Rat Race (2001)

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Released 12-Nov-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes-6
Outtakes-Gag Reel
Interviews-Crew-Jerry Zucker (Director) & Andy Breckman (Writer)
Featurette-Jerry & Andy Call The Actors
Outtakes-The Giggles
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 107:30 (Case: 112)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (72:46) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jerry Zucker
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Rowan Atkinson
Lanai Chapman
John Cleese
Whoopi Goldberg
Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Seth Green
Wayne Knight
Jon Lovitz
Breckin Meyer
Kathy Najimy
Amy Smart
Dave Thomas
Vince Vieluf
Case ?
RPI $31.95 Music John Powell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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 Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Rat Race is, in essence, a remake of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The set-up is quite different, and the characters are very different, but the essential elements remain. This is an ensemble film about a number of people racing to be the first one to get to a specific place to find a large sum of money.

    Six people are in Las Vegas at a casino hotel. They are there for various reasons, but all six play the poker machines, and all six win a gold token which they are told entitles them to enter a contest. This contest is being run by the owner of the casino, Donald Sinclair (John Cleese). He has put two million dollars in a locker in a train station at Silver City, and given six copies of the key to the six finders of the gold tokens. These six people, and the people they start the race with are:

    They pick up a few other people along the way, including a helicopter pilot (Amy Smart) and an ambulance driver (Wayne Knight), and they have encounters with quite an assortment of people, including a bunch of Lucille Ball impersonators, some dykes on bikes, and neo-Nazis. There are some interesting cameos (watch for Kathy Bates as the squirrel lady). They use a wide variety of transport, increasing in desperation as the movie progresses.

    We follow the adventures of each of the six groups in their attempts to be the first to Silver City. Just as in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, they will stop at nothing, legal or illegal, to be the first to claim the money.

    This is an ensemble piece, with no single star. They have managed to assemble a cast filled with known comedians, and it shows. Most of these characters start off fairly normal, but as the frustration builds, they start to crack - each in their own way. They really needed these performers to pull this off.

    There's more to it than this, but I won't tell you what the twists are - you'll want to discover them for yourself.

    This film is not original, but it is rather fun. There are moments of gross-out comedy, but they are not bad. This is quite a diverting way to spend an hour and three quarters.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. I believe this to be the original aspect ratio - certainly the framing of the picture encourages that idea.

    The image is beautifully sharp and clear, with excellent shadow detail and no low-level noise.

    Colour is strong and well-saturated. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts.

    The sad news is that there is an absolute plethora of aliasing and moire artefacts. One of the worst is Duane Cody's straw hat - it shows plenty of aliasing, starting at 12:35. There's horrid moire at 47:09 of the back of the truck. These are only two examples. If you have a problem with aliasing or moire, avoid this disc. There's no shimmer, or other MPEG artefacts.

    There are subtitles in one language: English. These subtitles are easy to read, accurate, and well timed. I spotted one error (you know I love to do that!): at 75:15 Amy Smart says "...two quarts of sealant...", but the subtitle reads "...two coats of sealant..." - it's not as big an error as some I've spotted, I admit, but that just made it harder to spot!

    The disc is single-sided and RSDL formatted. The layer change is at 72:46, at a scene change. It's not particularly obvious, because the soundtrack is silent at the change.

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is provided in one language: English. It is Dolby Digital 5.1 and for once it really justifies the surround.

    The dialogue is clear - that's important for a comedy, even one with as much physical comedy as this one. There are no audio sync problems.

    John Powell's score is well-written. It draws upon all manner of sources, including some carefully chosen songs and even some familiar classical music (In the Hall of the Mountain King). It greatly enhances the movie.

    The subwoofer gets plenty of opportunity to shine and the surrounds are well-used, both for score and for ambient sounds. The soundtrack has been well designed and mixed. It's not a demo disc, but you'll be pleased you have rear speakers for this one.

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

Extras

    There are quite a few extras on this disc.

Menu

    The menus are animated with music - I'm not sure exactly how they have achieved it, but there seem to be different versions of the menus depending on what you've done. The only difference is the character standing next to the menus, so it took a little while for me to realise it, but it is quite clever.

Featurette - Making of (22:25)

    This is a fairly standard making of, but it's amusing enough to watch - probably worth watching once.

Deleted Scenes

    There are six deleted scenes, each introduced by the director:

Gag Reel (3:43)

    What you'd expect - a short collection of fluffed lines and face-making.

Interview (8:16)

    An interview with director Jerry Zucker and writer Andy Breckman. Worth watching.

Jerry and Andy call the actors

    Thirteen voice-only sections, with the director and writer calling the actors. I can't give you times on these, because they aren't time-coded.

Featurette - the giggles (5:06)

    One of the climactic moments wasn't too easy to film... Jerry Zucker introduces Seth Green and Vince Vieluf making a complete hash of their big final scene.

Theatrical Trailer (2:21)

    An ordinary trailer, which gives away a spoiler or two - don't watch it before you watch the movie.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 version of this movie sounds rather similar, but has a French soundtrack as well. Unless you want that, there's really nothing to choose between the two versions.

Summary

    An entertaining movie, on a disc that would be near-perfect if it weren't for the aliasing.

    The video quality is excellent except for the huge amount of aliasing and moire.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are plentiful, and interesting enough.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, October 14, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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