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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Fighter [Blu-ray]

 

(David O. Russell, 2010)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Closest to the Hole Productions

Video: Paramount Pictures

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:55:38.514

Disc Size: 42,022,839,995 bytes

Feature Size: 31,278,262,272 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.20 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 15th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3509 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3509 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Director David O. Russell
The Warriors Code: Filming The Fighter (29:58 in 1080P)
Keeping the Faith (8:33 in 1080P)
• 16 Deleted Scenes (with optional commentary - (16:53 in 1080P)

• Theatrical Trailer (2:32 in 1080P)
Second disc DVD of the Feature Film
• 3rd disc Digital Copy

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Academy Award® Nominees Mark Wahlberg (The Departed), Christian Bale (The Dark Knight) and Amy Adams (Doubt) star in this “remarkable” film*. Based on a true story, two brothers, against all the odds, come together to train for a historic title bout that has the power to reunite their fractured family and give their hard-luck town what it's been waiting for: pride. Micky Ward (Wahlberg) is a struggling boxer long overshadowed by his older brother and trainer, Dicky (Bale), a local legend battling his own demons. Their explosive relationship threatens to take them both down - but the bond of blood may be their only chance for redemption. *Joe Morgenstern, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

***

Mark Wahlberg stars in this inspirational docudrama that explores the remarkable rise of Massachusetts-born, junior welterweight title winner 'Irish' Micky Ward. A determined pugilist whose career in the ring was shepherded by his loyal half-brother, Dicky (Christian Bale) -- a hard-living boxer-turned-trainer whose own career in the ring was nearly sent down for the count due to drugs and crime -- perennial underdog Irish Micky rebounded from a disheartening series of defeats to win both the WBU Intercontinental Lightweight title and the WBU Light Welterweight title thanks to a fierce combination of determination and hard work. David O. Russell (THREE KINGS) directs from a script by 8 MILE's Scott Silver and Paul Attanasio (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM).

 

 

The Film:

The Fighter,” directed by David O. Russell and based on the true story of the junior welterweight Micky Ward, is quick on its feet and packs a mighty punch. With solid bodywork, clever feints and tremendous heart, it scores at least a TKO, by which I mean both that it falls just short of overpowering greatness — I can’t quite exclaim, “It’s a knockout!” — and that the most impressive thing about it is technique.

By the time this film — which was written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, and shepherded into existence by Mark Wahlberg, who plays Mr. Ward — reaches its rousing and brutal final rounds, it may feel a bit familiar. Not necessarily because the story of Mr. Ward’s career is so well known (his most famous bouts, in particular his three extraordinary meetings with Arturo Gatti in 2002 and 2003, do not fall within the movie’s scope), but rather because the shape of the narrative recalls so many other fight movies. This is yet another tale of an underdog battling long odds and stubborn adversity in search of a shot at the big time.

Excerpt from A. O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE

 

'Gritty' and 'urban' seem to be two words very much back in vogue over the San Pellegrino and sarnies in Hollywood’s pitch meetings of late. Maybe it’s something to do with the slow-motion financial catastrophe, but filmmakers seem to be looking to the blue-collar heartland for dramatic inspiration. The Town put Ben Affleck in the less salubrious end of Boston, Russell Crowe found himself similarly hanging round a region of Pittsburgh without a Starbucks in The Next Three Days. And now Mark Wahlberg has found a Massachusetts ghetto to punch his way out of.

But while The Fighter, for its first hour or so, might look like a kind of grim inner-city parable — crack-addicted brothers living on the fumes of old dreams, hatchet-faced mothers exploiting their son’s pugilistic ambitions against a background of bar-fights and asphalt — underneath it’s impossible not to discern the throaty roar of a six-cylinder Hollywood engine. This is a rousing, masterly assemblage of rags-to-riches, triumph-over-the-odds, hopes-and-dreams-hanging-on-one-big-fight boxing movie clichés.

It’s also the most uplifting, exuberant fun you’re likely to have at the movies this year. The comparison is inevitable, so let’s get it over with: The Fighter is Rocky for this millennium.

Excerpt from Adam Smith at Empire Online located HERE

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

Another strong Blu-ray transfer from Paramount. The image quality shows some rough-and-ready grit and heavy grain giving a nice grassroots texture to the presentation. Colors are surprisingly vibrant but there is still an earthy quality to the visuals that occasionally showcase some notable detail in close-ups. This is dual-layered with a strong bitrate but only modest depth. Grain is the leading attribute and it's nice to see this style hasn't evaporated in Hollywood for the glossy, plastic eye-candy look. Skin tones seem quite warm but contrast exhibits healthy black levels. So - The Fighter doesn't give a pristine look visually-speaking but as a representation of the original - this is probably as accurate as we are likely to ever get. This is how the film looks... and it works. Hopefully the click-able captures below will give you a decent idea of the 1080P quality.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio is in the form of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track at an abundant 3509 kbps. Keeping this a human experience - effects are not a cornerstone of the presentation but there is some separations and depth tucked in here and there to help establish scenes. Michael Brook's score provides important support - sounding dynamic or subtly underplayed - dependant on the scene. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

Extras :

Supplements offer an informative commentary by helmsman David O. Russell where he covers some interesting tidbits of The Fighter's production and creation - worthwhile indulging for fans of the film. The main video extra is entitled The Warriors Code: Filming The Fighter and runs just shy of 1/2 hour - it has Micky and Dicky and is more 'real' experiences that those appreciative of the bio-pic pair will enjoy - plus there is the cast and crew giving input in short snapshots. There is also an 8.5 minute featurette called Keeping the Faith - more on Dicky's philosophy -and a whopping 16, short, deleted scenes running with an optional commentary for over a 1/4 of an hour. Last we get a theatrical trailer - like all the extras - it is in 1080P. The package includes a second disc DVD of the feature film and a third disc Digital Copy for use with your portable devices.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I find this an odd film - in that even as a purposely less-polished story with hyperbolic and one-dimensional characters (that are standard for the 'boxing' genre) it remains extremely likeable. Bale - sinking his thespian chops into the individual he portrays - is, authentically, way over the top and while I like Wahlberg - I love Amy Adams (Sunshine Cleaning) and Melissa Leo (Frozen River). I liken this more to the resolution of family-conflicts themes than the sport of boxing which is used as the relationship bridge. It's very good. Paramount's Blu-ray package is, predictably, super but not a transfer you would use to showcase your system - however, it is accurate to the theatrical roots and may be a film you revisit more than a few times over the years. 

Gary Tooze

March 4th, 2011

 

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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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