Tango & Cash (1989)

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Released 11-Jun-1999

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 99:37
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Andrew Konchalovsky
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Kurt Russell
Jack Palance
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Harold Faltermeyer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Arabic
Spanish
Portuguese
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Back when I saw Tango & Cash on VHS years ago with a bunch of friends, it seemed to serve its purpose well as the requisite action title that afternoon. Paced like a bullet and peppered with smart-alec humour, we came away with our expectations and appetites fully satiated. My opinion of the movie, however, concurred with views held by most critics: that it was yet another LA buddy-cop picture inspired by Lethal Weapon, with name actors and a respectable budget. A calculated audience pleaser, but no more.

    Having just watched the DVD of Tango & Cash, remastered back to its widescreen aspect ratio and remixed into Dolby Digital 5.1, my judgement has undergone a similar upgrade. For starters, the production values are more apparent. From the lush cinematography by Donald Thorin to the effective set designs and locations, every aspect is allowed to play its part. Secondly, the movie is hilarious. Penned by Randy (Metro) Feldman, the constant quips and witticisms uttered by Ray Tango (Sylvester Stallone) and Gabe Cash (Kurt Russell) really keep things charging along. The action scenes are also fine by Hollywood standards; the ideas stolen from Enter the Dragon and Jackie Chan's Police Story go some way towards redressing the Hollywood influences evident in many Hong Kong films.

    Speaking of Hollywood, you can't go past the pairing of Sly Stallone and Kurt Russell. They work charmingly to create a believable partnership, even when exchanging insults or critiquing each other in the classic shower scene. Jack Palance as crime boss Yves Perret spends most of the movie gnashing his teeth, but he does it with such class that one can excuse the overkill. Future Lois Lane and Bond girl Teri Hatcher turns in a fabulous performance, and while Brion James' Cockney accent did nothing for his Academy Award chances, it matches the sense of fun that pervades the film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Like Warner Home Video's other back catalogue titles, Tango & Cash has received the red carpet treatment. Framed at 2.35:1, the 16x9 enhanced presentation is generally superb for a single layer disc.

    This is a detailed and razor sharp transfer - perhaps too sharp. Signs of edge enhancement are apparent on high contrast transitions, such as at 2:44, where a halo surrounds Ray Tango, outlining him against the desert sky, and also around Yves Perret when he appears in silhouette during the prison torture sequence at 40:28. To subdue the brittle nature of the image, I reduced the sharpness level on my Marantz player to below zero, gaining a more natural, film-like result. For a film 10 years old the shadow detail is excellent, thanks perhaps to the boosted video.

    The strong, saturated colours are consistently vibrant throughout the feature, with good skin tones and no colour bleed. Interior and exterior shots fare equally well.

    Film artefacts mar the first reel occasionally, most noticeably at 1:46 when a brown scratch cuts the frame in two. An absence of compression faults and aliasing rounds out a transfer that looks as healthy as it could be without full restoration.

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

Audio

    A bright, punchy English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track replaces the original stereo mix to good effect. Also present are 5.1 remixes in French and Italian.

    Clear dialogue is essential for the enjoyment of Randy Feldman's witty script, and this presentation delivers the goods: recording levels ensure that every jibe and wisecrack is audible. Synchronization is spot on and distortion is not a problem.

    The high fidelity extended to the soundstage dynamics, which were very good, although not up to the standard of native 5.1 soundtracks. Helicopter fly-overs and the occasional front-to-back pan kept the surrounds active, as did a host of ambient city noises.

    Harold Faltermeyer's characteristically synthetic music score integrates well with the other elements. Separation was apparent right from the opening scene, with the rears adding spaciousness to his predominantly front-staged theme music, a legacy of the stereo mix. The subwoofer only came to life to lend weight to various explosions, and even those were low key. This is not surprising given the lack of dynamic range available to the sound engineers in 1989.

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

Extras

Menu

    The colourful, no-frills menu is 16x9 enhanced. The production notes promised by the packaging are not actually present on the disc.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 release has a pan-and-scan version on the flip side. The UK Region 2 DVD is missing approximately 41 seconds due to BBFC censorship.

Summary

    Yesterday's throw-away video rental has become today's 16x9 enhanced, surround sound DVD collector's item. With a decent widescreen video transfer and solid Dolby Digital refurbishment which adds depth and verisimilitude to the on-screen action, Warner Home Video's no-frills Tango & Cash DVD will please fans of the 1980s action genre.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rod Williams (Suss out my biography if you dare)
Wednesday, August 16, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV-7000 (European model), using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Ergo (81cm). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder.
AmplificationArcam AV50 5 x 50W amplifier
SpeakersFront: ALR/Jordan Entry 5M, Centre: ALR/Jordan 4M, Rear: ALR/Jordan Entry 2M, Subwoofer: B&W ASW-1000 (active)

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