'Jackie Brown' Blu-ray Review: A Heavy Bang for Your Buck

'Jackie Brown' Blu-ray Review: A Heavy Bang for Your Buck

Oct 18, 2011

How's the movie?

Jackie Brown Blu-rayJackie Brown is Quentin Tarantino's most unsung film. It's not edgy enough to have courted the cult crowd the way Reservoir Dogs did. It's not singular enough to have wowed both the arthouse and public the way Pulp Fiction did. It's not as kinetic, stylish or as set piece-driven in the ways Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds are. It's simply... there. It's not a bad movie by any stretch, Jackie Brown is just Tarantino walking a more relaxed, more comical beat and for some reason that never struck a chord with crowds like all of his other films have managed with ease.

But because JB, for the most part, lacks the gravitas and showmanship most people expect from QT, it's also arguably his most intimate film. It's all about the actors, the characters, and the telling of a typical Elmore Leonard story about seemingly mundane people and their merging criminal worlds. It's a good film; a little long and occasionally a little dry, but a good film.

But what says the Internets?

IMDB: 7.6
Rotten Tomatoes: 86% Fresh with critics, 78% liked by the audience
MetaCritic: 64 out of 100, with an 8.2 User Score


What are the vital stats on the disc?

Jackie Brown Blu-ray Screen

Studio: Lionsgate
Release Date: October 04, 2011
Edition: Standard
Number of Discs: 1
Digital Copy: No

Runtime: 154 Minutes
Video: 1080p, AVC MPEG4, 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Region: A


How does it look and sound?

Jackie Brown BluJackie Brown Robert Forster

Jackie Brown has never enjoyed the same meticulous home video presentation as Tarantino's other films. I don't know if that's because the original look of the film is only so great, or if the resources just aren't warranted to remaster it (the recent Pulp Fiction BD features a sticker boasting of a director approved transfer, but no such sticker can be found here), but this is the kind of Blu-ray that looks good - especially compared to the DVD or even some of the import versions of the BD - but not utterly pristine. In a way, the occasionally unrefined noise and fuzziness gives the film a more lived-on-a-shelf look (not unlike so impressive clsoe-ups of Robert Forster's lived-in face), which is actually in JB's favor considering it's already a throwback to another era.

The same goes for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. It sounds fine. There's nothing that stands out as being problematic, the dialogue is balanced and easy to hear, but because JB is such a lowkey film to begin with, there's also nothing about the sound mix that particularly pops out.


Anything exclusive to the Blu-ray?

Jackie Brown Film Critics

Breaking Down Jackie Brown (44 minutes, HD) - The only exclusive feature on this BD is a newly produced roundtable discussion on the film featuring the same critics from the corresponding feature on the aforementioned Pulp Fiction BD. This fly-on-the-wall chat with film critics is a bit more substantial and interesting than the one on the PF disc, however. Of course, no one really has anything particularly harsh to say about the film, but they do champion a wide array of aspects and dive into how Jackie Brown is a film that stands the test of time, if not a test of popularity.


What about non-exclusive features?

Jackie Brown BTSJackie Brown Quentin Tarantino

There are a ton of SD special features transferred over from various past DVD issues of the film, and even though these aren't in HD, they're pretty impressive goodies. And there's a lot of them, over two hours in total. The highlights are:

How it Went Down (39 minutes, SD) - Ten featurettes comprise this section, and you've got the option to watch them individually or as a whole. There's a lot of good material here bridging everything from Elmore Leonard's concerns about a film adaptation of his book, to changing the race of the main character, to casting of all the characters.

A Look Back: Interview with Quentin (54 minutes, SD) - A long, exhaustive interview with QT about the film and what it means to him. The presentation of it is kind of dry - and it can be occasionally hard to hear the off screen interviewer ask the questions - and it's typical QT-style of yammering about everything under the sun, but he's such an interesting personality that even his rambling answers are more interesting than most carefully cultivated Q&As.

Jackie Brown on MTV (15 minutes, SD) & Siskel & Ebert Review (5 minutes, SD) - A nostalgia blast for anyone who grew up in the '90s. These are exactly what they sound like: vintage TV clips promoing and discussing the film.

There's also Deleted Scenes (seven in total), a Trivia Track, Robert Forster Trailers (12 in total), Pam Grier Trailers (nine in total), Still & Marketing Galleries (posters and behind-the-scenes snaps), and Chicks with Guns Video (the awesome video that De Niro and Jackson are watching on TV in the film).


Final impressions?

Jackie Brown Title Screen

Jackie Brown didn't quite get the full Blu-ray love that Pulp Fiction recently got (our full review of that excellent disc), but if you're a fan of the film this is as good as you're going to get for a home video release. It's unlikely that anyone will be putting out a more comprehensive set for this film any time in the future. The HD-exclusive materials are lacking, but the SD content compensates, and the movie looks good, if not great. Plus, it's a cheap disc, so even if it does have a few minor shortcomings, it's still a huge bang for your buck.

Categories: At Home, Reviews
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