Turn It Up (2000)
Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Robert Adetuyi|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Vondie Curtis Hall
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
"Respect is something you earn"
What would you do to make a better life for yourself? What would you sacrifice? How far would you go? Do the ends justify the means? This is the dilemma facing Diamond (Pras Michel), a young man with a dream to make a name for himself as a rap artist and escape the drug underworld in which he has become involved. Of course, nothing is easy and getting out may cost him everything.
Diamond, along with his best friend, the fiercely loyal Gage (Ja Rule), make their money working for a local drug dealer who sends them to do his courier work and other deals. When Mr. B (the drug dealer) points out to Diamond that his future could be better and richer in the drug trade, Diamond really starts to plan his way out of the whole business and into the "legitimacy" of the music world. Diamond has been using all the money he earned in the drug trade at a recording studio making a demo tape to exhibit his talents, but soon the cash runs out. Gage takes matters into his own hands and soon money is no problem.
At the same time, Diamond's long lost father reappears on the scene after walking out on him and his mother 12 years before. He seems interested in rekindling the father/son relationship both missed out on, but Diamond is not so sure. Add to all this Diamond's girlfriend becoming pregnant and his mother falling ill. Then Gage tells Diamond the truth about the money for the recording studio - if it doesn't get repaid, someone will pay the hard way.
This film had been on the cards for a fair while. Pras Michel (or just Pras as he may wish to be called now) flagged this as Ghetto Superstar (taken from the title of one of his songs) early on and it was the working title for the film. Soon, as production got under way, the title was changed to In the Mix. In the end, it became Turn It Up as we have it now. It seems that a lot of things must have fallen by the wayside between the initial concept for this film and the end result because there appears to be a fair amount of potential that for some reason or other just never eventuates. For starters, Pras should not have taken on the role of Diamond. I know that he had a major role in the genesis of this film, but it may have been better if he had relegated himself to a secondary role on-screen or even remained off-screen altogether and just co-produced the film. An established or more accomplished actor may have done the role justice and given the film a little more credibility. Pras seemed to be a bit raw in the role of Diamond, and while raw can have its advantages in some features, this did not seem to be the case here. A case where raw can be an advantage is seen in the performance of Ja Rule as Gage. Ja Rule has a smouldering screen presence that really stands out and we may find him going the way of other actor/rappers such as Ice T, Ice Cube or LL Cool J (is it chilly in here?).
There are also some storyline issues I had with this title. For starters, we never get to see any background information on the main characters, so it is very hard to identify with them or sympathize with them. They are just on the screen as their characters, rolling right along. Halfway through, Diamond's mother dies (this is no spoiler as it is described on the back of the DVD's cover) and I found it hard to feel anything for her character because we had only seen her once before in the film for a very short time. Maybe there was more to her character originally, but it seems that the only reason for her role and fate is to bring the long lost father into the picture. The same goes for Diamond's girlfriend. She is just there with no development or history. Then there is Diamond's father. Okay, so he was a drunk when Diamond was young and he walked out on both him and his mother. That I can buy. But when he comes back at mom's funeral, he is a changed man. Too changed. The guy is out of work and without a place to stay, yet he has accumulated the wisdom of Solomon during his 12 years out of Diamond's life?! There is a scene in the film where Cliff (Vondie Curtis Hall) takes Diamond to a music college to hear the sound of a real piano. He can just walk into the American College of Music recital hall and play a grand piano unchallenged? The guy never puts a foot wrong. He reeks of the perfect dad and he shouldn't. The lack of any real human flaws make his character unbelievable as the deadbeat (albeit reformed) father that he is supposed to be.
As is normally the case with New Line/Roadshow DVDs, the transfer is of a fairly high standard. A razor sharp image is presented here and many a studio could learn a thing or two from Roadshow's example.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video transfer, as stated earlier, is very clean and is of very high quality. There are no real issues with focus or clarity and the sharpness of the image is always quite good. There are many night shots throughout this movie, and the shadow detail in these darker scenes is of no concern as detail remains at a high level throughout. There are no issues with low level noise.
Despite the many night scenes, the transfer is still fairly colourful. The sharpness of the video transfer is matched by the vibrancy and fine quality of the colour. There was no colour bleeding nor colour noise problems to be found here, making for a lovely image to watch.
The MPEG compression here is very good and there are no MPEG artefacts in evidence. There is a scene in this movie that features a chain mesh fence which could have been an aliasing nightmare at 24:50, but this disc handles it very well and for the duration of this feature aliasing is not an issue. Film artefacts are seldom seen on this disc with only the occasional nick and scratch showing.
A single English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle track is present, and while not totally word for word, is accurate enough to convey the general atmosphere and dialogue of the film.
The audio transfer on this disc is very good with all 5.1 channels being put to accurate use.
There is only one audio track on this disc being the original English 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack.
Dialogue clarity is fine throughout this picture with the only problem being the characters' sometimes heavy accents that a couple of times had me rewinding to understand what they were saying. This was not so much an audio transfer problem as a language problem and for the most part the dialogue of the characters was quite understandable.
Audio sync was not a problem during this feature.
The music for this movie is a mixture of both traditional film score orchestration and rap and hip-hop music. Despite what can happen to some modern soundtracks using current music, the soundtrack did not become bombastic and overactive with both the modern and traditional music being appropriately placed in the background and foreground as required by the film. Most of the time, the rap/hip-hop music was playing in the film where the scene was taking place, while the traditional orchestral score was used to emphasize the tense and emotional parts of the movie. Frank Fitzpatrick's score does a good job in conveying mood and emotion with string-oriented orchestrations. It is no surprise to find that original compositions from Pras and Ja Rule feature throughout the film.
The surround channels are used regularly throughout this movie in mostly an atmospheric role. While not drawing attention to themselves overtly, they do get a bit more active at 10:40 and 28:20, but not to a distracting extent.
|Surround Channel Use|
The disc we have here is a bare bones package with little more than the movie on offer.
The main menu features the cover art as a wallpaper with its limited choices laid out for easy use. Orchestral soundtrack music plays in the background and loops about every 50 seconds. The menus are 16x9 enhanced. The three choices on the main menu are: Play Movie, Scene Selections, and Theatrical Trailer. The English subtitles for the Hearing Impaired On/Off selection is located on the bottom of the main menu page. The scene selection pages feature 3 scenes per page in static frames with the chapter titles listed at the bottom of the page.
Our one real extra for the disc is a 1:04 long trailer. I would question whether this is in fact the theatrical trailer as it is so short. It is presented at 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced and with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
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:
Full frame version
DVD-ROM content being: Script to Screen screenplay and Original Website
The Region 1 disc misses out on:
Turn It Up probably could have been so much more, but sadly, we can only judge what we have presented here, and it isn't much. An underdeveloped storyline and characters with some average and below average performances are the order of the day here. Thankfully, the film is fairly short at 83:14, so we do not have to endure it for too long. I did look forward to this title and was saddened that it was such a letdown. Next time I'm in the mood for a good Urban Struggle movie, I'll watch Fresh, Boaz Yakin's directorial debut, a classic of the genre. Unfortunately, this film isn't.
|DVD||Panasonic A300-MU, using S-Video output|
|Display||Hitachi CP-L750W LCD Projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||VAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)|