Bleed For This Blu-ray Review
Movies reviewSRP: £12.99
Ben Younger's Bleed For This puts Miles Teller's take on real-life boxer Vinny Pazienza through the meat grinder in this solid but uninspired and overly familiar tale of battling adversity.It's understandable that tragedy makes characters all the more interesting for the purposes of a story, whether it be real-life, in novel form, or on film. That said, the plethora of boxing movies over the last decade have peddled the same basic structure which appears to hammer the same point home. It is no longer enough to have a tale of a struggling underdog boxer rise through his skills in the ring (Rocky), now he needs to have a painful arc involving a drug addict brother (The Fighter), or some other tragic event that defines him (Southpaw), and that arguably takes precedence over his actual fighting prowess. It's telling that a fictional film like Creed could capture the Rocky magic without necessarily resorting to this kind of (melo)drama.Making an interesting cross-over companion-piece with last year's Hands of Stone (which, itself, was set against an arguably more prominent political backdrop than it was driven by boxing sequences) due to the fact that the lead characters clash, Bleed For This is another well-made, well-cast boxing piece that ticks all the boxes required to make a good sports film. Teller is a solid casting choice, and Aaron Eckhart's trailer/mentor a good foil to motivate him in and out of the ring. Younger, who also wrote the affair, handles the fight sequences adeptly and cranks up the tragedy outside of the ring. Despite the right ingredients, and despite the good intentions, it's actually the desperate desire to be different that makes this feel like more of the same.
Picture QualityICON's UK Region B-locked Blu-ray release of Bleed For This delivers a strong 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen.
Detail is generally impressive, both in and out of the ring, lapping up the finer facial textures, the scars, the beads of sweat, the screws and pivots on the medical head brace, and the clothing weaves. Even broader shots capture the magic of the ring, the power of the spotlight and pick up enough intricacies to give the image life.
The disc has a very strong video presentation
The colour scheme is broad and vibrant, popping with vivid primaries, and running a little hot and saturated but still delivering strong skin tones and decent natural flourishes. Black levels are strong and deep, and, with barely little more than a hint of crush, this remains a very strong video presentation that runs a hair's breadth shy of being demo quality.
Sound QualityBleed For This sports a thunderous DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that packs a fair amount of punch and is afforded a consummate degree of precision. The key elements - dialogue, effects and score - remain well-defined throughout, and provide for an immersive experience.
The soundtrack provides an equally as immersive audio experience
Dialogue remains centre-stage, delivered clearly and coherently across the frontal array, rising above the maelstrom of background noises. Effects are wondrously engulfing, putting you ringside for some punishing boxing matches, with the heaving bustle of the sometimes roaring crowd all around, making full use of the surround array. Punches hit home, delivered with verve and LFE thunder. Key events - like the tragic car crash - smash into you front and centre.
The score provides further energy to fuel the proceedings, with some song tracks mixed in to further the fast-moving style, all of which gives the surrounds yet more material to play with. Whilst not an exemplary audio track, this comes pretty close, and remains eminently demo worthy.
ExtrasThe extra features are rather limited, with just a couple of bite-size Featurettes offering two-minute soundbites into the story, the cast, the boxing sequences and the real-life character, who very briefly gets a few words in. There's also a more substantial, but ultimately watch-once, array of seven Deleted Scenes, totaling an extra 12 minutes of footage.
Blu-ray VerdictThe desperate desire to be different makes this feel like more of the same
ICON's Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release of Bleed For This delivers strong video and excellent audio, as well as a thin smattering of extra features, making it a worthy purchase for fans of the film, and die-hard fans of the genre. Those who've already seen two too many boxing movies in the last couple of years will struggle to find anything different here, but, if you haven't yet hit saturation point, it's worth checking out.
You can buy Bleed For This on Blu-ray here
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £12.99
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