to the body don't. In Fighting snap is added to each blow by increasing the upper mid-range. I'm not all that crazy about the result, but it's not likely the fault of the transfer.

In all other respects, I think this is a dynamite, if appropriately unrefined soundtrack, with street corner and club ambiance making for an immersive experience. Its music has enormous energy, whether part of the score as we hear at the film's opening, or pounding away in the various club venues - where the bass is pumped up to gut-thumping levels. Dialogue in such situations is perfectly layered into the mix, permitting just enough space and crispness to hear what's being said over the din.

Speaking of dialogue, one thing that rarely gets addressed in reviews of this sort is how well the sound engineer captures the melody of the actor's character. I mention this now because Terrence Howard's delivery is so tenderly, so vulnerably delivered. Harvey carries the scars of a whole lot of hurt, and we can hear and feel this in Howard's exquisite, almost monotonous delivery, nicely articulated in uncompressed DTS-HD MA.

 

 

 

Operations: 7
The menu is laid out like other Universal Blu-rays. Arrows tell you which way to direct your remote, and the bonus feature instructions are detailed and intuitive. No U-Control on this one.
 

Extras: 3
There are five deleted scenes worth our trouble – all in HD, D-Box enabling, which might be a kick, and some stuff on BD-Live.
 

 

 

Bottom line: 8
Fighting is a surprising film – more a series of offhand dramas that we seem to be eavesdropping on than an action film. Howard and Tatum are well suited to each other – the odd couple of the year. Too bad we are shortchanged on the Extra Features. But where it counts: the image and audio are terrific on Blu-ray. Knock yourself out.

Leonard Norwitz
August 16th, 2009

 

 

 

 

 


 

About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.


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