H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: 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 5600 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
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

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








The Bank Job: Special Edition [Blu-ray]


(Roger Donaldson, 2008)

Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Review by Gary W. Tooze

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1



19.2 Gig


English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1

English, Spanish, none

25GB Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set
Digital copy


• Audio commentary with director Donaldson, actress Saffron Burrows and composer J. Peter Robinson
• Featurette: 'Inside the Bank Job' (16:42)
• Featurette: 'The Baker Street Bank Raid" (14:52)
• Deleted and Extended Scenes with optional commentary (6:15)
• Theatrical trailer (2:30)
Disc 2
• Digital copy of the feature film

Disc: 25GB (single-layered) Blu-ray Disc

Released: July 15th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case
16 chapters

Product Description:

A car dealer with a dodgy past and new family, Terry (Jason Statham) has always avoided major-league scams. But when Martine (Saffron Burrows), a beautiful model from his old neighborhood, offers him a lead on a foolproof bank hit on London's Baker Street, Terry recognizes the opportunity of a lifetime. Martine targets a roomful of safe deposit boxes worth millions in cash and jewelry. But Terry and his crew don't realize the boxes also contain a treasure trove of dirty secrets � secrets that will thrust them into a deadly web of corruption and illicit scandal that spans London's criminal underworld, the highest echelons of the British government, and the Royal Family itself... the true story of a heist gone wrong... in all the right ways.





The Film:

The workmanlike title “The Bank Job” is a nice fit for this wham-bam caper flick. Efficiently directed by Roger Donaldson from a busy script by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, it fancifully revisits the mysterious whos and speculative hows of a 1971 London vault cleanout on Baker Street labeled the walkie-talkie robbery. (The thieves squawked on the airwaves like crows.) It was headline news and, then, with a wave of the official wand, it was hush-hush. That’s one story, anyway.

True or not, the on-screen follies mostly amuse and generally divert. Working off a hot tip, a gang of charming lowlifes of varying capabilities and intelligence make like moles, tunneling under a women’s handbag store until they hit the larcenous lottery: safe-deposit boxes crammed with sparkling treasures, fistfuls of bank notes and delectable smut involving some Very Important Personages. The thieves — led by the bullet-headed looker Jason Statham as Terry — scoop up their ill-gotten goods and scram. Assorted coppers and villains give chase, as do some stiff-lip types in bespoke suits from the British security services.

Excerpt from The New York Times (Manohla Dargis) review located HERE

Video: NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc. I'm starting to feel a bit inadequate in critiquing these Blu-ray images. I suppose my tastes will alter and I'll become more discerning but as it stands this is probably the best image I have ever seen on disc - although I fully realize that I said that just yesterday about The Mummy on Blu-ray. I said in the SD review that the differences would be 'at the short end of the scale' but I was wrong. The Bank Job Blu-ray image seems perfect - my only complaints might be that I found it somewhat glossy at times and dark scenes don't hold the same brilliance. Black levels are pitch and thick while detail is at the highest level I have seen - to date - (click and look at the full resolution caps - to see how each retain the sharpness). Colors are vibrant and lustrous, contrast at zenith levels - this Blu-ray looks unbelievably strong - I just can't see how it could look any better. This is a new benchmark as far as I can tell. I don't have anything equally superior to judge it against and I own about 150 Blu-ray discs now!  

Screen Captures












Audio: Audio has been bumped from the, now, standard 5.1 track available on the SD to a stellar DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 which seems to separate just that much more dynamically. The film has moments where it becomes quite buoyant with a fair amount of rear channel activity. The varied soundtrack, with such inclusions as The Kinks, "Unchain my Heart" by Natasha Miller and some J.S. Bach, sounded very clean and crisp as well. There are optional English or Spanish subtitles supporting the clear and consistent dialogue.


Extras: Supplemental material is duplicated on the 2-disc SD (reviewed HERE) and I have the same thing to say about them; 'I may have been a bit spoiled by recent Criterion commentaries but this one with director Donaldson, actress Saffron Burrows and composer J. Peter Robinson didn't do to much for me (well, it made me sleepy). Just standard fare, with monotone discussion and a few gaps - but it is more, obviously, unprepared and off-the-cuff. I can expect something illuminating and erudite each time but anyway I wasn't real keen on this one - lasting so long I found myself skipping ahead. The featurettes I enjoyed more; 'Inside the Bank Job' is almost 20 minutes and gives a nice overview with interview sound-bites from Donaldson and other on production details. Just the right length and fairly compact. More from the London historical standpoint of the 60's is a 15 minutes piece on 'The Baker Street Bank Raid' and this I actually wished was longer. Plans, details, the ingenuity and resourcefulness of some criminals plus other tidbits flowed nicely. There is also 6 minutes of deleted and extended scenes with an optional commentary (only way to watch them) and finally on disc one is a 2.5 minute theatrical trailer.

The second disc holds the digital copy of the feature film able to download to your favorite portable player (NOTE: watching this, or any, films via cell-phone or other tiny-screened device is not endorsed by this website - let's all put our heads on straight).'    


BOTTOM LINE: The film is a pretty good bank-heist thriller and I enjoyed it that much more in the context of the historical period aspects that Donaldson was working around. The image is just 'sick' it's so good. I have no complaints whatsoever about the transfer. I'm no fan of the 'digital copy' extra disc in the package but overall I believe this Blu-ray is very much worth owing if you can stop swooning at the image quality long enough to enjoy the film.   

Gary Tooze
July 15th, 2008



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