Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Dean Murphy (Director) & Roger Lanser (DoP)
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Featurette-Making Of Visual Effects
|Year Of Production||1999|
|Running Time||92:51 (Case: 97)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Dean Murphy|
Magna Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, and by none other than doctors!|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, a few scenes run after the start of the credits.|
The plot revolves around two struggling medical students, Brad Forrest and Gregor O'Leary. Brad has the potential to be one of the finest surgeons ever produced, and Gregor holds dreams of having a practice of his own, a Volvo and "rumpy-pumpy with the busty receptionist." Unfortunately, the two are one more fail from being kicked out of medical school, owe money to a loan shark, and have to deal with a hostile landlord for their hovel of a flat. They need money, and they need good grades, and they need them both fast. What is the fastest way to better grades? Steal the exam paper of course. While in the office of Professor Lawrence (Marshall Napier), they overhear a conversation between Professor Lawrence and Doctor Marcus Browning (Rod Mullinar) that may just be the solution to their monetary problems. It seems that Dr Browning is in need of organs - livers and kidneys to be precise. The remainder of the story is fairly obvious, from the point where the first willing donor falls, quite literally, out of the sky to the finale, Muggers maintains a sharp comic edge. Along the way, the boys get to take on the haughty Nigel Stamford-Street (Simon Bossel), and find their true loves in Sophie (Petra Yared) and Belinda (Nicola Charles) - including two rather interestingly juxtaposed sex scenes.
While certainly not a movie with a large amount of social commentary, Muggers is one of the best examples of black comedy available. Not only are the thoroughly dastardly lead characters extremely charismatic, but every character in the movie has some level of corruption, and there are no real attempts to justify any of this. While that may seem like a light-weight attitude to approach a story with, for a black comedy it is extremely effective, as the effect of the flaws in the characters are not diluted with any reasoning - they must simply be accepted as flawed. This allows their actions to be carried out in a surreal world that is almost real, but at the same time is most definitely a fantasy land. Often in movies of this nature, a crucial flaw is that the lead characters are not likeable enough, while relying on the audience to really want the heroes to succeed.
If you are a fan of black comedy, then Muggers contains just the right blend of nefarious action and likeable characters to create a really enjoyable movie. I must issue a warning however, as Muggers is not for those who squirm through the average episode of Good Medicine - there are a fair number of organ removal procedures and sound effects that can be just a little disconcerting for the squeamish.
Muggers is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. The lack of enhancement is really a shame, as it would most likely have reduced the aliasing problem, and drawn the video quality to near reference level.
Magna Pacific have presented us with a very sharp transfer that displays considerable amounts of detail, even despite the significant loss of resolution due to the lack of 16x9 enhancement. Shadow detail is decent throughout, although not spectacular, as deep blacks tend to swallow the majority of detail within them. Where there is a small amount of light however, the transfer is nicely detailed. This is certainly a good thing, as many of the shots rely on a good contrast between light and dark, with most of the action taking place in the light.
Colours are nicely rendered, with no instances of bleed. Highlights are somewhat muted, giving the transfer somewhat less "range" in terms of colour, but this is not an overly large problem, and frankly, I would rather not look at hot pink in all its glory.
There is very little in the way of compression artefacting present in this transfer, mainly being confined to some light pixelization of sky during outdoor scenes (and that likely caused by the presence of film grain). Film to video artefacts are where this transfer really falls down, with aliasing appearing considerably more frequently than would be desirable. For the most part, these artefacts are confined to small areas of the screen, but there is one occasion, at 3:35 where it breaks out wholesale across the entire screen. The sources of the aliasing are somewhat interesting, as there are all the usual culprits as well as some not so usual. The aforementioned problem at 3:35 is one of the usuals, being the window slats and grates on the front of a building. More unusual is the aliasing on a hat brim (2:30), on the frown lines on Marshal Napier's forehead (7:52) and on the golf pants worn by Jason Barry. I noticed no film artefacts in the transfer at all.
There are no subtitles present on this disc.
This is an RSDL formatted disc, but I was unable to locate the layer change despite repeated viewings. I assume this means that the change is very well placed indeed (or the entire feature is placed on a single layer).
There are three audio tracks present on this disc, being English movie soundtracks in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0, and a Dolby Digital 2.0 English commentary track.
Dialogue was clear and understandable at all times during the movie, even during a sequence involving a loud party. There was never a need to go back to work out what had been said. Outdoor scenes, and scenes in large lecture halls were equally impressive in terms of dialogue as those in smaller interiors.
For the most part, audio sync was perfect, but there were a few scenes where it would slip ever-so-subtly out. Strangely, these seemed to be limited to indoor environments.
The music for Muggers was composed by Frank Strangio, and is not a typical movie score. It is has a slight jazz feel, being mostly up-tempo material used during scene changes. Little music is used during dialogue sequence, and as such, it provides an interesting viewing experience. The choice is actually quite effective, and works well to focus attention on the dialogue, which is the place where a comedy such as this gains most of its momentum.
The surround channels are aggressively used for ambience, really serving to immerse the viewer into the action. The few sequences where directional sounds are appropriate display good use of discrete placement across the front and rear soundstages. It is a pity that surround mixes of this quality are not present on many films that would benefit more from it than a comedy.
Being primarily a dialogue-driven comedy, the subwoofer has little to do for the most part, but when called upon, impacts admirably, adding very aggressive bass to sequences where appropriate.
|Surround Channel Use|
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
Muggers is a top-notch black comedy presented on a fine DVD from Magna Pacific. Pity about the aliasing though.
The video quality is very good, but is let down by the frequent and noticeable aliasing.
The audio quality is extremely good.
The extras are numerous, but most are short or uninteresting. There are enough extras here, however, to act as a bonus for anyone who does pick the movie up.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||RCA 80cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|