Slap Shot (1977)

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Released 13-Dec-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Puck Talk with The Hansons
Trailer-Skulls 2; Tremors 3: Back To Perfection; Slap Shot 2
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 117:52
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By George Roy Hill
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Paul Newman
Strother Martin
Michael Ontkean
Case ?
RPI $17.50 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Arabic
Czech
Greek
Hungarian
Turkish
Romanian
English Audio Commentary
Arabic Audio Commentary
Czech Audio Commentary
Greek Audio Commentary
Hungarian Audio Commentary
Turkish Audio Commentary
Romanian Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    "I went to a fight and a hockey match broke out..."

    I have two distinct memories relating to the title Slap Shot - one is of the Commodore 64 game in which one could beat up the opposition players, and the other is of a brief scene from the film. All I can recall of the film is images of hockey players punching one another, which fits in well with the theme of the film, but there is more to the film that mere sports violence. Nonetheless, it made quite an impression upon me as a boy, and while you can take the boy out of Parramatta, you certainly cannot take the Parramatta out of the boy, or so the saying goes.

    In any case, the action in Slap Shot concerns itself with a hockey team called the Charlestown Chiefs. The town around them is dying, mostly because the local steel mill has been closed. The team's track record cannot get any worse, and the manager (played with aplomb by Strother Martin) is a cheapskate. Reggie (Paul Newman), the coach, is at odds with this manager, and he is less than impressed when said manager brings in three thugs to join the team - Jeff Hanson (Jeff Carlson), Steve Hanson (Steve Carlson), and Jack Hanson (David Hanson). At first, Reggie is reluctant to put the Hanson brothers on the ice, preferring the old school of hockey playing, but when they do get some rink time, their violent methods become a big hit with the crowds.

    As the team tours America, and legend of the Hanson brothers grows among the crowds, the antics of the players get more and more offensive until the police come calling, and Reggie sits down for a chat with the actual owner of the team. As the team gets closer and closer to the play-offs, everyone learns things that make them change their mind about how the game is played, and what they are going to do when the season is over. Naturally, the happy Hollywood ending is present and accounted for (no surprises there), but it's what happens in between that makes all the difference.

    One thing worth mentioning is that the men playing the Hanson brothers were actual hockey professionals at the time the film was made, and they apparently also served to coach the more "serious" actors in how to play the game. It shows in the finished product - I would never have imagined Paul Newman playing hockey, but he does an excellent job of faking the style of a professional. Only the fact that Jeff Carlson, Steve Carlson, and David Hanson appear to move much more freely around the ice than their teammates gives away the difference in skills. If you have seen Major League and enjoyed it, then I recommend giving Slap Shot a try, and if you haven't seen such hilarious sports comedies before, then this is a great place to start.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    For a twenty-five year old film, this is looking quite good.

    The transfer is presented as it should be - in the theatrical ratio of 1.85:1, complete with enhancement to take advantage of display units that can handle a 16x9 signal in some manner.

    The transfer is very sharp, in that one can see all the little patches of blood in uniforms or nicks in the ice surface. It still looks twenty-five years old, but the picture shows every sign that someone has been taking care of the negatives. The shadow detail is pretty average, with the night-time scenes outside the arenas or inside pubs having murky, indistinct backgrounds. Thankfully, there is no low-level noise to make matters worse.

    The colours are well-rendered by this transfer. The overall scheme of colour in the film is probably what dates it the most, with furniture and the rather practical furnishings on the bus letting everyone know that this is a film from the late 1970s. There are no composite artefacts in the transfer.

    MPEG artefacts are not apparent in this transfer. Film-to-video artefacts are remarkably well-contained, with only a few instances of aliasing on car parts, and on a card table at 56:52. Film artefacts consisted of a few handfuls of white marks every few minutes, which is pretty good considering the age of the film.

    There are English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles available on this DVD, which contain very small, minor variations from the spoken dialogue.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change taking place at 69:20, after M. Emmet Walsh says "I was trying to capture the spirit of the thing". It is a fairly obvious layer change, but acceptably placed.

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

Audio

    I strongly feel that a twenty-five year old film that is as well-regarded and prophetic as Slap Shot deserves a 5.1 remix in order to make the film seem that little bit more immersive. Alas, we do not get this kind of remix at this time, with only a Stereo soundtrack to show for it. The film was presented theatrically with Optical Monaural sound, so this is not too big a disappointment.

    There are two soundtracks on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 kilobits per second, and an English Audio Commentary, also in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192 kilobits per second.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. I did not detect any problems with the audio sync.

    The music can be divided into two parts - a group of contemporary songs that badly date the film, although they do suit the story quite well, and some marching band themes. Neither are particularly important amidst the wave of brawls, but they do punctuate the film nicely.

    The surround channels are not used in this soundtrack, which is a shame considering the number of opportunities the film presented for ambient audience sounds.

    The subwoofer was not used in this soundtrack either, which is also a shame considering how it would have helped the fight scenes.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static, accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, and 16x9 Enhanced.

Audio Commentary - Jeff Carlson (Actor), Steve Carlson (Actor), and David Hanson (Actor)

    This Dolby Digital 2.0 audio commentary features the men who played the most interesting characters in the film - the Hanson brothers. No, I don't mean those Hanson brothers, although I would pay good money to see them on a rink with these Hanson brothers. Jeff, Steve, and David talk about the making of the film and some of the finer technical points of the game in a manner that manages to educate and entertain at the same time.

Featurette - Puck Talk With The Hansons

    This four minute and fifty-seven second featurette is basically an interview with the three actors who played the Hansons, in which more insights into the making of the film are shared. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Trailers

    All of these trailers are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, unless otherwise noted, with Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 and Region 1 versions of this DVD appear to be pretty identical. The Region 1 version does not feature trailers for Skulls 2, Tremors 3, or Slap Shot 2. From the description I have read on Widescreen Review, it appears that we are getting a substantially better transfer, anyway.

Summary

    Slap Shot may well be dated, but it is one of the funniest films about sport that one can ever find. In a way, it can be considered the forebear of films like Major League, and while much of the humour is specific to the sport featured, there are a lot of jokes that everyone will find amusing. Although the violence seems tame by modern standards, it is still as funny as hell, and well worth a look.

    The video transfer is very good.

    The audio transfer is decent.

    The extras are short on quantity, but long on quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Saturday, August 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

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