The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney - 1997
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 107 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Cusack, Hank Azaria
Directed by: George Armitage
Music by: Joe Strummer
Written by: Tom Jankiewicz, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Jeremy Piven
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 7, 2012
Celebrate the 15th anniversary of a killer comedy hit -- now available on Blu-ray for the first time with a sensational new digital restoration. John Cusack (Hot Tub Time Machine) and Academy Award nominees Minnie Driver (Best Supporting Actress, 1997, Good Will Hunting) and Dan Akyroyd (Best Supporting Actor, 1989, Driving Miss Daisy) are hilarious in this surefire knockout, loaded with action and laughs. Martin Blank is a hit man stuck in a career rut when his 10-year high school reunion gives him the chance to rekindle an old flame and pull off one final job. Things are looking up until his archrival joins the party, aiming to blow the competition away. Pull the trigger on big fun with Grosse Pointe Blank on Blu-ray!
The action comedy genre has seen its share of classic films. I wouldn’t say that Grosse Pointe Blank falls into that category however it is certainly a standout that has attained its share of fans, I being one of them. I like the fact that it eschews the standard hijinks, one line goofiness and overtly over the top action in favor of clever dialogue, diverting action, and superb character interplay.
The plot revolves around Martin Blank, a former government operative turned hit man for hire, returning to his hometown on an assignment which gives him the opportunity to reflect on how he left and the high school sweetheart he abruptly left behind on prom night. Martin is at odds with Grocer, a rival, who would love to join forces and avoid the competition. Martin has been seeing a therapist hoping to cope with anxiety associated with “work”. His therapist, who knows what Martin does for a living, would like to end their association strictly out of fear, but Martin will have none of it and presses him for help in dealing with the return home. Using his ten year high school reunion as a front Martin returns to Grosse Point with thoughts of retirement, reconciliation and possibly settling down. Unfortunately things quickly come to a boil on all fronts leaving Martin caught between three rocks and a hard place.
Grosse Point Blank works because it doesn’t try too hard. It’s fun for fun’s sake and has an amiable charm that is emboldened by an ironic theme and underlying levity that never feels forced. John Cusack doesn’t miss a beat on either end and I could watch Minnie Driver all day long. Alan Arkin makes the absolute most of his brief time onscreen and Joan Cusack is pitch perfect as Martin’s very capable assistant who clearly has issues of her own. I always find Dan Aykroyd entertaining and enjoyed his chemistry with Cusack here.
Grosse Point Blank has found its niche among the well regarded films within its genre. I am glad to see it come to Blu-ray.
The rating is for strong violence, language, and some drug content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Grosse Point Blank comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.9 mbps.
This digitally restored high definition presentation delivers fair to good overall image quality that predominantly appears faithful to the film’s original elements. Its video quality offers an appreciable level of detail during close ups and certain wide angle camera shots. The exterior shots around Grosse Point Blank looked vivid with naturally rendered colors and stable resolution. The majority of the time the visuals don’t have a high level of image penetration. Sharpness is good but occasionally inconsistent as the image softens at times. The variety of period colors and earth toned hues are reproduced well. Blacks in low level scenes are a little washed out but appear punchier when onscreen with mixed light/dark elements. Grain is preserved naturally and is noticeable throughout. Occasionally it takes on more prominence but I didn’t find it to be problematic. I noticed a few noisy backgrounds and minor edge enhancement, neither of which adds up to serious problems. While this presentation lacks the polish of today’s newer films being released on Blu-ray, I think it offers a definitive improvement over the 1998 non-anamorphic DVD and looks fair in high definition.
This 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix makes the most of the film’s recorded elements and sounds quite good. The front three channels are nicely imaged and carry discretely placed sounds with primary focus on the center channel and ambient bleed to the right/left speakers. Joe Strummer’s music and the 80’s soundtrack are bled to the rear channels and broaden the sound field creating a discernible level of presence. Dynamics and detail are excellent which pays dividends during the film’s active and quieter moments which feature a fair level of atmospheric envelopment along with some decent surround activity. Bass frequencies are held to the upper registers, which doesn’t rattle the walls, but emphasizes the strength of weapon fire and explosions where appropriate. While the dated elements in this soundtrack are obvious my overall experience with this audio presentation was a favorable one.
- Theatrical trailer
15 years later Grosse Point Blank is still as clever, funny and charming as ever. As a fan I am pleased that it has come to high definition/Blu-ray and while there may be some minor quibbles with its video quality I have never seen it look better on home video. If you are a fan and are still in possession of the original DVD release, toss it and pick this up. You’ll be glad that you did. Enjoy!
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