The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 115 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Mickey O’Keefe
Directed by: David O. Russell
Music by: Michael Brook
Written by: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 15, 2011
"We are family.."
Based on a true story, two brothers, against all the odds, come together to train for a historic title bout that has the power to reunite their fractured family and give their hard-luck town what it's been waiting for: pride. Micky Ward (Wahlberg) is a struggling boxer long overshadowed by his older brother and trainer, Dicky (Bale), a local legend battling his own demons. Their explosive relationship threatens to take them both down - but the bond of blood may be their only chance for redemption.
I am not as much of a boxing fan as I used to be. The sport has lost its luster as the level of talent isn’t what it once was. This doesn’t apply to the era in which “Irish” Mickey Ward fought in. His legendary bouts with Arturo Gatti are still talked about and he is seen as one of the toughest fighters of his generation. The Fighter touches upon aspects of his career but really focuses more on dysfunctional familial relationship between Mickey, his brother/trainer Dickey Eklund (once a promising professional boxer), and the remainder of their extended family which includes his mother/manager Alice Ward. The two fold plot encapsulates the relationship between Mickey and Dicky with the emphasis falling on Dicky’s good intentions constantly being overshadowed by his destructive behavior which adversely affects the entire family. Mickey looks up to his brother but realizes that tough decisions have to be made regarding his training/management. With the support of his new girlfriend, Charlene, his dad George, and new trainer Mickey O’Keefe, Mickey resumes his career and sets his sights on the Light Welterweight title. As he draws nearer to his title shot Mickey, against the advice of those now close to him, takes a chance and brings Dicky back into the fold. With his brother in his corner Mickey feels that all of the pieces important to his success are in place. He steps into the ring against WBU Light Welterweight Champion Shea Neary for the most important fight of his career.
This is a powerful dramatic film filled with authentic characters based upon real salt of the earth people from a family with a lineage in boxing. It was shot on location in Lowell Massachusetts which added an element of realism to the story’s working class roots. I tend to like human interest stories and this is a good one built around real people. The narrative is of the inspirational, overcoming adversity/odds at all costs types and it effectively captures the essence of this family both good and bad. The performances by Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo are top notch. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t play this character with any more depth than he handles most roles. I have no problem with that and thought that he did just fine. Honorable mention goes out to character actor Jack McGee while I tip my cap to first time actor Mickey O’Keefe who portrayed himself. I thoroughly enjoyed The Fighter and appreciated the dedication and devotion shown by the filmmakers (which includes Mark Wahlberg) to bring this great story to the big screen. Nearly four years in the making it was well worth the effort.
The rating is for language throughout, drug content, some violence and sexuality.
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:
The Fighter comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.
This isn’t a bright or overly colorful film. The chromatic palette consists mainly of cooler tones and muted secondary hues with the occasional interjection of primary colors that don’t offer much in the way of visual stimulation. This coupled with the light veil of grain gives it a rougher visual style that works quite well with the film’s thematic tone. Resolution is excellent but the nature of the photography isn’t always lent to the high gloss definition that provides an infinite sense of depth. There are many instances where detail is clearly resolvable with discerning visual perspective and rich clarity. On the other hand there are times where delineation and sharpness is less tangibly defining. Close ups tend to be outstanding and offer plenty of appreciable refinement in the physical features and weave of the fabric in the clothing worn by the cast. The superb cinematography uses a variety of lighting schemes and purposeful shadows. The perception of detail in backgrounds and scenes containing mixed light/dark elements can be scene dependent but this appears directly related to artistic choice and rarely has a deleterious effect. Contrast is stable over the course of the presentation and blacks, while not inky, have sufficient depth so that they don’t appear flat or washed out. I didn’t note any overt signs of video related anomalies and thought that this presentation as a whole was excellent.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue, snappy dynamics and a subtle, yet engaging surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension and discrete directional sounds that created an occasionally immersive listening environment (the fights sequences are a great example and sound terrific). This worked hand in hand with a punchy low end the supported the film’s music, and source material, to help drive the story.
- Commentary by director David O. Russell
- (HD) The warrior code: Filming The Fighter – 30 minute featurette
- (HD) Keeping the faith – 8 minute documentary
- (HD) 16 deleted scenes with optional director commentary
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- Bonus DVD of The Fighter
- Digital Copy
The Fighter is a genuine and rewarding drama/biopic that is justly deserving of comparison to other great boxing films. Its inspirational and true story about overcoming adversity, sustaining family and succeeding through pure heart and determination is capably helmed by director David O. Russell and features superb/award winning performances from an excellent cast. It makes its home video debut from Paramount featuring distinguished high definition video quality, excellent lossless sound and a middling but worthwhile offering of bonus supplements. Not to be missed I highly recommend you check out The Fighter on Blu-ray.
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