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  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Production notes

The Specialist

Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 105 mins . MA15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Right, the stupid f*cker who thought we needed to see Sly make love to Sharon Stone in a shower for three minutes should go and throw himself off the nearest bridge right now. There’s only so much nude Stallone we can handle, and this is a bit much.

All done? Good. Seriously, you gotta ask, how much did Stallone pay the writer to put that scene in?

But let's not focus too much on Sly this time, or even the movie for that matter (it's just so-so, but lots of shit blows up). Let's take a look at the cast instead...

Let's start with Sharon Stone, the femme fatale of the piece. When she was just a little girl, she saw her family killed by some goons. You know that it was traumatic and happened a long time ago, because she can only remember it in black and white flashbacks. But her character isn't important. What's important are her legs. She has two legs. They are long, shapely legs. She shows them a lot by wearing very short skirts. She has very nice legs. I did not know this. I spent all my time in her other films trying to catch a glimpse of the scar on her neck from when she had a head transplant. I give her legs a 9/10 for their performance in this film.

Then we have Eric Roberts. He is a good actor. He was in… and, um... the one with the guy... and then there was the one where he did stuff with his feet. Here he plays the son of a crime lord who is getting it on in the biblical sense with Sharon Stone's legs. He also happens to be the person who killed her family. But that's not important. What is important is that he never acts in another film ever again.

Next up, Rod Steiger. He plays Eric Roberts' dad. Not in real life, obviously, just in the film. Roberts doesn't have a real dad. He was created in a freak accident involving an industrial vacuum, lightning, and Pee Wee Herman. Steiger is good, and displays his mastery of the "Tony Montana Method" of Latin Crime Lord dialogue. "Sure" becomes "Chor", every other word stays the same, and he starts and ends every sentence with "H'okay?". I guess the best thing I can say about Steiger is that he is old now, maybe even dead. I don't know, check IMDB.com.

And then, lastly, but most importantly, we come to James Woods. When Woods isn't off in space helping aliens defend their planet from invasion, he kicks arse big time. But how out of place does Woods look in this film? When he and Sly are on screen together, you can actually see Sly's talent drag James Woods down to his primitive level. Woods' eyes are screaming "NOOOOOOO! I can act! Pleeeeease! I'm mellllting!" while Sly's eye's are saying "Ha Har! You're nothing but a skinny nutbag in this film, freako, and I'm the one who gets to screw Sharon, so stick your method bullshit where Oscar don't shine, baby!" As usual, when Woods has to act angry, he looks like he's trying to make the other person spontaneously combust. One day, I hope he manages to make it happen. James Woods is way cool.

My review template insists that I should start discussing the transfer now, so who am I to argue?

  Video
Contract

This isn't too bad to watch. It looks a bit subdued, like someone turned the brightness down a bit, giving it a slightly dull appearance. A bit surprising, considering the whole sunny Miami type setting with its colourful clubs and bleached exteriors, but then maybe that's the whole point, eh? Go for the moody, smoky look. The dark, seedy underbelly of a playful, bright and happy wonderland, and all that stuff. I don't know, I think watching all these Stallone films is starting to get to me. Anyway, detail is up to snuff at least, never quite pin sharp and a little grainy, but good, and the whole look is a notch or two above the transfer for Demolition Man.

  Audio
Contract

If you like to hear things explode, you should be happy with this disc. It's not gonna win awards, but who cares when people are flying through the air while still strapped to their burning car seat? This DVD should probably come with a warning, because when cackka go boom, it go boom loud. There you sit, enjoying the witty, deep, almost Shakespearian dialogue, when a boat suddenly explodes. Then a car. Then a hotel, a coffee cup, a bomb disposal van, a bridge. You name it, it blows up. Trust me when I say that this is not a DVD you play late at night when your partner and little boy are asleep in bed.

  Extras
Contract

Selecting the 'Special Features' menu option, you are presented with the choice of reading Cast and Crew bios/filmographies, reading text about the special effects, reading text about the Miami shooting, viewing the trailer or seeing a list of other film recommendations.

Now here's a question for you: What idiot thought that Stallone fans would want to read about the special effects in a Stallone action film? Don't you think that they would want to actually see how things were blown up, rather than read about it? I mean, it's probably a struggle for some of them to even use the menu system, let alone navigate text pages with small print without pointing at the words on the screen as they read along. There should have been just three menu items on this DVD: 1. PLAY MOVIE, 2. SEE HOW WE BLEW SHIT UP and 3. SEE SHARON STONE NUDE.

  Overall  
Contract

Not Stallone's best film, nor Stone's, Woods', Steiger's, Roberts', et al for that matter. Strangely enough, like much of the grubby sweat-fests of Stallone, it has its satisfying moments. Naturally, most of these moments involve female nudity, violence, explosions and fine French pastries, but I'm yet to find a good argument for why this is a bad thing. As a DVD, The Specialist generally gets a broken thumb-up, even if the extras only appeal to fans who have climbed down out of the trees and can read.


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      And I quote...
    "The Specialist generally gets a broken thumb-up, even if the extras only appeal to fans who have climbed down out of the trees and can read."
    - 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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