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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Arabic, Turkish, Romanian
  Extras
  • 9 Deleted scenes - incl. commentary
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Director Rod Lurie
  • Featurette - Behind the Scenes
  • Animated menus

The Last Castle

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 125 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

The Last Castle is a fine prison/war drama with Tony Soprano and The Horse Whisperer.

Robert Redford is an army general hero dude jailed for not listening to orders and getting a bunch of his men killed. Idiot, idiot, idiot. Tony Soprano, meanwhile, is head of waste management for the prison, if you know what I mean.

Actually, Tony's the wheezy prison warden who has never seen combat and idolises the general, but ultimately is jealous of Redford's wavy natural golden locks. Tony and the Horseman clash heads over prison rules and who's the boss, each trying to one-up each other in a battle of wits. Eventually, the general rallies his troops, or prisoners as it were, and leads a revolt over the prison, determined that the American way of prison life will not be sullied by some greasy dago wop bastard.

But Mr Wheeezy isn't going to let Mr HorsePants general have the run of his prison, so he's gonna wheeze his own brand of warfare in return, putting his wits and rubber bullets up against a wartime legend and a bunch of angry prisoners desperate for some poontang.

And if that doesn't work, Tony will have them all whacked, buried in cement slabs and thrown to the bottom of the ocean to sleep with the fishes right next to Big Pussy Bopensiero, that lying rat bastard snitch.

Robert Redford and James Galdofini are both very good in the roles. Redford looks like an aged hippy ex-surfer. You half expect him to tack on a "dude" to the end of his lines.

"Stand at attention, soldier! You will fight the American way and show them what being a soldier means. Okay dudes?"

Depending on whether or not you watch The Sopranos, you might find it hard to let Gandolfini shake his Soprano character.

"Lock dem bastards down, and trow some sunsofbitches in the hole. Dis is my turf! Dose muthaf**kers have no respect. Hey, who wants some pasta bruscette?"

The story is pretty formulaic, with the standard prison type things occuring. Prisoners are thrown in solitary confinement. The prisoners band together to build a brick wall. The guards 'accidently' kill some prisoners. They trade cigarettes. The usual stuff.

Gandolfini and Redford share some semi-intense type dialogue, the typical battle of wits stuff. They stare at each other a bit.

So far, so normal. Then the action starts.

Whoah! Where did all the explosions come from? It's like all of a sudden you're watching a different film. And I liked it, I really did. There should be more films where action suddenly breaks out.

Sleepless in Seattle could use a car chase and maybe a few snipers trying to pick off Meg Ryan. It would be cool:
Meg Ryan(on phone to Tom): I can't sleep.
Tom Hanks: Yeah, I'm a bit sleepless as well, here in Seattle.
BLAM!BLAM!BLAM! A SNIPER fires at Meg!
MEG: What the...? I can't deal with this right now! I have issues!
Meg pulls out a Berretta from her purse and returns fire.
Meg: Eat lead!

A forty minute rooftop shootout follows and culminates with Meg getting thrown off the Empire State Building. The audience cheers! Meg wins an Oscar.

See? Action is very cool. The Last Castle is very cool.

  Video
Contract

Simply put, The Last Castle DVD has a fantastic picture. Seriously, aside from some extremely minimal aliasing which doesn't cause distraction, it serves up the film beautifully. Detail in all shots is fantastic, with too many prime examples to mention. Colours are great whether rendering the colder hues outside in the prison yard or the warmer interiors in Gandolfini's office. Top notch stuff. It's just quality all round here, with the film presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with 16:9 enhancement, this will look a treat on any display device you use. Really, I know I can be a flake sometimes, and I don't take myself or my plot synopsis bits very seriously, but this picture really does look damned good. Really.

  Audio
Contract

The best picture in the world would be useless if the sound was substandard, so be happy and let cry a chorus of "For Vince's a jolly good fellow" because the sound is basically a perfect match to the picture. It's nice and clear during all the quiet talky bits. It's suitably aggressive for the action bits as things go BOOM! and helicopters go WHOOMP! WHOOMP! WHOOMP! and all heck breaks loose, and the score is suitably stirring, but what do you expect when it's done by that score-whore Jerry Goldsmith?

The sound really emphasises the shift from its relatively quiet first two-thirds to the wham-bam-slam-you-mam finale by upping the agressiveness of the surrounds a notch and filling your room with mayhem. More top stuff! Yeehaa!

  Extras
Contract

There's a nice little swag of bonuses to trundle through on a rainy day. We start with an enjoyable Audio Commentary from director Rod Lurie, who's reasonably open about his work and what he thinks worked and didn't work, which makes for a nice change from directors who just gush on about themselves and the actors.

There are nine Deleted Scenes to view, with or without a director's commentary. One interesting scene has a doc reviving a patient with a couple of spoons hooked up to an electrical socket and the director admits that a real doctor laughed at the idea of it working. That's honesty for you. They're all fairly good quality for deleted scenes, in a 16:9 enhanced 2.35:1 ratio and with DD2.0 sound.

Running for around 15 minutes, the Behind the Scenes featurette is your standard issue stuff, with a few short interviews here and some scenes from the movie there mixed with brief production footage. It's presented nicely with Dolby 2.0 surround and a 16:9 enhanced 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

Finally, there's a good quality Theatrical Trailer in DD5.1 audio and a 16:9 enhanced 2.35:1 ratio.

  Overall  
Contract

Okay, it's time to summarise, clean up my mess and go home. Overall, I found The Last Castle a very enjoyable film. The presentation on this DVD is of very high quality, and I certainly rank it in the upper echelon of DVDs I've recently reviewed. Did you like how I used the word 'echelon'? Gives the review a touch of class, doesn't it?

That's enough from me.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1529
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      And I quote...
    "Robert Redford leads a revolt in a prison run by James Gandolfini, determined that the American way of prison life will not be sullied by some greasy dago wop bastard. And it's an great looking and sounding DVD, as well..."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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