The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Miramax - 1994
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 94 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: David Arquette, John Hawkes, Salma Hayek, Jason Wiles, William Sadler, O'Neal Compton
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Music by: Johnny Reno & Paul Boll
Written by: Robert Rodriguez & Tommy Nix
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 17, 2012
"Fight for what you lovenot for what you hate"
Acclaimed director Robert Rodriguez delivers more action-packed thrills with Roadracers, the story of a rockin' rebel named Dude (David Arquette), racing through life with a fast car, a loud guitar, a sexy girlfriend (Salma Hayek) and a big mouth. But when a confrontation ends with deadly threats, Dude finds himself speeding head-on toward a showdown that will settle the score for good. With hot stars and an energetic style all its own, Roadracers is fast-paced entertainment that never slows down.
Prior to receiving the press release for Roadracers I had never heard of it. Doing some checking online I found out that it is made-for-television film, and the second feature film of director Robert Rodriguez, following the success of his 1992 debut, El Mariachi. The film originally aired on Showtime Network as part of their Rebel Highway series that took the titles of 1950s-era B-movies and applied them to original films starring up-and-coming actors of the 1990s and directed by established directors such as William Friedkin, Joe Dante, and Ralph Bakshi.
Co-written by Robert Rodriguez, Roadracers is a satirical play on the period tough guy rebel and features the requisite caricatures that embody that theme. The narrative along with the characters aren't especially deep but Rodriguez has a flair for dialogue and his signature visuals and cinematic tone breathe a bit more life into the proceedings. My reaction to Roardracers is best described as lukewarm. As much as I wanted to like it, I just didn't care about the main character (s) and found the droll elements of their interaction to be oafish rather than cleverly integrated. As much as I like Salma Hayek, I never once believed that she would be with Dude (Arquette), let alone be a workable fit in the storyline. The three thugs that that torment Dude and Donna (that's Hayek) are about as intimidating as the Three Stooges and the local cop that has it in for Dude isn't much better. I will say that I liked the references to the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers film and the cameo by its star Kevin McCarthy. For me the best scenes in the film take place at J.T.'s Diner. Pretty much anything that he has to say is worth hearing especially when it involves John Hawkes' character Nixer. Roadracers is probably about what you would expect in a made for TV throwback satire. It's pretty cheesy, sort of oafishly charming, and lacking in defining characters. I was hoping for a little bit more from Robert Rodriguez but all things considered there is probably enough substance here to keep his diehard fans entertained.
The rating is for language and some violence.
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:
Roadracers comes to Blu-ray from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 channel Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.
A variety of visuals are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the director's vision. Colors can vary from being sullen and inanimate to vivid with warm vitality. Skin tones are lifelike with natural tonality and descriptive variation but this can also be scene dependent. Images onscreen are primarily detailed and sharp especially during close up and mid level pans. There are occasions where sharpness noticeably wavers, particularly during long rage camera shots, however it appears to be innate to the photography. White and black levels strike a pleasing balance while discerning shadow delineation provides good perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. I found this to be a satisfying yet unremarkable high definition presentation that seemed a good match for the source material.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack readily handled the elements contained in the recording. The presentation retained a front loaded perspective with primarily articulated dialogue that extended well into the room. Sounds were reproduced with discerning clarity and delineation that brought forth plenty of subtle nuance and low level detail. Surround activity was limited to rear channel ambience and spatial cues that minimally broadened the soundstage. I was satisfied with the implementation of this audio mix especially in light of the budget oriented nature of the original soundtrack.
- Audio commentary with director Robert Rodriguez
- Ten Minute Film School: The Making of A Degenerate Hot Rod Flick - 10 minute documentary
Roadracers is a made for TV film, co-written by director Robert Rodriguez, and is a satirical play on the 1950's tough guy rebel that features the requisite caricatures that embody that theme. The narrative along with the characters aren't especially deep but Rodriguez has a flair for dialogue and his signature visuals and cinematic tone breathe a bit more life into the proceedings. I found it mildly entertaining and suspect that it will probably appeal more to fans that have an appreciation for style. Roadracers makes its debut on Blu-ray from Echo Bridge Home Entertainment featuring fair high definition video and clear lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound quality. The bonus supplements are sparse but worth checking out especially if you're a fan. If you're curious drop this in your rental queue.
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