Undercover Brother (2002)

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Released 27-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Malcolm Lee (Director)
Audio Commentary-Eddie Griffin (Actor)
Alternate Ending-with Director Comments
Featurette-Making Of-Welcome To The Brotherhood
Deleted Scenes-16 +/- director's commentary
Outtakes
Featurette-Animated Shorts by Urban Entertainment
Music Video-Undercova Funk-Snoop Dogg
Trailer-The Hulk; Johnny English
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 88:27 (Case: 82)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:13) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Malcolm D. Lee
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Eddie Griffin
Aunjanue Ellis
David Chappelle
Chris Kattan
Denise Richards
Chi McBride
Neil Patrick Harris
Gary Anthony Williams
Billy Dee Williams
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Stanley Clarke


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Undercover Brother is an adaptation of an animated series by Urban Entertainment. This series was created using Flash animation and can be downloaded off the Internet. I missed seeing the theatrical release of this movie, and was therefore very much looking forward to this review.

    Overall Undercover Brother was a little disappointing. It started off with a bang and was extremely amusing, but it was all downhill from there. Don't get me wrong - it still had its funny moments, but most of the jokes and comedy situations miss their mark, with the notable exception of scenes involving Conspiracy Brother, David Chappelle.

    Undercover Brother (Eddie Griffin) is an undercover agent fighting a lone crusade against the white establishment. That is, until the day he encounters Sistah Girl (Aunjanue Ellis), and is recruited by the B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D.. Together, with the help of Smart Brother (Gary Anthony Williams), Conspiracy Brother (David Chappelle), and The Chief (Chi McBride), they fight to uphold the African-American way of life.

    A sinister plot, Operation White Wash, has been hatched by The Man (Robert Trumbull), to rid American culture of all of its African-American influences. To achieve this, The Man and his assistant, the evil Mr. Feather (Chris Kattan) have kidnapped and brainwashed aspiring Black presidential candidate General Boutwell (Billy Dee Williams). Instead of proclaiming his presidential candidacy, The General announces his intention to open fried chicken restaurants, through which The Man will disperse drugged fried chicken which will rob all African-Americans of their 'Soul'.

    To counter this evil plot, Undercover Brother and Sistah Girl must go deep, deep, undercover. The operation is difficult, dangerous and filled with jokes. Undercover Brother is almost permanently transformed into a black whiteman by the seductive White She Devil (Denise Richards). Can Undercover Brother remain 'solid', keep his blackness, and save the African-American way of life?

    The highlight of Undercover Brother comes towards the end of the movie. James Brown performs a number that would put all modern performers to shame - boy can that man dance!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer is excellent, and of near reference quality.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. However, this is not the original theatrical release aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The transfer is clear and sharp throughout with no noticeable grain. The amount of shadow detail is excellent, with all objects clearly visible. There was no perceivable low level noise. All in all, this is a very visually pleasing transfer.

    Colours are occasionally bright and a little over-the-top, but are in tune with the movie's style. This is particularly evident with Undercover Brother's wardrobe. The colours are clear and constant with no evident problems.

    There was not even a hint of an MPEG artefact. Film-to-video artefacts were a rarity, with only mild occasional aliasing. Film artefacts were also few and far between. When they did occur they were small and did not distract from the on-screen action.

    There is only one language subtitle option available on this disc, English for the Hearing Impaired. I sampled the subtitle option and it appeared accurate. The other subtitle options are for use with the audio commentaries and are also in English.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 71:13. It is almost invisible.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is excellent, but not quite up to the standard of the video.

    There are three audio tracks available. These include the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s) track, and two English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192Kb/s) tracks. I listened to all three offerings.

    The dialogue was clear but not easily understood at all times. Some of the slang used by Undercover Brother is spoken quickly and its meaning is not always immediately evident. Audio sync is not an issue with this disc.

    The musical score was written by Stanley Clarke. It adds considerably to the overall feel and ambience of the movie. As with all other aspects of this feature, at times the music is a little over-the-top. The soundtrack is a who's who of 70s music. Artists include James Brown, Teddy Pendergrass, Paul McCartney, Tom Romero Band, The Commodores and Kool & The Gang.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer had moderate use throughout. As this is a combination action/comedy movie, there were periods of heavy usage followed by long periods of silence. More activity for both would have been desirable.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

    The menu system is introduced by a scene where Undercover Brother has his Cadillac in a controlled spin but still does not spill a drop of his drink.

Menu Animation & Audio

    The menu system is accompanied by video and audio from a small selection of scenes from the movie. After the scenes have run through once, the movie automatically begins. I found this a little annoying.

Audio Commentary-Malcolm Lee (Director)

    The director Malcolm Lee provides a very insightful and detailed commentary. The details he provides are at times a little overwhelming and provide information only a truly addicted fan could enjoy.

Audio Commentary-Eddie Griffin (Actor)

    This is one of the funniest commentaries I have ever heard. Eddie Griffin, who plays Undercover Brother, provides his very funny insights into the movie. There are, however, numerous lengthy periods of silence throughout the commentary.

Alternate Ending (2:37)

    This featurette offers an alternate ending (with or without director commentary) to the one used in the movie. I actually think this ending would have been funnier than the original.

Welcome To The Brotherhood

    This is a 'making of' featurette. It explains the beginnings of Undercover Brother as an Internet animated series. The cast and crew explain the movie and in particular their individual characters.

Deleted Scenes (30:25)

    This featurette is a selection of 16 deleted scenes. The scenes can be viewed with or without a director's commentary.

Outtakes (4:27)

    These are actor slip ups and embarrassing moments on the set. The outtakes feature all major characters.

Animated Shorts by Urban Entertainment (20:46)

    This featurette is a flash animated series of Undercover Brother. It has four short episodes that basically tell the same story as the main feature. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame and has a 2.0 Dolby Digital (192 kbps) audio track.

Music Video-Undercova Funk-Snoop Dogg (4:50)

    This featurette is the music video clip Undercova Funk performed by Snoop Dogg. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame and has a 2.0 Dolby Digital (192 kbps) stereo audio track.

Trailer-The Hulk (0:55)

    This is an extremely short teaser trailer for the movie The Hulk. It gives absolutely nothing away about the movie and in my opinion is a waste of time. It has a 2.0 Dolby Digital (192kbps) audio track and is in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

Trailer-Johnny English (1:16)

    This is a short teaser trailer for the movie Johnny English. It is in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and has a 2.0 Dolby Digital (192 kbps) stereo audio track.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;

The Region 1 misses out on;

    The extras on both discs are near identical, but the Region 4 misses the DTS soundtrack option. On the strength of this, I would have to recommend the Region 1 version.

Summary

    Undercover Brother is an over-the-top spy action comedy done in the style of the Austin Powers movies. It starts off extremely funnily but in the end, fails to deliver. It has been given a near flawless video transfer, excellent audio and a large range of very funny extras. Try before you buy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Geoff Greer (read my bio)
Thursday, August 21, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using S-Video output
DisplayBang & Olufsen BeoVision Avante 82cm 16:9 Widescreen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon AVR-1803. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR 1803
SpeakersParadigm: Phantom V. 3 Front, Paradigm CC270 V. 3 Centre, Paradigm: Titan V. 3 Rear, Yamaha YST-SW305 Sub

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Comments (Add)
R1 Extras? - Dark Lord (Bio? We don't need no stinkin' bio!) REPLY POSTED
RE: R1 Extras - Anonymous
Review: Solid - Abz
R1 Extras? - Anonymous