H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Rockers [Blu-ray]


(Ted Bafaloukos, 1978)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Rockers Film Corporation / Blue Sun Film Company

Video: MVD Visual



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

Runtime: 1:39:15.658

Disc Size: 12,471,078,328 bytes

Feature Size: 12,320,700,672 bytes

Video Bitrate: 15.03 Mbps

Chapters: 35

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 16th, 2009



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English (Jamaican Patois), French, Japanese, Spanish, none








Description: A crime syndicate is making things very difficult for struggling reggae musicians. Artists and songs include: Inner Circle - "We a Rockers," Maytones - "Money Worries," Peter Tosh - "Stepping Razor," Burning Spear - "Jah No Dead," and many others.



The Film:

''ROCKERS'' is another Jamaican movie with the sparkle of ''The Harder They Come,'' which it manages to resemble but not imitate. In fact, ''Rockers'' is in many respects the better of the two. ''The Harder They Come'' had the invaluable advantage of coming first, and the area both films cover is almost narrow enough to make a second seem superfluous. But ''Rockers'' holds its ground, thanks to its funny, offbeat players and sinuous reggae score.

"Rockers,'' which opens today at the Eighth Street Playhouse, is about many of the same things the earlier film was about, though it's slightly more polished in some technical respects. Its hero, Leroy (Horsemouth) Wallace, lives lackadaisically in Kingston and works as a drummer, if he works at all. But the Jamaican music business, which looked nasty enough in ''The Harder They Come,'' is made to seem even more wicked here. Horsemouth's drumming talents aren't paid much heed, and when he tries to supplement his income by distributing records from the pressing plants to the stores, he can earn only 25 cents a disk. Unlike Jimmy Cliff, an angrier leading man in ''The Harder They Come,'' Horsemouth simply shrugs and enjoys himself, figuring he'll get even eventually. He does, in the film's merry concluding sequences.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Rockers comes to Blu-ray in quite a meager offering. Despite the single-layering with the film taking up less than 13 Gig it certainly doesn't look bad at all considering the film's age and relatively limited production roots. Where the 2005 US DVD was 1.33 - this is 1.78, like the UK DVD, but I am unsure which is correct.  Grain is present and there is noise in the darker sequences - but as the film uses natural light and mostly outdoor sequences it never became an issue with my viewing. This Blu-ray exports some decent, accurate colors - brighter than I would have anticipated.  Detail is stronger than DVD standard but is not notably sharp. There is some minor depth but the best thing one can say about the image is that it handily surpasses the Anniversary DVD but would never be considered demo material.
















Audio :

No HD track for all the deeply evocative music of the film. The 5.1 sounds marginally deeper (and louder) than the 2.0 channel but it is not what adopters of the format have come to expect from Blu-ray. I suspect its the exact same remastered tracks from the DVD. It's a shame since the film's Jamaican reggae music is so much a big part of the film experience. It never comes to life as fans might have hoped. There are optional subtitles for the Jamaican Patois - in English, French, Japanese and Spanish. My Momitsu identifies that this is a region FREE releases playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide. 




Extras :

The supplements may be the most disappointing aspect of this Blu-ray as none of the 25th Anniversary DVD extras are moved over - so there is no Bafaloukos' commentary that had the video pop-ups. In fact, there are no extras at all on this hi-def disc but the only redeeming factor is that the price reflects that.



I'd have to say this strong cult film really gets short-changed on Blu-ray. While the image looks pretty good - it's no where near the potential of the format (we will investigate the aspect ratio issue) and the audio seems to have no improvement at all from the similarly priced DVD from 2005. The film's a hoot and while this may be the best way to see it in your home theater - the lack of extras and limitations make it a disappointment. 

Gary Tooze

June 18th, 2009





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








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