Tango & Cash Blu-ray Review
This is a pretty decent - in fact, scratch that - this is a terrific transfer of Tango & Cash. I've been impressed with many of Warner's back-catalogue releases and this is no exception. Clean and undamaged, the softness that plagued earlier versions has been eradicated and the grain structure left intact with no overt DNR. Looking crisp and detailed, the film immediately grabs the attention and doesn't let go. Encoded via VC-1 and bringing the film's original 2.40:1 aspect to buff and shiny vigour, Tango & Cash certainly makes a rewarding leap to high definition.
Colour fidelity is incredible. Very nicely saturated primaries and healthy skin-tones abound. Look at the weathered tans on Russell and Stallone and compare this to the genuinely blotchy pink chops of James. Skies and landscapes, the grime down in the prison tunnels, the white of Cash's sweatshirt in the nightclub and, unforgivably, his red lipstick a little later on, all look far more vivid than I've seen them before. Explosions look great, with searingly hot white blooms at their epicentres and smooth orange, reds and yellow balls of flame billowing out. Muzzle-flashes, too, have visual impact. I noticed no smearing or banding, although some of those blue skies seem to have what could be a little more noise floating about within them. Blacks are very strong. The prison-break sequence is full of shadows and these are atmospherically deep and don't seem to swallow up any picture information either. Contrast is consistent and we have some good combinations of silvery rain, lit by spotlights, against dark backgrounds. Likewise, the fatigued faces of Tango & Cash seen amidst the hellish squall of their escape bid are well-etched against the darker rear-ground.
Detail is surprisingly good. I've got a couple of versions of this film on SD and both look terrible. The haziness that mired those transfers has been lifted and the film now looks highly revealing, from facial textures to clothing, to gleaming cascades of rain, and from the popping sparks of the super-shock power cables to the showers of blood that spring out from two of Perret's goons towards the end. For certain, the film looks vibrant and alive.
There is some edge enhancement, but this is minor and did not detract, and I saw no nicks or spots on the print. In all, this is a very impressive transfer for a film that has looked colour-ramped, yet hazy on previous versions.
Okay, so I cranked up the Onkyo to let this one blast out, hoping that some good old school explosions and mucho machine-gunfire would turn my living into the sonic incarnation of D-Day, but the disc still didn't quite deliver the goods as much as I wanted it to.
Tango & Cash contains both DD and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mixes that are, indeed, full of boom-boom stuff, whizz-cracking bullets, revving engines and shattering glass, but the surround environment is sorely lacking, leaving a vast quantity of this bedlam to rampage across the front speakers which, I have to say, it does with some aggression. Apart from some thunder and lightning roaring around the rear speakers which, I will admit, folks, does sound very good, there isn't much to write home about regarding the surround usage during the many brawls and skirmishes.
Now, as far as I know, the film actually had several channels of audio in its mix at the flicks, but these must have mainly gone into composing quite a wide and extended stereo spread. The action that dominates the front is pretty meaty and there are numerous effects being dealt some rich positioning and depth. The front wall of sound is, therefore, quite forceful. Gunfire is solid and fairly detailed. Faces clanging into unyielding objects and viciously whirling cooling blades have weight and density. Dialogue is always clear and, with the exception of some of Stallone's mumbled lines, intelligible. Faltermeyer's ever-present beat has some depth and tonal clarity. The movement of vehicles, voices and action across the front is discernible, and the film actually does present quite a vigorous account of itself. The Dolby TrueHD track beats the DD track for aggression and depth, and there is a noticeably cleaner sense of movement to it, as well.
All in all, this gets a strong 7 out of 10.
All Warner hand out here is the film's Theatrical Trailer, containing some exciting looking shots that, sadly, aren't in the finished movie. Kurt punching-out the Asian assassin and remarking, “I hate you Kung-fu guys!” looks like a real fun alternative to what actually happens in the released version. Hmmm ... how good would it have been to have seen them as deleted scenes?
It does exactly what it says on the tin - it tangos in and takes your cash! No seriously, any attempt to criticise such big, dumb fun in an intellectual way would be futile and inherently wrong. Placed against its brethren of Lethal Weapon, Beverley Hills Cop, Die Hard, Commando, Cobra et al, the film is much too comical but still gets by on sheer mickey-taking charisma, some over-the-top action and a score that, by turns, is both highly addictive and downright risible. Russell cements his down-to-earth funny-man vibe and more than holds his own in the heroics department against Stallone. Sly, for his sins, doesn't really alter his macho image with those suits or spectacles one iota, but his fake "wild-maniac" turn here is blissfully goofy.
Total cheese from start to finish and, as such, a massive indulgence.
Warner serve up this guilty pleasure with another rock-steady transfer but neglects any extras that could have shed some light on the genesis of the project, the chemistry of the two stars and the question mark over who truly helmed it all.
Action-junkies who shunned this first time around should take another look, but fans of the film can certainly enjoy what is a clear upgrade for a carnage-rife, camp classic. No extras, but 7 out of 10 for a spangly transfer of the best excuse for beers and a mullet!
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.59
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