Ready to Rumble (2000)
|Category||Comedy||Featurette-Up Close With The Nitro Girls|
|Year Of Production||2000|
|Running Time||102:00 (Case: 100)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (44:50)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Brian Robbins|
Warner Home Video
George S. Clinton
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Bloopers over the credits.|
In the 1990s, the face of professional wrestling in the US changed drastically. The entry into the marketplace of WCW as a competitor to the WWF (now WWE) started what were known as the "Monday Night Wars". Whereas TV had previously been seen as a medium used to advertise live shows and pay-per-view - shows consisted of second-tier matches and walkovers by wrestlers that were being built up - the direct competition of WWF's Raw is War and WCW's Monday Nitro prompted both promotions to start staging top-level matches every week on cable TV, with more detailed storylines and better writing and production values.
Additionally, since the WWF's 1994 steroid trial and with the rise of wrestling internet newsgroups, the 'kayfabe' - the refusal to admit that wrestling was other than a straightforward athletic competition - started to break down and the soap operatic side of the business came closer to the surface.
In 2000, the Monday Night Wars were effectively over. After a few years on top, WCW's ratings had plummeted and its owners were on the verge of selling the promotion to its greatest competitor. Nevertheless, it was at this time that Ready to Rumble was produced as 'the WCW movie' - with a storyline based around a WCW champion and with WCW personalities playing themselves in bit parts throughout the film. It's easy to see the movie as an extended advertisement for WCW. Hell, it is an extended advertisement for WCW. But there's also a lot of mindless fun to be had along the way.
David Arquette and Scott Caan play a couple of serious wrestling fans from small-town Wyoming who don't understand the fact that professional wrestling is a collaborative entertainment form, and when their favourite wrestler Jimmy King (played by Oliver Platt in an outfit that's straight out of a 1980s wrestling ring, and who lacks both the physique and grace to be taken seriously as a wrestler in a top-level promotion, let alone a champion) is betrayed out of his title and a job by promoter Titus Sinclair (Joe Pantoliano who appears to be having a great time), they set out to encourage King to shape up and take back his championship.
While the movie isn't as funny as it seemed to think it was - although Platt as champion may have been the biggest laugh of the flick, WCW upped the ante by giving Arquette their actual title shortly before the movie's release, confirming in the minds of many that the promotion had gone completely off the rails - it's a happy little way to pass 102 minutes without having to think too hard. Actually, it's really better if you don't think about it - there are plot holes that you could push an airbus through sideways. It may not have enough wrestling action to satisfy its core audience of professional wrestling fans, and it may have a few too many in-references to appeal to those who aren't really fond of the 'sport', but as entertainment it's certainly enjoyable froth.
The transfer is actually substantially better than it deserves to be, but the aspect differs marginally from the original aspect ratio.
This film is presented in a 1.78:1 ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced. Note, however, that the extra featurettes are in a 1.33:1 ratio and your display may need to be adjusted manually to watch them in their intended ratio.
There was no grain visible throughout the movie, and the picture was sharp, if enhanced (see below).
Colours were appropriately saturated and contrast levels were well balanced.
There was some element of edge enhancement present, but it was not sufficient to cause too much distraction, even on a reasonably large screen.
There are two subtitle streams - identical except for the inclusion of identifiers and sound effects in the 'Hard of Hearing' stream. Both were missing only a handful of words, but had a tendency to fall a beat behind when there was a consistent stream of dialogue.
The RSDL change is at 44:50 and is ideally placed during the feature's only fade-to-black with no ongoing sound.
The sole audio track is in 5.1 Dolby Digital, encoded at 384 Kb/s.
The dialogue is well reproduced and is not obscured by background noise or effects - no mean feat. There are some unfortunate clicks and pops throughout the first 40 minutes of the feature, however - just on the edge of audibility.
The background music is relatively loud, but not obtrusive, and sounds convincingly realistic.
Effects have an irritating habit of switching entirely between the front and rear speakers, which is especially distracting during crowd scenes.
The subwoofer is used to add power to percussive effects, as well as to provide bass to incidental music, and sounds routed through it are surprisingly crisp.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 disc misses out on a 5.1 French language track, French subtitles and a commentary by two of the three main actors and a bit player. The Region 1 track also includes a music video for We're Not Gonna Take It by Bif Naked, a featurette called No Holds Barred and a "wrestlers interview gallery". The Region 1 disc misses out on the "English for the Hard of Hearing" subtitle stream, but does have the other English subtitle track.
Ready to Rumble is rightly decried as a movie that's pointless, unbelievable and poorly made. On the other hand, it's also mindless fun, and not a bad waste of time. It's only one to add to your collection if you're an obsessive wrestling collector, but it's worthwhile as a beer-and-pizza rental.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-86PW300A. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-512.|
|Speakers||Wharfedale Diamond 8.3 fronts, Wharfedale Diamond 8.2 rears, Wharfedale Diamond 8 centre, Wharfedale 12" sub|