Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice (2002)
Trailer-The Skulls 2; Tremors 3: Back To Perfection; Slap Shot
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (55:36)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Stephen Boyum|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|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||No|
I was a bit dubious about there being a sequel to Slap Shot some twenty-five years later, especially considering that Paul Newman was nowhere to be found, and he had been replaced with Stephen Baldwin. Well, what I can say after viewing it is that not only is Slap Shot 2 very relevant today, it will continue to be so as long as there are people out there who want to sanitise and PG-ify our world.
Anyway, Slap Shot 2: Breaking The Ice starts off in Charlestown some twenty-five years after the events of the original. Most of the players who were in the original have not returned, as you'd expect, but the Hanson brothers (Steve Carlson, Jeff Carlson, and David Hanson) are still present. The team is now coached and led on the ice by Sean Linden (Stephen Baldwin), whose career was trashed when he missed what looks like an easy shot in a crucial game, and he has been dealing with allegations of match-fixing ever since. One evening, Martin Fox (David Hemmings) informs Sean that the team has been sold to a new league that is part of the Better America media group. At first, everyone is dubious about this, but the new owners are quick to sweeten the deal as much as they can in order to keep any dissent at its quietest.
However, all is not what it seems with the new Better America league, and when the players are handed scripts for the exhibition matches, dissent breaks out among the players like a rash. The owner, Richard Claremont (Gary Busey) is one very creepy Pat Robertson archetype who presumes that all Americans want a clean, family-friendly hockey game. The new coach, a woman with some fine hockey lineage by the name of Jessie Dage (Jessica Steen), is disgusted at the play acting, but Sean tries to calm the dissenters and get them to play along at every turn. He even goes so far as to try and desert the team before a match, in spite of the oh-so-clean-and-family-friendly team often being just as violent, if a little more subtle about it, as the Chiefs. The big question is whether the Chiefs will retain their dignity and show the people at Better America what a sporting match is really about.
That is where I will stop the plot synopsis, as the real fun is in the details. I will mention, however, that the shot in the final game where the Hanson brothers go onto the ice (which was used in the trailer) is pure magic. I am quite surprised that the IMDB rating for this film is a mere 4.1 out of ten, although I do concede that it is nowhere near the standard of the original Slap Shot. However, if you set your expectations aside and just watch for the sheer entertainment value, you will be very satisfied by the end of the film, even if the first half-hour is a little slow.
You will recall that while the original Slap Shot had a very good transfer, the source elements were somewhat limiting. Slap Shot 2 does not suffer this problem - the source elements were created this year, and it shows.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 Enhanced. This film went straight to video, which is a real pity considering how much fun the second half is, but this is definitely the correct ratio. Some of the scene compositions are so rooted in the 1.85:1 shape that it would look like a whole different film had it been "modified to fit your television".
This is a razor-sharp transfer, with all of the rich detail and clarity that one would expect from a DVD of a film that is less than a year old. The shadow detail is good, although not quite as great as some films of this vintage, and there is no low-level noise.
The colours are brightly saturated in this film, with reds, blues, and the white of the ice being superbly rendered. There are no composite artefacts or instances of colour bleeding.
MPEG artefacts were not found in this transfer, although a few shots had rather blurry backgrounds that almost had me worried until I realised they were probably shot this way on purpose. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some small instances of aliasing - the only two I found noteworthy were a mild shimmer on a food cart at 56:20, and a slightly jagged effect on the side of a bus at 79:25. There were also no noticeable film artefacts on display - this is one very clean source element that Universal have used. If all transfers could be this good, we reviewers would have to look elsewhere to fill time.
There are English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles available on this disc. I did not notice anything particularly great or bad about them.
This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change taking place partway through Chapter 9, at 55:36. This is just after the team are told to play their parts. While it is very noticeable, it beats some of the other places a layer change could be put - in the middle of a hockey match, for instance.
Slap Shot was limited to a stereo soundtrack that, while serving its purpose very well, did little to enhance the action. Slap Shot 2 suffers no such limits, but this is not the most active Dolby Digital 5.1 effort I've heard.
There is one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1, at 384 kilobits per second.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, and there are no problems with audio sync.
The music in this film consists of a lot of contemporary numbers, and a score by John Frizzell. This is one area where Slap Shot 2 scores over the original - I found the music in the original highly annoying (I don't think there is even any score music in it), while the music in this sequel really draws the viewer in, enhancing the excitement of the action. Top marks must go to this effort.
The surround channels are used moderately for crowd ambience, flying pucks, and passing cars. They are not worked too hard, but most of the action in the film doesn't really call for their use. There was one moment with a passing bus at 44:22 when I heard a nice directional effect, but all of the surround effects, split, directional, or otherwise, are rather subtle.
The subwoofer was used in moderation to support the sounds of hockey players crashing into one another. It adds a light floor to the soundtrack without calling attention to itself or being particularly outstanding.
|Surround Channel Use|
After sitting us through four trailers (which I will list later and are skippable), the menu is displayed in 16x9 with Linear PCM 48 kHz audio.
Presented at 1.33:1 with letterboxed 1.78:1 footage and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio, this thirteen minute and forty-three second featurette shows things such as how a lot of retired hockey players were called into action to make this film. It is okay, but an audio commentary would have been preferred.
This is a three minute and four second interview about working on Slap Shot 2 with the men who play both films' most enigmatic characters - the Hanson brothers. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound.
All of these trailers are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, unless otherwise noted, with Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 version misses out on;
I can live without production notes or biographies, but a DTS soundtrack leads me to declare the Region 1 version to be the marginal winner.
Slap Shot 2: Breaking The Ice is not a patch on the original, it's true, but comparing a film about sports violence made in 2002 to one that was made in 1977 is like comparing apples with oranges. However, this sequel does contain a very valid point about certain people's attempts to sanitise everything for an imaginary "family friendly" audience. It's also just damned good fun to see the Hanson brothers at their violent, goofy best.
The video transfer is excellent.
The audio transfer is very good.
The extras are a little limited.
|DVD||Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output|
|Display||Samsung 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-835|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|