Soul Men (2008)

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Released 12-May-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Deleted Scenes
Featurette
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 95:40
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (79:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Malcolm D. Lee
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Samuel L. Jackson
Bernie Mac
Sharon Leal
Adam Herschman
Sean Hayes
Affion Crockett
Case ?
RPI ? Music Stanley Clarke


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Bernie Mac Tribute

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

Plot Synopsis

    Louis Hinds (Samuel L. Jackson) and Floyd Henderson (Bernie Mac) made up two thirds of legendary Motown-esque soul trio "The Real Deal". After years of success in the late sixties and early seventies, the pair's fortunes took a sharp turn for the worst when their lead singer, Marcus Hooks (John Legend), went solo in the mid seventies. Throw a love triangle into the mix and the pair bitterly head their seperate ways for thirty years. Louis has spent most of that time behind bars. Floyd has spent most of that time running a sleazy car wash.

    Interest in "The Real Deal" picks up again after the on-stage death of Marcus Hooks. The promise of a healthy paycheque sees Hines and Henderson on the road together, making their way across the country to take part in a tribute at the Apollo Theater. Along the way the pair hook-up with the daughter of the woman who caused their rift, Cleo (Sharon Leal).

    Soul Men is a lot like Grumpy Old Men, with the the humour replaced by f-bombs and cheap d*** jokes. The film is sporadically very funny, but the bulk of the runtime is painfully lame and struggles to draw as much as a smirk. The story is formulaic and the narrative is choppy at best, no doubt in part due to the untimely death of Bernie Mac (who died shortly after the completion of principal photography). Isaac Hayes, who also died around the same time, also appears in a series of awkward cameo segments. As erratic as his career was, Bernie Mac deserved a greater swan song, just as paying viewers deserve a better movie than Soul Men.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Soul Men is presented in its original theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced

    The video looks pretty bad. The image is poorly focussed and features excessive edge enhancement (likely to try to cover up the soft picture). There is limited shadow depth in the image.

    The colour palette is terribly balanced. The colours are generally washed out and pale (so much so that clear blue skies look off-white), as well as having weak contrast.

    The video generally appears to be free of compression-related artefacts and film artefacts.

    This is a RSDL disc, featuring a noticeable layer change towards the start of a scene at 79:24

    A track of English subtitles for the hearing impaired are included. Based on the portion I sampled, they appear to be reasonably accurate and well timed.

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

Audio

    The film features regular English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) and Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio tracks as well as an English descriptive audio for the hearing impaired Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) track.

    The dialogue is clear and reasonably easy to understand throughout. Save for some obvious ADR work, there is no problem with audio sync.

    The film features an appropriate soul/funk score by Stanley Clarke and some decent songs for "The Real Deal" to boot.

    The film makes reasonable use of the surrounds, primarily for music. The subwoofer usage is limited and a bit muddy, however.

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

Extras

    The disc opens with an annoying anti-piracy commercial and three trailers, featuring poorly compressed video, which cannot be skipped. 6:33 of my life I want back. Actually, double that as I had to put this disc in the player twice to review this shambles.

Deleted Scenes

    Eight deleted scenes, each running around one minute in length, presented with no introduction or context. Several of these scenes feature off-colour gags that one can only guess were trimmed to make the film a bit more family-friendly.

Director Malcolm E. Lee Featurette (2:50)

    The cast and crew inexplicably fawn over the director in interview snippets. Skip it.

The Soul Men: Samuel L. Jackson & Bernie Mac Featurette (9:30)

    The cast and crew (somewhat more explicably) fawn over the stars in interview snippets. Worth a look for fans.

A Tribute To Isaac Hayes Featurette (4:03)

    The cast and crew explicably fawn over the Isaac Hayes in interview snippets, constantly beating us over the head with his wonderfulness. Sincere or not, this is pure filler.

The Cast of Soul Men Featurette (7:41)

    The cast and crew inexplicably fawn over the rest of the cast in interview snippets. Skip it.

A Tribute To Bernie Mac Featurette (7:26)

    The cast and crew explicably fawn over the Bernie Mac in interview snippets, as well as some overly serious snippets with Mac himself.

Bernie Mac at the Appollo Featurette (4:17)

    Some entertaining Bernie Mac stand-up as he warms up the audience of extras for the film's final scene, intercut with some unnecessary interview footage telling everybody how funny Mac is.

Boogie Ain't Nuttin' (But Getting Down) Featurette (2:31)

    A smattering of behind the scenes footage (mostly in an ADR studio), intercut with unnecessary interview footage featuring the director.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Save for the annoying forced trailers on the Region 4 edition, the content of the Region 1 and Region 4 editions is identical.

Summary

    A mediocre odd couple-style comedy.

    The video transfer is weak. The audio is basic, but adequate. The extras are reasonable in number, but all filler.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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