Universal // 1998 // 85 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 19th, 2007
Tough cop. Hostile witness.
This anti-buddy cop movie starred a blooming Adam Sandler (Click) and plateauing Damon Wayans playing off each other while shooting guns and swearing.
Undercover detective Jack Carter (Wayans) has gone deep into the drug smuggling ring of kingpin Frank Colton (James Caan) and to do so he had to befriend amiable lowlife Archie Moses (Sandler). Moses and Carter have become good friends over the course of their time together, so when Carter blows the lid off of his cover to bust the ring, Moses goes crazy and accidentally shoots Carter in the head during the ensuing police raid.
When Carter comes to, he's tasked with bringing Moses into testify. Their relationship is, of course, in shambles and the two trade barbs until Colton's gang intercepts the prisoner transfer, forcing Carter and Moses to flee and take cover. Now Carter must get his former partner and best friend to safety while dodging bullets from Colton's thugs and maintaining his sanity throughout Moses's constant heckling.
Universal resuscitates another catalog title and slaps a fresh coat of hi-def on it and hopes you'll fork over the pesos to dig the new transfer. And to be sure that's pretty much the main draw for this HD double-dip: the improved video. This version of Bulletproof comes with zero extras. And not just zero hi-def extras, but zero standard extras. In essence, all the pressure rides on the new transfer to earn its $20-$30 of your hard-earned cash. Does it measure up?
Nah, I don't reckon. For one thing, the movie isn't that good and the 11 years since it's been out haven't been terribly kind to it. Back in 1996 Adam Sandler's shtick may have seemed hilarious, but after so many run-throughs of the red-faced screaming we've all come to associate with Sandler's hyperactive line delivery there isn't anything here you haven't seen before. I used to dig on Bulletproof and remember laughing heartily at it in the theaters (to my everlasting shame I may have pulled an abdominal muscle guffawing at that stupid bungalow scene) but revisiting the film now leaves me slack.
The best part of this action comedy is probably the action. There's some solid R-rated stuff going down, including lots and lots of gunshot wounds, exploding blood packs and, well, that's it. But in this age of PG-13 Die Hard, even a gag as rudimentary and well-traveled as a detonated squib is appreciated. The only large set-piece involves an emergency plane landing, with the rest of the mayhem taken up by a series of frenetic shootouts. The comedy clocks in at less enthralling than the action. Wayans and Sandler are tasked with providing 90 percent of the humor heavy-lifting and their chemistry -- so vital obviously in a buddy movie -- is lacking. Basically the two just snipe at each other with Sandler's character flying off the handle once in a while and Wayans' character bitching about the plate in his head. The laughs aren't entirely absent, but this movie is not nearly as funny as I though it was 10 years ago.
Let's get to the real question: does the video quality make up for the emaciated extras offering? In a word, no. In a few more words: while the film looks nicer than any iteration that preceded it, the high-def video isn't nearly face-melting enough to mandate a re-buy. Encoded in the VC-1 codec and outputting at 1080p (I watched it in 1080i), the video is indeed pretty. Details and colors are strong and there's not much discernible dirt. Standout scenes include the airplane sequence and the finale shootout, where the action and color saturation do the high-def treatment justice. Sound comes courtesy of a 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus, which is front-loaded but uses the surrounds here and there (gunplay specifically).
It looks pretty, but a combination of zero extras and the film's mediocrity makes this HD DVD one for the fanboys only.
Back to the bungalow. And I don't want to hear a single word. Not one.
Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital Plus 2.0 Stereo (French)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Rated R