RocknRolla Two-Disc Special Edition (Guy Ritchie, 2008) (blog)

Category: RocknRolla Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: January 28, 2009 | Publication:, The Admiral's Corner | Author: Yunda Eddie Feng
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Somewhere buried inside Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla is a tense, even perceptive thriller about rapacious capitalists and Russian oligarchs treating today’s London as their private playground. The movie focuses on related crimes and hustles, culminating in all the major players converging in a collision of mutually exclusive interests. One could even praise Ritchie for being brave and topical in attacking the nefarious forces that seem to be controlling the London real-estate market.

There are strong performances by Gerard Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, and Mark Strong. Surprisingly, the movie was not edited to death, with Ritchie frequently relying on long takes that allow viewers to savor the performances and the well-chosen locales. Unfortunately, the movie is basically waylaid by boring and irritating sub-plots as well as “Fifteen Years Earlier” digressions that interrupt the narrative’s flow. RocknRolla is too long by at least 15 minutes, and the final cut is rather unfocused due to the extraneous sub-plots and digressions.

The 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen video transfer is pleasing for standard definition but is clearly inferior to the Blu-ray’s image. Facial details are smudged in comparision. Still, the SD DVD transfer retains the movie’s bold color palette.

RocknRolla is a crime drama with dark comedic elements, so the DD 5.1 English audio track doesn’t feature the gee-whiz factor of mixes for full-blown action movies. The primary focus is on the way that the characters talk--an amusing patter riddled with heavy accents and sometimes really confusing slang. Still, there are moments when loud rock music and bursts of gunfire give your home theatre permission to sing.

There are a handful of extras, starting with previews for other movies upon the disc being loaded in your Blu-ray player.

There’s a mildly interesting yak track by Guy Ritchie and cast member Mark Strong. One deleted scene elicits no more than a shrug from this viewer. “Guy’s Town” is a discussion of how London has changed during the past ten years.

The DVD doesn’t have the “Blokes, Birds, and Backhanders: Inside RocknRolla” featurette, which is a general overview of the production.

You also get a cardboard slipcover and a Digital Copy disc. Considering how much is being charged for the two-disc DVD set, you might as well get the Blu-ray version.