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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English - Hearing Impaired
  • Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Tom Dey, Jorge Saralegui
  • Featurette
  • Filmographies
  • Dolby Digital trailer


Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 91 mins . M . PAL


He might be a little set in his ways, but having pounded the beat for over 20 years, hard-boiled detective Mitch Preston (Robert De Niro) is one of the most respected detectives within the LAPD. Trey Sellars (Eddie Murphy), on the other hand, is an inexperienced beat cop who, until he lands his big Hollywood break, dabbles with policing between casting calls. But their paths are set to collide when Trey unwittingly disrupts Mitch’s latest undercover sting; bringing the press swarming to the scene and allowing the perpetrators - brandishing the largest hand-cannon on the face of the earth - to escape. Not only that, in all the confusion Mitch’s partner is wounded, and in frustration Mitch blows the camera off the shoulder of an annoyingly determined pressman.

And thus an inexorable chain of events is set in motion. Impressed by Mitch’s no-nonsense, tough-guy persona, and having the LAPD by the balls over the obliterated camera, TV producer Chase Renzi (Rene Russo) decides that Mitch is the perfect candidate for a new reality-based TV program. With pressure brought to bear from above, Mitch has no choice but to comply. When the search to find his perfect on-screen ‘buddy’ is launched, Trey campaigns hard for the role and, intrigued by Mitch’s high level of hostility towards him, Chase hands Trey his big break.

And so, these newly made partners take to the streets to fight crime and earn ratings. And needless to say, well, they don’t get along. Remaining staunchly uncooperative and doggedly pursued by cameramen, Mitch tries to continue his investigations, but is constantly hampered by the bugbear production crew and Trey’s relentless mugging to camera. Even more gruff than usual, he’s not quite the leading man Chase had imagined and she turns in desperation to William Shatner. Drawing on his days as '80s super-cop TJ Hooker, old Shats attempts to instil in the boys a few of the favoured weapons in the TV cop’s arsenal. And although little of Shats' TV wisdom seems to sink in, the show soon begins to rate. In no time at all it’s a runaway success, even as the pair edge closer to solving Mitch’s case.

In Showtime, director Tom Dey has followed up his watershed Hollywood feature Shanghai Noon - an entertaining and generally well-received western buddy-comedy - with, erm, yet another buddy comedy - be it rooted in another genre. And yet, from the DVD commentary no less, we learn that Dey’s intention this time around was more along the lines of a scathingly satirical look at a genuine Hollywood stalwart. Sorry Tom, for mine Showtime comes across more as a celebration of said stalwart - the buddy-cop picture - than anything like scathing satire.

Indeed Dey’s film is brimming over with the clichés and plot-devices that are the mainstays of the genre. We see the grizzled and tired old-timer, the over-enthusiastic young partner, the overbearing sergeant, the comedic sidekick, the villain with a bad English accent, and there’s even a ‘suspension pending full investigation’. So, no – the film doesn’t quite work as a parody. But, if you’re like me and you actually enjoy all that crap, you’ll still get a kick out of Showtime. Just another addition to a well-stoked genre it may be, and maybe only a light bit of fluff at that, but Dey manages to nicely balance the comedic and action elements of his story (much like Will Smith’s 1995 vehicle Bad Boys) to create a film that’s entertaining from beginning to end.

Certainly fans of Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy will find something here to like. As the over-dramatic, amateur actor turned law enforcer Eddie Murphy, drawing on a career of similar roles (Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours etc), hams it up to great effect; again playing the Donkey to De Niro’s Shrek. At the other end of the spectrum, and with his comedy routine now firmly established, De Niro deadpans his way from beginning to end; delivering most of the film’s classic lines and generating most of the laughs. Of course the real surprise is the cameo from William Shatner who, sending himself up beautifully, provides an entertaining, if short, distraction. And Rene Russo? Well, I know she totally sold that see-through dress in The Thomas Crown Affair, but sans-dress, Russo really brings nothing to the production. Come to think of it, she’s just the thing for a vacuous Hollywood producer.

And so, while Showtime is a film that we’ve all seen in part somewhere before, it’s still an entertaining night in. Just don’t be expecting to come away with anything more than a few giggles.


Roadshow are again at the top of their game, with a stunning, anamorphic release of Showtime that is as damn near to perfect as you care to imagine. At its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the image is clear, crisp and sharp as a tack, and the gritty locations from the mean back-streets of LA literally teem with detail. In contrast, the bright lights of nearby Hollywood are ablaze with vivid colours; and both these and the more grimy, lowly-lit locations are complimented perfectly by deep solid blacks. Shadow detail is also impressive; coming into its own with the obligatory night scenes that seem to inhabit all police films. And artefacts? Well, um, there aren’t any. Devoid of any kind of speck or hint of the compression process, about the only thing added to the image is a little aliasing on a rather obvious group of Venetian blinds. But really, such things are to be expected for a transfer this sharp. Even the layer change went unnoticed on my player. All in all, bloody brilliant. Roadshow, you rock!


Providing a single audio track, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Showtime switches happily and often between wordy comedy territory and a full-on action extravaganza. A soundtrack that at times dwindles to little more than a dialogue track (delivered clearly and distinctly throughout), this baby crashes back with a vengeance at the slightest provocation.

And when the action does hot up, all 5.1 channels are called upon to create a frenetic and immersive soundstage. Swirling around the room, the dull thud of press helicopters interrupts Mitch’s initial sting, and from then on it’s gloves off for this, and the film’s remaining, action sequences. At regular intervals all four corners of the room are filled with the crack of gunfire, the ricochet of bullets, the splintering of rubble and the smash of glass. And crisscrossing the soundstage, screaming cars on the chase finally meet their ends with bone-crunching clarity. Underpinning all this is a satisfying, bone-shaking level of low-end activity.

Alan Silvestri, a man who in the last 20 years has scored films from Hollywoood’s most mindless action fodder to its most delicate comedies, provides Showtime with a nicely balanced score that perfectly matches the film’s alternating moods. Subtly enhancing the frivolity during the comedic moments, it really opens up when adding tension and suspense in equal measures to the action sequences. At these times especially, the mix deftly balances his contribution between the front and rear channels.


A set of rather basic, static menus provide access to a reasonable set of extra features:

  • Commentary: Director Tom Dey and producer Jorge Saralegui (also credited for the film’s original story) talk continuously about all kinds of aspects concerning the development and shooting of the film. Sharing a good rapport, these two moviemakers are sitting together (which is nice) and are certainly proud of the film they have created. Although not the best commentary I have ever heard, Dey & Saralegui’s commentary does discuss some interesting technical aspects of the production, and they also share some interesting anecdotes. Certainly they easily managed to hold my attention right to the end of the film.

  • Documentary: Hosted by William ‘TV Cop’ Shatner, this reasonably entertaining behind the scenes featurette contains some interview sound bites from Dey, DeNiro, Murphy and other cast members, behind the scenes footage and a whole heap of clips from the film. No earth shattering revelations, but reasonably entertaining. Old Cap’n Kirk sure can laugh at himself.

  • Additional/Deleted Scenes: Almost 14 minutes of material that was either removed altogether or that appeared in a different form in the final cut, including some great takes of Eddie Murphy in the ‘confessional’. In an optional commentary track from director Dey, he briefly discusses what he liked about these scenes and why they didn’t make final cut.

  • Cast and Crew: Selected filmographies for stars DeNiro, Murphy, Russo, as well as Frankie R. Faison, William Shatner and principal crew members including director Tom Dey.

  • Theatrical Trailer: Even with a sharp, clean image, you wont be coming back to this widescreen (2.35:1) anamorphic trailer. Well, not me at least.

  • Dolby Digital 5.1 Trailer: The train one, which I quite like...


If you're a fan of the buddy-cop genre, then you can hardly go past the combination of De Niro and Murphy doing what they do best. However, Showtime is not the scathing satire it pretends to be. Sure there are some good laughs, and there's some good action, but as the genre dictates, it's predictable with it. Showtime is the kind of light, video fodder that your brain seeks after a hard day's whatever.

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      And I quote...
    "If you're a fan of the buddy-cop genre, then you'll certainly enjoy this teaming of De Niro and Murphy. However, Showtime is not the scathing satire it pretends to be..."
    - Gavin Turner
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Toshiba SD-2108
    • TV:
          Panasonic TC-68P90A TAU (80cm)
    • Receiver:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Speakers:
          B&W 602
    • Centre Speaker:
          B&W CC6 S2
    • Surrounds:
          JM Lab Cobalt SR20
    • Subwoofer:
          B&W ASW-500
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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