Men at Work (1990)

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Released 7-Apr-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer-(1.41)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 94:41 (Case: 135)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Emilio Estevez
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Charlie Sheen
Emilio Estevez
Leslie Hope
Keith David
Dean Cameron
John Getz
Hawk Wolinski
John Lavachielli
Geoffrey Blake
Cameron Dye
John Putch
Tommy Hinkley
Darrell Larson
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $14.95 Music Stewart Copeland
Greg De Belles


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Finnish
Swedish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Hungarian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     If you’re into watching late night movies on free-to-air TV then you’ve probably come across this little B-grade comedy gem from 1990 about two garbage men, a deranged Vietnam veteran and a dead politician caught up in a huge scandal involving illegal dumping of toxic waste. When Carl (Charlie Sheen) and James (Emilio Estevez) find the dead politician sealed up in a barrel on their garbage route they are forced to take the law into their own hands by their new intimidating and cop hating deranged vet partner Louis (Keith David).

     For those who have been asleep under a rock for the last 20 odd years, Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez are brothers in real life which makes the interaction between the two on-screen all the more priceless. Emilio also plays the off-screen part of director.

     To my recollection this movie coined the term ‘golf clap’. Those who have seen the film will know what I’m talking about. I have no idea why this particular moment stood out, but it’s a moment that I have always remembered since the last time I saw it over a decade ago. The movie has plenty of funny moments although it would be fair to say that the humour will not appeal to everyone. The running gag of the practical jokes between Carl and James and their two rival colleagues Frost (Geoffrey Blake) and Luzinski (Cameron Dye) is another highlight for me.

     After a decade I still thoroughly enjoyed Men At Work. The film itself is starting to look a little dated but this has done little to affect its comedic merits. Personally, I think it’s worth watching just for the Sheen brothers alone.

     Note: the back cover mistakenly indicates the running time is 135 minutes; the actual running time is a bit closer to 95 minutes. Not sure how Fox/MGM made that mistake.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video transfer given to Men At Work is nothing spectacular but perfectly adequate given the type of movie this is. ‘Adequate’ I think is the key word for the entire audio/visual transfer.

     Men At Work is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is rather pleasingly 16x9 enhanced.

     This is not an especially sharp or detailed transfer. In fact, it looks suspiciously like an old Laserdisc transfer that’s been ARCed (Aspect Ratio Converted) to fit the 16x9 frame. I can’t imagine any studio would go to the effort or expense of doing another film-to-video transfer for a film of this calibre, particularly when you consider most retailers are selling it for $14.95 or less. Shadow detail is good. There is a moderate level of film grain present throughout the majority of the transfer.

     Colours are a little muted and bland.

     MPEG artefacts are present in the form of some minor pixelization in amongst the film grain but this is for the most part camouflaged by the grain itself. I had actually mistaken it for film grain until I had a closer look, so it’s not really distracting. Aliasing isn’t a problem for no other reason than there isn’t enough fine detail in the image to cause it. There is also a moderate level of film artefacts scattered throughout the film but none of these are particularly bothersome. There is, however, one really ugly looking spot that caught my eye at 50:07 (frame 18). It only appears for a single frame and looks like a small drop of water or something.

     There are 12 sets of subtitles to choose from as listed above. The English stream very accurate with only a few missing words here and there.

     This is a single layered DVD. At 95 minutes with no extras, there is absolutely no need for RSDL formatting. The main file size is 3828 Mb.

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

Audio

     Following in the ‘adequate’ tradition of the video transfer, Men At Work is presented in surround encoded Dolby Digital 2.0 (complete with surround flagging) and has no major problems to speak of. There are also a few alternate languages to choose from which are listed above.

     Dialogue was perfectly audible with no apparent sync or other issues.

     The music is by Stewart Copeland and has that cheesy late 80’s quality to it which suits the movie to a tee.

     The surrounds are used rather extensively for music and ambience, particularly if you use Dolby Pro Logic II. However even with Pro Logic II there isn’t much in the way of stereo separation in the rears.

     The subwoofer is used so little that you could probably conserve a little electricity and turn it off.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented in 1.85:1 with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

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 misses out on:

     I am unsure whether the 1.33:1 version is a Pan & Scan or Open Matte presentation.

Summary

     Men At Work is a B-grade comedy all the way but it’s a good B-grade comedy.

     The video transfer is nothing spectacular but at least it is 16x9 enhanced.

     The audio is very good for Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround

     Extras = 1 x theatrical trailer. I wasn't expecting anything more.

     The chances of a Special Edition re-release of Men At Work are slim to none so best you go out and get it now. This is as good as you’re gonna get for a 14-year-old B-grade comedy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Hooft (My biography. Go on have a read...)
Monday, April 05, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-655A [SACD & DVD-A], using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe CT-1170 (66cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D1011, THX, 7.1, DTS-ES 96/24 & DD EX. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D1011, THX, 7.1, DTS-ES 96/24 & DD EX
SpeakersFront & Centre: Monitor Audio Bronze 2, Surrounds: Sony SS-SRX7S, Surround Back: Paramount Pictures Bookshelf Speakers

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