The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2006
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 110 Minutes
Genre: Crime thriller
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Lucy Liu, Bruce Willis, Stanley Tucci
Directed by: Paul McGuigan
Music by: J. Ralph
Written by: Jason Smilovic
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 18, 2008
"Wrong time. Wrong place. Wrong number. "
Set in the New York underworld where nothing is as it seems, Lucky # Slevin is an action-packed, "fun-as-hell roller coaster ride" (Venice Magazine). When down-on-his-luck Slevin (Josh Hartnett) stumbles into a running feud between the city's most feared crime bosses (Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley), he ignites an all-out war. Tracked by a mysterious assassin (Bruce Willis) and distracted by his flirtatious neighbor (Lucy Liu), Slevin must try to cheat death by turning the tables on the gangsters.
My Take:I bought Lucky # Slevin on HD DVD last year after hearing that it was a solid crime thriller. I mean, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kinglsey, Stanley Tucci and of course my man Bruce Willis, how bad could it be? Well as it turned out it was everything that I had anticipated and the very solid performances by Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu were added icing on the cake. It is a clever, funny, enticing and multi-layered story that keeps you wondering right up until its satisfying plot twist of an ending. It’s masterfully directed by Paul McGuigan and uses intriguing set designs and slick camera work to illicit the intended audience reaction. These are a great ensemble of well written characters who seem tailor made for the performers portraying them. I was happy to see that Weinstein Company was releasing it in Blu as it gives fans who haven’t owned it in high definition a chance to experience it at its best.
The rating is for strong violence, sexuality, nudity, and language.
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:
Lucky # Slevin comes to Blu-ray Disc from The Weinstein Company featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 2.9 mbps.
This is a nicely balanced high bitrate encoding that looks excellent overall. Contrast is dynamic which gives bright colors and sequences plenty of visual pop without overdriving them. The color palette is fairly diverse and boasts well delineated and vibrant tones that are enriched by high definition’s inherent resolution. Fleshtones are naturally rendered with succulent complexional depth and lifelike variety. Blacks and shadow detail are respectable which lays a stable foundation for darker sequences and scenes containing mixed content so that they never appear flat or lacking in depth. Resolution in close up and mid level shots is rarely questionable and offers excellent definition and consistent sharpness. Long range visuals tend to look less definitive and lacking in viable image depth and resolute clarity. The result is that they softer which creates a visible gap when scenes shift from shorter range to long range sequences. This doesn’t happen often but it is worth noting.
The lossless Dolby TrueHD mix handled the predominantly front heavy soundtrack with uncompromising competence. While the bulk of the audio is reproduced by the front three channels the surrounds are used effectively to produce a nicely layered rear sound field rich in immersive ambience. Dialogue is descriptively clear through the center channel but not as prominent within the front soundstage as I would like. I found the level and quality of the low frequency effects to be impressive. Bass is well articulated and noticeably deep as it punctuates the dynamic impact of gunfire, explosions and lends palpable weight to sound effects. A great example of this is at the beginning of chapter 14 as the elevator ascends and opens it doors. The brief deep bass energy that accompanies this segment is pants flapping. While it may provide a somewhat overstated emphasis it never seems out of place or distracting.
I compared the HD DVD to the Blu-ray disc by going back and forth using several sequences for audio and video. The video encoding appears to be the same one used for both as the bitrates remained constant. The lossless track versus the lossy track didn’t yield any obvious differences in dynamics, bass reproduction, clarity, or tonality. Both sound very good. Those who already have the HD DVD won’t gain anything technically by moving to the Blu-ray Disc but if it makes you feel better than by all means.
- Feature commentary with Director Paul McGuigan
- Feature commentary with actors Josh Hartnett, Lucky Liu and writer Jason Smilovic
- (HD) Making Lucky # Slevin - 13 minute documentary
- (HD) An intimate conversation with John Hartnett and Lucy Liu - 17 minute open discussion
- (HD) Deleted scenes - 3 deleted scenes and an alternate ending
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Lucky # Slevin is an exciting, well orchestrated crime thriller that works extremely well thanks to it stellar cast and capable direction. It is favorite of mine and in my opinion has excellent replay value. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from The Weinstein Company doesn’t offer any technical improvements over its previous high definition release however for those who never had the opportunity to experience it at all, or just own the DVD, you are in for a real treat. Recommended.
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