Grosse Pointe Blank (Disney) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

Grosse Pointe Blank is a perfectly good action comedy that is smart and has some really well shot action scenes. The film is 20 years old this year and has aged well.

Released by: Disney

Release Date: April 11th, 1997 (Theatrical)
                        August 12th, 2012 (Blu-ray)

Region Code: REGION FREE

Run Time: 1h 47m

Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 
             French: Dolby Digital 2.0
             Spanish: Dolby Digital 2.0

Video: 1080p (1.85:1 Aspect Ratio)

"I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How've you been?"- Martin Blank

THE FEATURES [1 out of 4]

Another black and white (with a little red) title card

Theatrical Trailer (2m 18s, SD, 1.33:1)

Trailer does a decent job selling the film. I think that if they had chosen which way they were going to sell the film (action or comedy) then they may have had a better time selling the film. As it stands now, the film did ok at the box office.

That is it for special features. We know that there are deleted scenes because the trailer has scenes that were not in the film. You know, the trailer that is on this very disc. Disney calls this the “15th Anniversary Special Edition”, but there is nothing special about it. They could have given us those deleted scenes and the trailer and we would have been happy.

THE PACKAGING [2.5 out of 4]

Disney plops this down on blu-ray with some decent looking artwork. The cover is the theatrical poster, so there is that. Of course they had to go and put that 15th Anniversary banner at the top, but it still looks ok.

What I do hate about Disney's blu-ray releases is the disc art. Look at it. It is the worst disc art I have ever seen. This goes with most of the disc released by Disney. The blu-ray logo is bigger than the title of the film. Hell, the title should be at the top, not the logo. Horrible.

The disc is REGION FREE so I guess I could give them that.

THE PICTURE [3 out of 4]

a man and a woman stand outside a radio station in hopes of scoring free tickets to the Megadeath concert

Disney has given us a dated transfer that show a fair amount of detail, especially in close ups. A lot of the colors are muted except for reds and greens. I remember seeing this in the theater and the color palette was not muted like this. I remember this film being bright and kind of happy. We also get edge enhancement that is prevalent throughout the film as are halos. There are even a handful of scenes where a casual viewer might ask why the picture looks the way it does. These instances are not bad enough to the hurt this release though. This is a huge improvement over the dvd, but Disney could have done so much better with this “15th Anniversary” disc.

THE SOUND [3.5 out of 4]

a man shows another man his sweet kung fu moves by kicking him in the chest

Given a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, Grosse Pointe Blank really shines when the action scenes show up. It is very bombastic and inviting. The action scenes are not the only thing that stands out with this track. The music, which there is a lot of, is really well handled here. Dialogue is crisp and clear and there is no distortion of any kind.

There are also Spanish and French language tracks found on the disc as well.

THE FILM [3.5 out of 4]

a man and a woman stare at each other

This was the second film that I saw with the first girl I dated. I remember taking her to a really late show, like 11:30pm, and we were the only two people in the theater. The person at the box office said that they weren’t even going to show the film had we not shown up. I guess that makes me look like an ass because the theater workers could have gone home early, but they never told me that.

It has been a while since I have sat down to watch this film and I found it to be funnier this time around.

John Cusack stars as a hitman who pines for the woman he left sitting on her front porch while he went and joined the army. He gets an invitation to his 10 year high school reunion and these feelings for this girl come flooding in. It doesn’t hurt that the woman is played by Minnie Driver, who is also really good here.

Cusack does go back to his hometown and finds that as much as things change, they stay the same. His childhood home has been knocked down and replaced with a convenience store. Driver is the local DJ and puts Cusack through the ringer when he shows up while she is on the air. This scene is one of the best scenes in the film as Driver shows how conflicted here character is while Cusack nervously darts around the room, not wanting to have his back to a window.

There are other comedic scenes earlier in the film with Alan Arkin, who plays Cusack’s therapist. Arkin is always great even though his scenes are short. He always gets a laugh out of me.

Also popping up is Dan Aykroyd as a rival of Cusack’s who wants to create a union for hitmen so that they don’t steal jobs from each other. The idea of a union is funny and Aykroyd plays it very straight. His interactions with Cusack are very funny.

The film does have its fair share of action scenes as well. There is a shootout in the convenience store that was once his childhood home, a scene at the end, and a really well done hand to hand fight scene between Cusack and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, who is also Cusack’s martial arts instructor in real life. You can tell that the two know each other well because their fight scene doesn’t come off as stagey. It is a really well handled fight scene.

I wish that Urquidez would, or could, get more work. The few scenes that he is in here are wonderful. 

This is the man who fought Jackie Chan in Wheels on Meals, which is considered one of the best fight scenes ever, and then again in Dragons Forever. The man is one of the very few white martial artists who did well in Hong Kong. The fact that he was able to keep up and adapt to the way fight scenes are choreographed in Hong Kong is a testament to how good he really is. 

Grosse Pointe Blank is a severely underrated film that I wish would get more play. It didn’t do that well at the box office and I think that if people would give the film a chance, they will see that it is a film worth watching.

OVERALL [3 out of 4]

Dan Aykroyd shoots two guns

Grosse Pointe Blank is a film worth checking out. This blu-ray, on the other hand, is worth it if you can find it for $5. The picture quality is good, but could have been great. The sound is better and the special features could use an upgrade. There is no reason to call a release an “Anniversary Edition” and then do nothing with it. It is a shame because there has to be some stuff that they could have thrown on the disc. This is a lazy effort by a company that doesn’t care all that much. I still recommend the it for the film though.

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