Che: Part Two Blu-ray Review
Optimum Home Distribution has chosen to lock this disc to Region B. Please check your players carefully as this one will not play on any other player.
The blu-ray is framed in a 1.78:1 ratio and it's encoded into 1080P using MPEG-4 AVC. The ratio differs from the first and helps to create a more claustrophobic and panic stricken feel. This is accentuated greatly by the freehand camera techniques employed, especially later on in the film.
The qualities of the visuals are much the same as the first. What you get overall is a pretty slick presentation. The image remains punchy throughout and the contrast levels are excellent which gives everything a meaning of depth. Blacks are deep and solid and help to paint a very solid and stable picture.
Detail is excellent and the wilds of the Bolivian jungle look impressive at all times. Some of the cinematography is truly stunning. The colour palette is also well saturated and brings the jungle to life. Most of the colours sparkle with life, especially the greens and browns. Visually it's a crisp and satisfying picture and you'll get to feel the coldness of the mountainous air that the rebels breathe.
The film appears to have undergone digital enhancement but edge enhancement is less visible than it was in the first film. Perhaps the camera used in filming this one was slightly different and less artificial sharpening was required as a result.
The transfer is otherwise very clean and free from blemishes or noise. Optimum has done a good job.
This disc has only one soundtrack and it's a Spanish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.
It's a Spanish audio track with English subtitles but it does have some spoken English in there. This mix of linguistics doesn't ruin the enjoyment in anyway shape or form and you'll easily absorb what is going on.
The resolution of the sound oozes quality and the clarity is excellent. Speech is concise and the dialogue is fluid with ultra realistic vocal tones coming across at you. You feel that the people are right there in front of you. The balance of the mix is excellent and feels assured with good bass and low end support when needed.
Whilst the filming techniques changed slightly between the two films the quality of the audio has not. There is active rear channel support that envelopes you with sound and it remains a surprisingly potent soundtrack. The skirmishes and battle scenes feel very tense and realistic as a result.
Alberto Iglesias' thoughtful musical score is extended into this film. Part Two has an excellent sound track.
The disc comes with three extras. It's a little disappointing to see so little material on offer. What you get are three plain vanilla interviews but thankfully the third with Jon Lee Anderson is excellent.
Interview with Benicio Del Toro - (6mins 20secs) - It's always good to interview the lead actor for his views especially when he is the pivotal and centric character to it all. Benicio Del Toro talks on why he took on the role and what he feels and hopes that the film tries to convey about Che Guevara to the audience.
Interview with Alberto Iglesias - (12mins 29secs) - Alberto Iglesias, the composer is asked questions about his contribution to the film and his feelings towards Che Guevara. It's a little strange to be directing these questions to the musical composer of the film but there you go. He speaks in Spanish so it is subtitled in English.
Interview with Jon Lee Anderson - (31mins 48secs) - This is an in depth interview with the author of the book 'Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life'. Guevara had an impact on many, many generations long after his death. It's good that the author of the book can sit down and expand on his thoughts and it makes for a very interesting half hour. All the poignant things are talked about including who he was as well as the cult and inspiration that surrounded him. In many ways this is an essential bit of viewing and is in fact a bit of a hidden gem on this disc.
Theatrical Trailer - (1mins 35secs) -This is the original theatrical trailer of the film.
Che Guevara may have been the political face for Fidel Castro in Cuba, but in Bolivia the political mastermind was in much need of some military nous. Leading a revolt by inspiring men is one thing but laying down your life for a doomed cause was unnecessary.
Soderbergh has taken Che 'The Guerrilla' in a very different direction to the first instalment. It feels far more claustrophobic, the story is more direct and it's not as expansive. Bolivia was Guevara's end game and this film plays the metaphysical by numbers until the bitter end.
You can't help but feel that whilst in Bolivia he completely lost sight of who he was and what he represented. Che really didn't have to die for this cause and more so in Bolivia. Sometimes when you're facing a losing battle it is best to walk away. The fact that he would have achieved far more if he had stayed alive was one ultimately lost on him.
Part Two is a lot grittier than the first film and this blu-ray disc scores well on video but if anything it's the audio that has the edge. The extras are disappointingly limited apart from the excellent interview with Jon Lee Anderson, the author of the book.
In short Che Guevara and his revolutionary ideas were not welcome in Bolivia but this film is very welcome in the blu-ray format. As the small group of rebels make their way through the Bolivian jungles you feel the physical hardship of it all. The cold back drops, the forestation and the conditions come across as stark, inhospitable and unwelcome. The nature of what he was trying to achieve in a foreign land also has a very distinct and cold edged feel to it.
Che 'The Guerrilla' is not as strong as the first instalment but it is still nonetheless an excellent film. If you're looking to buy, then I'd suggest that you get the pair as a box set if you can.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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