Chris Rock-Never Scared (2004)
|Category||Comedy||Additional Footage-Chris Rock: Big Ass Jokes|
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (35:56)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Joel Gallen|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Chris Rock, one of America's funniest comedians, returns in his fourth HBO special. Here Rock performs another outstanding stand-up comedy routine, which covers a range of issues, from the Michael Jackson trial to problems with marriage and modern relationships.
As I noted in my review of Bigger and Blacker, Rock was born in South Carolina in 1965 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. As a naturally funny young man, Rock found himself performing as a stand-up comedian in his late teens, when he met Eddy Murphy. Murphy was suitably impressed, and provided Rock with a small role in Beverly Hills Cop II and some contacts. Rock's big break arrived when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live (as his mentor Murphy had done before him).
Apart from SNL, Rock made a number of appearances on other television shows, and also scored small roles in Doctor Dolittle and Lethal Weapon 4. But as I wrote in my review of Down To Earth, "Chris Rock is a great comedian, but he is no actor!" Rock earned his own show on HBO, and has performed in four specials for them, which includes this one. As a three-time Emmy Award-winner, Rock's stature as one of America's leading comedians was confirmed when he hosted the 77th Academy awards in February 2005.
I imagine the title of his show, Never Scared, relates to the fact that Rock seems to pride himself on being a fearless comedian, able to tackle any subject. He is certainly willing to critique and attack both white and black American culture. With his irreverent style, in this DVD Rock hilariously covers a variety of topics, including some current celebrities, George Bush and the War on Iraq, the Michael Jackson trial, prostitution, drugs, gay marriage, modern relationships and the problems with marriage.
Recorded at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington D.C. last year, Rock's style never varies. He paces the stage back and forth like a caged beast. He doesn't tell any stories, and he never picks on the audience, two of the standards for most stand-up comedians. With a mixture of observational comedy and cultural insight Rock instead rants, with mock outrage, at a number of life's serious and not-so-serious issues.
The transfer is fine for the content, and resembles recently broadcast television, but I would have preferred a widescreen image. The content is only a year old after all.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. I assume that it's full frame.
Overall, the sharpness and black level are fine. Due to the concert lighting the shadow detail suffers, as seen with the shot of the crowd at 23:14.
The colour is also heavily influenced by the concert-style lighting, and is fine for the production.
Fortunately there are no problems with MPEG, film-to-video, or film artefacts.
English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles are present and accurate. This is a single-sided, dual-layered disc, with the layer change at 35:56.
There is only one audio option on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.0 (384Kb/s).
The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine, although Rock does speak very quickly at times.
There is no musical score per se, but there are a few tunes at the beginning and end of the production by NAS and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
For a stand up comedy DVD, I was surprised by the provision of a 5.0 surround mix, but it works well. The rears are used throughout for ambience, such as the crowd laughing and clapping. It adds a lot to the production as it makes viewing the show more immersive and involving. The lack of a LFE track is not missed, as almost everything you hear is either Rock talking or the crowd laughing.
|Surround Channel Use|
There is one decent and genuine extra.
Static and silent menu.
Additional Footage-Chris Rock: Big Ass Jokes (26:59)
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, this is Rock's first HBO solo spot and was taken from the HBO Comedy Half-Hour. While some of the topics for the material are a bit dated, it's still pretty funny and enjoyable. A worthy addition and a genuine extra.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This title has been released on DVD in Region 1, and apart from the R1 edition also having the option of a stereo track, it is the same as ours (ignoring the NTSC/PAL difference).
Never Scared is an excellent DVD for Chris Rock fans, or those who like stand up comedy in general
The video quality is acceptable, but should have been presented in widescreen.
The audio quality is good.
The extras are slim, but genuine.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|