Welcome to the Jungle (The Rundown): Collector's Edition (2003)

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Released 13-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Director And Cast
Audio Commentary-Producer
Featurette-Making Of-Rumble In The Jungle
Featurette-The Amazon, Hawaii Style
Featurette-Appetite For Destruction
Featurette-The Rundown Uncensored : A Rock-umentary
Featurette-Running Down The Town
Featurette-Walken's World
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Big Fish, Hollywood Homicide, S.W.A.T.,
Trailer-Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 99:59
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Peter Berg
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring The Rock
Seann William Scott
Rosario Dawson
Christopher Walken
Ewen Bremner
Jon Gries
William Lucking
Ernie Reyes Jr.
Stuart F. Wilson
Dennis Keiffer
Garrett Warren
Toby Holguin
Paul Power
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Toby Chu
Harry Gregson-Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hindi
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Romanian
Serbian
Slovenian
Swedish
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The action comedy genre is one that has not been particularly popular of late. With the heyday of the late-80's buddy pics now a distant memory, it has largely been left up to Jackie Chan in "Hollywood" mode, and remakes of 70's TV shows, to provide the modern genre examples. It is therefore all the more surprising that one of the best instances of this genre would show up now, featuring a former pro-wrestler partnered with a champion of low-brow comedy. Welcome To The Jungle is an excellent, tongue-in-cheek action/comedy that has a great sense of fun and simply refuses to take itself seriously - and after a swathe of "thinking" action films, it is a relief to be able to sit down and simply enjoy one.

    Starting with a bang, we meet "retrieval expert" Beck (Dwayne Johnson, although credited here as The Rock) going about his business - in this case retrieving a gambling debt from a pro-football (or Gridiron to the rest of us) quarter-back surrounded by his entire offensive line (a.k.a. lots of big men). Poor old Beck is unfortunately none too happy with his job however, and would much rather start his own restaurant. When he tells this to the mob boss he works for, he is offered one job to clear his debt - to retrieve the boss' son from a Brazilian jungle town. So Beck finds himself buried in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, in a mining town run by the somewhat deranged Cornelius Hatcher (a scene-stealing Christopher Walken), attempting to bring a reluctant Travis Walker (Seann William Scott) back to LA. Things take a turn for the worse when Hatcher gets wind that Travis has found an artefact of great value, and decides to make life difficult for Beck. Throw in a rebel faction fighting Hatcher from the dark recesses of the Amazon forest, and the beautiful barmaid Mariana (Rosario Dawson), and plenty of jungle adventure is the result.

    The best thing about this movie are the performances. From The Rock on down, the entire cast is firing at 110%. The banter between The Rock and Seann William Scott is often amusing and even hilarious at times, while Rosario Dawson plays a somewhat difficult part extremely well indeed (that is, aside from her ever fluctuating accent). It will surprise many just how relaxed and natural The Rock's performance is - after all it is fair to say that wrestlers-turned-actors have not exactly set a very high bar for acting. Based on this performance however, The Rock certainly has a future for action and even comedy (he demonstrates pitch perfect timing, and is not afraid to make his character look silly just for laughs). Whether he can stretch to true drama is a question that only time will tell. The real acting highlights however come from two of the smaller roles. Ewen Bremner's part Scottish, part Irish, poetry quoting, bag-pipe playing jungle pilot is a scene stealer, and hilarious to watch. His extremely thick accent is barely understandable (and apparently completely not understandable to US test audiences - who loved the character even more because of it), his character eccentric, and his motivations non-existent, but he is still a joy to watch. Even better than Bremner however is Christopher Walken. The king of weird has the setting at maximum on the freakiness dial here, and is the stand-out character in the movie. In a performance reminiscent of Christopher Plummer's General Chang in Star Trek VI, Walken delivers some of the best speeches and monologues to grace the silver screen. His diatribes on the Tooth Fairy, and "Where you see Hell...I see a driving sense of purpose..." are both extremely funny and very scary at the same time.

    So this film delivers in the performance stakes, but what about the action? It is after all an action film. Well, fortunately, that is very good too. Choreographed by Jackie Chan's long time collaborator Andy Chang, the fights are many and varied. As the Beck character has a reluctance to use guns, there is very little gun-play here (aside from the film's finale), and that leads to many different kinds of fights. The opening sequence in the club against the football team is a spectacular set piece that relies on simple brute force. The numerous showdowns against Hatcher's guards all play out in different ways, while the fight with the rather diminutive rebels is impressive for its sheer speed. All are shot with great attention to detail and look stunning.

    Welcome To The Jungle may not provide a deep and meaningful viewing experience, but if all you are looking for is an hour and a half of laughs and action, then it will deliver in spades. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer provided for this film is very good. Although it does have a few small problems, it still looks great and is a pleasure to watch.

    Presented at the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is reasonably sharp, and provides a good amount of fine detail. While not as sharp as can possibly be, the trade off is that the transfer is very smooth, providing excellent transitions between areas of interest. Background grain is constantly high, although this would appear to be due to a high-grain film stock, and as such is an intended look, probably in an attempt to make the film a little "dirtier". Despite this, the grain never becomes particularly noticeable, and is always kept under control, which is an extremely good effort. Shadow detail is easily the worst aspect of the transfer. While it also appears to be the result of the film stock used, the drop-off from well delineated to black murk is much faster than usual for such a recent movie. Fortunately most of the action is very well lit, so this has little overall effect.

    Colours are excellent. There appears to be a tinting process used on some portions of the film to lend it a more otherworldly appearance, but it is quite subtle. Aside from when that is applied, the greens of the jungle are luxurious, and the highlights of colour in the Brazilian village vibrant.

    There are no compression or film artefacts in this transfer at all. Aliasing is also virtually non-existent, most likely due to the slightly soft nature of the transfer. There are a few instances that are a little distracting, such as the wooden roofing material behind Christopher Walken's head at 71:48, and on the corrugated iron roof at 74:00, but that is about it.

    The subtitles are reasonably accurate, only abbreviating from time to time, and not affecting the comedy of the dialogue. They are well paced, and easy to read.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 67:42 between Chapters 19 and 20. It is well placed, not affecting any audio, and is very difficult to spot.

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

Audio

    This is an excellent audio transfer, really making use of the surround sound format.

    There are five audio tracks present on this disc. The first three are the original English dialogue, and dubs in Czech and Hungarian, all presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps). The other two tracks are both English audio commentary tracks, presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (at 192 Kbps).

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, with one caveat - Ewen Bremner's dialogue is in a very thick Scottish accent, and may trouble those who have difficulty with accents (although not to despair - not much he says is important, it is more the way he says it). Audio sync is spot on throughout the transfer and is never a problem.

    With a couple of notable exceptions (the Johnny Cash song Don't Take Your Guns To Town the most obvious example), virtually all the music in this film is score music, provided by Harry Gregson-Williams, and it provides excellent musical backing. In fact, the producers thought so much of the score that a number of contemporary pieces were pulled from the film to make way for more. Utilising a mix of modern and classical instrumentation and style, Gregson-Williams provides an accompaniment that elevates the action sequences, and maintains the humour. An excellent score that is worth a listen on its own.

    Surround activity is the most impressive aspect of this audio transfer. During their commentary track, the producers note director Peter Berg's love of sound detail, and it shows, as this transfer provides some of the most active surround use in a film soundtrack I have heard. A major bonus is that the surround use does not simply die when the action scenes end, with plenty of ambient surround to fill the soundscape.

    The subwoofer will get a major workout with this film, as the various fights, explosions, and gunshots provide rumble after rumble. When the action quiets down, the score still has plenty of bass. This soundtrack is an excellent example of how the subwoofer can really enhance a movie soundtrack.

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

Extras

    This disc comes with an excellent collection of extras, that are well suited to the type of film that it is.

Menu

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced, static (although with animated intro and transitions), themed around the movie, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Audio Commentary - Peter Berg (Director), The Rock (Actor)

    The two audio commentaries are the big-ticket extras on this disc. The first commentary is between director Peter Berg and leading man Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock. The two banter for the entire length of the film, although they do still leave a few considerable gaps, especially as they tend to just let Christopher Walken's monologues play out. The "jokey" nature of the track means that much of what they say is a complete waste of time (and the entire first 20-odd minutes is essentially a write-off), but they can be amusing at times. Unfortunately, the content of this commentary is neither particularly interesting or worthwhile, and is really only worth listening to for die-hard fans of The Rock.

Audio Commentary - Marc Abraham, Kevin Misher (Producers)

    This is a better quality track than the one between director and star, although it is still not great. The two do talk almost continuously about the troubles they went through to get the film made, but the slight difficulties of a production made purely for entertainment purposes do not really compare to a discussion on artistic intent, and as such is not particularly compelling.

Featurette - Rumble In The Jungle (10:33)

    This is the first of six featurettes, and is the longest of them all. It is a general "making-of" featurette, but is still worth while watching, with plenty of behind-the-scenes footage, and a decent discussion on why The Rock makes a good action hero. It also kicks off the "insultathon" between The Rock and Seann William Scott which is a theme of all these featurettes (and quite an amusing one). Amusing, and worth watching, this featurette is presented at 1.33:1, is not 16x9 enhanced, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette - The Amazon, Hawaii Style (5:28)

    This featurette looks at how the production used the Hawaiian rainforest to double for Brazilian jungle. It also covers the reason why Hawaii was used instead of actually shooting in Brazil. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette - Appetite for Destruction (8:21)

    This featurette looks at the production of the stunts in the film, particularly the major explosion, the water tower collapse, and the stampede. Worth watching, and presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette - The Rundown Uncensored: A Rock-umentary (6:09)

    So, what is The Rundown - well, actually, it is the US title for this movie (which had previously been known as Helldorado, and Call of the Wild during production). This featurette looks at the relationship The Rock had with simian co-star Kamila - a very sordid relationship apparently (and yes, it's a joke...I hope). Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette - Running Down the Town (4:10)

    This featurette is a tour of the "Brazilian" village, built just out of LA by production designer Thomas Duffield. It is an interesting look behind the scenes. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Featurette - Walken's World (5:34)

    How can you have Christopher Walken in an action comedy and not do a featurette about him? This is just about how everyone loved working with the enigmatic actor, and how they thought he lifted the movie to a new level (they'd be right about that too). Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Deleted Scenes (13:50)

    This section presents all the deleted scenes as a single reel (no chapter stops at individual scenes). There are no commentaries, and no introductions to explain why they were left out, although for the most part it is fairly obvious. The most impressive of these is the fight between Seann William Scott and Jon Gries in the wreckage of the water tower. Also worth a watch is an alternative farewell to Christopher Walken's character that is even funnier than the current one (although it makes less sense). Presented at 2.35:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Trailers

    This section contains trailers for the following films:     All trailers are presented at 1.85:1, and feature Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, except Big Fish, which features Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Easter Eggs (lots)

    Apparently the Region 1 version of this disc contains at least 14 Easter eggs. Our disc misses out on some (we have a slightly different menu structure), but contains at least five (there are probably more). Two Easter eggs are accessible from the main menu, both from the "Special Features" option, one by arrowing left three times, the other by arrowing up three times. Two more are available from the subtitles page by selecting "Main Menu", one simply by pressing up and the other by pressing left and up. Another one can be found from the second page of the bonus materials section, on the "Walken's World" selection arrow right twice, then back left once. There may well be more, and they are worth watching (covering topics such as visual effects, getting in shape, and even star signs), so have a look.

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 disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     There really is little to tell between these releases. Personally, I feel that having the theatrical trailer to the movie is preferable to a bunch of biography pages, but they are hardly reason enough to jump ship one way or another. I will call this even.

Summary

   Welcome To The Jungle is a fun action comedy that harkens back to the heyday of the genre in the late 80's. The Rock is great, Seann William Scott funny, and Christopher Walken inspired, and it all adds up to a great hour and a half of entertainment with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek.

    The video quality is very good, although the choice of high-grain film stock has caused a drop-off in the shadow detail.

    The audio quality is outstanding. This is one of the best modern DVD soundtracks I have heard.

    The extras package is surprisingly good for the type of film. Around forty minutes of featurettes, over ten minutes of deleted scenes, and two feature length audio commentaries make for a very worthwhile package.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-555K, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersRochester Audio Animato Series (2xSAF-02, SAC-02, 3xSAB-01) + 12" Sub (150WRMS)

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Comments (Add)
Pretty bad actually -
Is this uncut? - Gav REPLY POSTED
NICK: Working out PAL speedup? - Gav REPLY POSTED
Speedup - Gav REPLY POSTED
Re: PAL speedup amount - Mikey MTC REPLY POSTED
Speedup - Gav REPLY POSTED
Schwarzenegger - REPLY POSTED
Easter Eggs -