Two of a Kind (1983)
|Year Of Production||1983|
|Running Time||84:04 (Case: 88)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (55:58)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||John Herzfeld|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during credits|
Two Of A Kind was an attempt to recreate the successful pairing of John Travolta and the beautiful Olivia Newton-John from Grease. By some accounts the pair reviewed over thirty scripts before deciding upon this one as the vehicle for the resurrection of their partnership. If that is true, I would hate to think how cruddy some of those thirty scripts must have been, for the final selection was pretty bad.
The consolation is I suppose that whilst this is pretty bad, it is not in the Internet Movie Database's 100 Worst Films of All Time, which makes it better than John Travolta's appalling Battlefield Earth. But then that consolation is quite minor for I doubt that too many films could best the degrees of ineptness that this film can. With acting so stilted across the entire cast that many a broomstick could do better, a feature film debut director who obviously had no clue whatsoever about directing a feature film, a screenplay that drips so many corny clichés, lousy dialogue and sheer cringe inducing, mind numbingly poor characterisations, there is bugger all worthwhile about this film.
Other than, of course, it features Olivia Newton-John - who as an actress makes a darn good singer. Still, she manages to upstage John Travolta - although given the general lack of serious quality in his long career that is hardly saying that much.
And don't even get me started on how aged this looks - this is slap bang 1980s stuff that goes a long way to demonstrating just how bad the 1980s were at times.
The basic story never really held much promise anyway. Incompetent inventor Zack (John Travolta) obviously has some problems with the local loan shark Stuart (Richard Bright), to the tune of $13,000 - all due for payment now. With no other choice, our incompetent (insert appropriate noun here, with dipstick coming to mind readily) decides to rob a local bank. With lousy disguise in place, he picks the window of teller Debbie Wylder (Olivia Newton-John) who promptly flirts with him before doing a big switcheroo that really upsets Zack no end. This unfortunate event happens to take place as God, having just finished a twenty odd year holiday, is having serious problems with the human race and thinking of starting over. This does not go down well with some of his angels - Charlie (Charles Durning), Ruth (Beatrice Straight), Earl (Scatman Crothers) and Gonzales (Castulo Guerra) - who make a rather rash bet to prove that good still does exist somewhere on Earth. The object of that bet is of course Zack and the bet is; in order to save the Earth from being wiped and everything started all over, that he has to perform some miracle - like actually doing something for someone else as opposed to looking after number one. If that was not bad enough, naturally the devil sticks his oar into proceedings, this time disguised as Beasley (Oliver Reed). Anyways, with interruptions galore from Beasley and the Angels, Zack heads off to exact retribution from Debbie, whereupon the inevitable sparks start to fly.
It really is a pretty poor story but what takes it down to the depths of the local sewers is some really idiotic artistic decisions, like the angels and Beasley playing fast forward/fast rewind with proceedings. Are you starting to get the idea how bad this truly is? Well, it is worse than you imagine.
I only stuck my hand up to review this as it features the lovely Olivia Newton-John, but even that hardly warrants the excruciating manure that you have to endure. Everything about this film stinks and there is little if anything in the way of redeeming features. Fox Home Entertainment have to be kidding if they think we should fork out $25 to buy this rubbish. This is seriously low budget stuff that warrants no more than $10, and even then I would be expecting something better in the way of the package. But then again it does feature the wonderful Olivia Newton-John.
The transfer is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced. That is the good news.
The bad news is that this is a decidedly average looking transfer that looks rather tired. Sharpness is strongly towards the soft end of the scale, with commensurate tendencies towards a lack of detail. There is clear evidence of grain at times just to compound the lack of clarity and sharpness. Shadow detail is also rather average. I don't recall there being any low level noise, which is a blessing.
The colours are quite flat looking at times, and even at their best are hardly the brightest and most vibrant you will ever see - which given some of the atrocious 1980s fashions on display might well be a good thing. At least there seemed to be some consistency in the colours, which of course showed no evidence of oversaturation - other than in the heaven sequences where the lighting and whatever else gives a shiny metallic look that is not at all pleasant to look at.
There does not seem to be anything significant in the way of MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts seem to be confined to some modest and infrequent aliasing and a bit of moiré artefacting such as at 54:34 in the buildings. There are a few film artefacts floating around - as we would expect in a twenty year old, low budget, unrestored film - but the main problem is the film dirt that gives the image a dirty window look that does it no good at all.
This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change occurring at 55:58. Ii was not noted during playback so cannot be that bad.
There are a bunch of subtitle options on the disc, but regrettably the only English efforts are of the Hearing Impaired nature. They are reasonable enough but seem to miss chunks dialogue at times whilst letting us know what Olivia Newton-John song is playing in the background...
There are six soundtracks on the DVD, all being Dolby Digital 2.0 efforts: the language choices are English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. Being only a partial masochist, I listened only to the English soundtrack.
Unfortunately, the soundtrack is rather average with the result that the dialogue at times is very easy to hear and understand and at other times is rather difficult to hear and understand. It is certainly one of those times that the subtitles do come in quite useful. There seems to be some slightly sloppy ADR work at times, but otherwise there appears to be nothing much in the way of audio sync issues.
The pitiful amount of original score comes from Patrick Williams, and instantly forgettable it is too. But then again, that would be in keeping with the rest of the film. The only good stuff here are the songs, and even then some of those would hardly rank as amongst the best that the delightful Olivia Newton-John has ever sung.
The soundtrack really is very average in every way. In addition to the dialogue variability, the songs come in either soft or loud. The soundtrack is not exactly the clearest ever heard and congestion is quite obvious at times. There are some hints at background hiss here and there too, which really does not help things much.
|Surround Channel Use|
You have to be joking...
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 release was issued a little way back and in comparison the Region 4 release is missing:
On the other hand, the Region 1 release misses out on:
Frankly there is nothing there that would really enthuse me either way, although the suggested price of the Region 1 is $9.99 (or around AUD 13.00), which is a far more sensible pricing point for this film than the Region 4 recommended price. On the balance though, the Region 1 gets the nod for a cheaper price, at least some attempt at an extras package and two versions of the film.
The only other review I have found is for a Region 2 (French) release which, barring the fact that my French is exceedingly rusty, seems to be double sided and offers an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and Dolby Digital 1.0 soundtracks in French, Italian, German and Spanish - and nothing else. Since I don't think that a double sided presentation of this film is really warranted, the Region 2 (French) release is not a better option at all.
Well, if you are still reading this far, you have got to be as big a fan of either of the two leads as I am of Olivia Newton-John. That, however, still makes it difficult to recommend this load of rubbish. Poorly acted, badly scripted, poorly directed, and all with average sound and below average video. Add to that the suggested price point - about twelve bucks more than could be reasonably justified by what we get on the DVD - and this is even something that hard core fans would have to have second thoughts about buying. At the price, you would be better off buying the CD of the soundtrack which is currently available for under $10 at JB Hi-Fi - you will not miss much in the way of the film and the music is a heck of a lot better sounding, plus you save yourself $15 to spend on something much better in the way of a film.
|DVD||Denon DVD-1600, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|