A stand-up film, but an outstanding disc.
Stand Up Guys Blu-ray Review
Solid work all-round from the trio of lead stars.
Indeed, Pacino, Walken and Arkin probably haven’t been in this great shape for years, with the Pacino/Walken pairing in particular working better than anything each individual has done for quite some time. Although Stand Up Guys is not a deadly-serious crime drama, it’s also far from an outright comedy, instead treading a dangerous middle-ground but coming out, just about, on top, leaving viewers warm and fuzzy come the closing titles. Sure, I’d like to see Pacino do one more great movie – perhaps the long-gestating project with De Niro and Pesci for Martin Scorsese – but there’s nothing wrong with small little gems like this; proving, if nothing else, that the dinky little heavyweight actor has managed to finally grow old with grace.The story is nothing wildly new – Pacino has already defined the convict-released-from-prison sub-genre with his seminal Carlito’s Way – but the quirky premise of having Walken as his best friend, who picks him up from the prison gates with express orders to kill him is a nice twist, allowing the two veterans to playfully explore the familiar themes, only in a contemporary context, and with surprisingly touching results. Seeing these two old dogs walking today’s mean streets, putting some respect back into today’s young punks, and showing that their old school ways weren’t so wrong, is actually a fair amount of fun. It may not be destined to become a classic, but Stand Up Guys is still a perfectly enjoyable, stand up film.
Stand Up Guys Blu-ray Picture QualityStand Up Guys hits UK Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with the same largely excellent video presentation that the US got not long ago, promoting the movie with a 1080p/AVC encode in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Detail is fantastic throughout, with fine object detail highlighting every line and wrinkle on the faces of the veteran actors, promoting skin textures, clothing weaves and background touches exceptionally. There’s no sign of any edge enhancement and there isn’t a hint of excess DNR application, with softness non-existent and clarity resounding. The colour scheme is reasonably rich and vibrant – notwithstanding the small scale, scope and setting of the movie – and even darker sequences are handled well, with the digital cinematography bringing in solid and deep blacks with no sign of any loss of shadow detail or any apparent crush. Overall it’s an excellent, demo-quality video presentation that runs just shy of sheer perfection.
An unlikely source for a demo disc.
Stand Up Guys Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is also surprisingly potent, boasting considerably more power and presence than you would have expected from this material, and right from the get-go too. Atmospherics are superbly rendered during the more prevalent ambient moments, but a few scenes take off, with strong directionality and excellent use of the surrounds. However, it’s the LFE input that’s perhaps most surprising, undercutting some of the film’s more boisterous moments with enough punch to make you reconsider your stance on the material – the car chase in particular is a really throttly, effective sequence. The score is also exceptional, allowing the film to truly take life during one or two key moments, with the chosen tracks really giving it an engaging edge. Sure, the film is still generally a dialogue-driven, quieter affair, but a clutch of noteworthy segments breathes more than a little life into this piece, and just edges this into demo territory.
Stand Up Guys Blu-ray ExtrasMarrying up to the US release, the extras, whilst not plentiful, still more than cover all the bases; Director Fisher Stevens provides an engaging and thoughtful Audio Commentary; The Lowdown on Making Stand Up Guys delves into the production with the usual welcome quota of cast and crew interview snippets and behind the scenes footage; The Stand Up Songs of Jon Bon Jovi spends 5 minutes looking at these musical contributions; American Muscle: The Stand Up Stunt Driving Scenes offers a further 5 minutes looking into the chase sequence; and a couple of Deleted Scenes, lasting little over a minute each, round out the proceedings – one with Pacino upping the tempo for a fast dance, and another with Pacino and Walken pausing for a brief latter-end chat on a rooftop, and both of which could have easily been left in.
Growing old with grace.
Is Stand Up Guys Blu-ray Worth BuyingThese old boys may not be up to anything new, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a few tricks left up their sleeves. Indeed Pacino and Walken are on rare good form, better than we’ve seen from either in a long time, and sharing some wonderful chemistry and some great scenes. Whilst not a classic crime drama by any means, Stand Up Guys isn’t exactly a comedy either, providing enough character beats and warm old-school reflection to have you either smiling contentedly or inwardly cheering for these guys.
Whilst the film is enjoyable, the disc is spectacular, with demo video and audio, as well as a comprehensive selection of extras, making this a must-have purchase for fans of the movie, and a rewarding blind-buy for those who are interested in taking the risk.
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