The Bounty Hunter Blu-ray Review
PictureThe Bounty Hunter comes to Blu-ray presented with a 1080p High Definition rendition in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen. Was it too much to ask that they get this part right? The image quality for a 2010 mid-budget glossy Hollywood production with two (debatably) A-list stars should surely be comparatively flawless? Why would you have to endure such problems as aliasing, ringing, and random neon-blue haloing? Why would almost all of the vehicular scenes look so obviously studio-based (the vehicle literally randomly wobbling as it drives down the imaginary road) that they might as well have been done for a Seagal film? Just like with the film proper, all the image needed was a little more care and attention post-production and it could have been made to look pretty damn good. The way it should look. From the opening scene you notice this strange blue tint to many of the characters, as if they somehow used neon lighting for exterior shots, and whilst this soon disappears, it comes back later on when the duo are on their way to the casino. All of the vehicular shots not only belay the fact that they were done in a studio using looped film, but also have horrendous ringing which makes you wonder whether the movie you are watching was actually designed for 3D! It's a shame because, without these bits, the image quality is reasonably good. Sure, the cast look far too tanned and smoothed-out, but that's heavy makeup and fake tan for you; and the rest of the colour scheme really is quite vibrant and vivid in all of its representations. Detail remains strong, and largely devoid of defects - the clarity remaining for most of the movie (aforementioned issues notwithstanding). The trouble is, 'most' is really not good enough. Not for such a modern, relatively high-profile release. Seriously, this is lazy presentation on the part of the Studios.
SoundOn the aural front things don't get much better, but perhaps the problems here do not impair your enjoyment of the vehicle as directly as when they are right in front of you on a large screen. The DTS-HD Master Audio track that accompanies this movie does most of its job satisfactorily, with dialogue coming across clearly and coherently - predominantly from the frontal array - and effects taking a distinct backstage to the annoying, but well-presented, score. Song tracks: ranging from that popular Fire Burning track to a recent offering from Sasha (like Kesha, she's another one with a silly dollar sign for an 's' in her name) all come across well, arguably getting the best presentation on the mix (but, boy will some of them sound dated in a few years). The effects, as stated, take a back-seat, but in terms of your home set-up, they come across as distinctly front-dominant, the balance in this track often feeling slightly off. Crowds just aren't in the least bit immersive: most of the noise generally emanating from the fronts, with the surrounds kicking in at the least expected and most inappropriate moments. Bass is practically non-existent, even the gunshots feeling a little bit muffled (though the two shotgun blasts certainly do the trick), and the car chase sequence simply does not deliver for all its crashing and smashing. All in all, the label says DTS-HD, but you'd be hard-pushed to distinguish between this and a much more limited-format track; almost a glorified stereo mix which has been expanded out (poorly) to cover all 6 speakers. Whilst this is enough of a tolerable mix not to cause you too many problems whilst watching the movie, it is simply not an acceptable audio presentation for a 2010 production.
ExtrasMaking 'The Bounty Hunter' is an 18 minute Documentary which spends far too much time back-patting and promoting the movie unrealistically, without offering up much actual depth when it comes to the production itself. We do get some Behind the Scenes footage, far too much final film footage, and some interview segments, with the one saving grace being the fact that it seems pretty obvious that all involved in the production at least had a good time (clearly at our expense!). Stops Along the Way: Hunting Locations is an 11 minute Featurette that does what it says on the tin, taking you to the various locations depicted in the movie (which aren't exactly on a Bond-esque globetrotting scale), and the silly Rules for Outwitting Bounty Hunters offering is thankfully at least only a minute long. Finally we get Trailers for the similarly botched The Ugly Truth (also with Butler), Julie & Julia and Did You Hear About the Morgans? (another terrible recent romcom, which features either Sandra Bullock, Sarah Jessica Parker or Jennifer Aniston, but since they are largely interchangeable, I'm not sure it matters which).
VerdictThe Bounty Hunter is disappointing, mostly for its missed opportunity. It is clear that the general 'hunter/hunted' reluctant partners action/adventure story (which has been used before in numerous movies, not least in Midnight Run and The Rundown) was ideal material for a fusion with a more romantically-orientated theme. But stagnant dialogue, bland action, dozens of unnecessary extra characters, and a distinct lack of chemistry between the two photo-friendly leads all compound the Director's missteps on this over-long waste of time. On UK Region-Free Blu-ray we get video and audio which similarly exhibit shockingly wasted potential, some glaring sporadic problems on the video and an off-balance mix making this a disc that even fans would have to think twice about choosing to add to their collection (and the few extras don't exactly tip the balance). Newcomers? Well, honestly I would have to recommend you steer clear. If you've really watched all of the other, better films that there are out there in the various genres that this film tries to capitalise on, and you therefore feel the desperate (and somewhat masochistic) urge to see this one, then please consider a rental first. I've seen worse films, but few that had this much promise, and threw it all away so spectacularly, which only compounds your dismay by the end of it. Massively disappointing.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.99
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