Mad Dog and Glory (1993)
|Year Of Production||1993|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (37:31)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||John McNaughton|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Robert De Niro
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, mildly|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Sometimes, after going through films that are extremely serious or provoke a serious reaction, it is nice to sit back with a light comedy-drama and just absorb the performances of the leads. Mad Dog And Glory is the film that I had volunteered for in the hope that it would prove entertaining enough to provide such a light, easy experience. The main reason I volunteered to review this disc is because the director credited with this effort is none other than John McNaughton, whose previous credits include Wild Things, five episodes of Homicide: Life On The Street, and Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer.
The film begins with a young hoodlum getting into the back of a car that already has two street criminals sitting in the front, and a drug deal takes place, ending in a shower of bullets and blood. One of the groups that gets called is the Crime Scene Unit of the local police, where Wayne Dobie (Robert De Niro) and his partner, Mike (David Caruso) work. The joke of this situation is that Wayne's career as a Crime Scene analyst has resulted in him not being in a situation to draw his gun in about fifteen years, a strange fact that I'm sure a New York detective would be glad to be in. Of course, Wayne's colleagues jokingly call him "Mad Dog" because of his reluctance to use his firearm, and the situation bears fruit when Wayne enters a corner store a block away from the shooting. We soon find that the shooter, played with seeming indifference by Derek Annunciation, has killed the clerk and taken the only customer who was in the store before Wayne, a well-dressed man who goes by the name of Frank Milo (Bill Murray), hostage.
Wayne manages to talk his man into sparing Milo's life, but the suspect gets away with a swag of cash and cigarettes, a situation that bemuses Milo no end. The next day, however, Milo sends a messenger to invite Wayne around to his club, where Wayne discovers that the man he saved from the young shooter happens to be a mobster. It is here that Wayne also meets Glory (Uma Thurman), a waitress who is in the service of Frank Milo in more ways than one because of the debts her brother left outstanding. After learning that Frank has aspirations to be a comedian, Wayne goes with him to a few places where they develop a vestigial rapport, and the next day, Frank sends Glory to Wayne's place with the instructions to make Wayne happy. Naturally, things don't go exactly to plan, with Wayne and Glory falling in love, and the stage being set for an ugly confrontation when Frank comes around to get Glory back. Naturally, this plot element is augmented by some gratuitous but tasteful nude shots of Uma Thurman, who seems a lot better than her usual self in this film.
The best part of this film is that the lead role is definitely a departure for Robert De Niro, who has made a name for himself playing some real heavies, a young Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II being the most remembered example. Bill Murray is his usual offensive but loveable self, Uma Thurman gives a good performance in a somewhat limited role, and David Caruso shows that he hasn't progressed one inch from the time this film was made to the time he was in NYPD Blue. Those who are seeking a light comedy or a film that will entertain them without being too taxing will enjoy Mad Dog And Glory, as I did.
This is a rather average transfer, thanks in no small part to the film being in rather ordinary shape before it was mastered, a fact that one can bear witness to at any moment they decide to pause their player. I did so at 17:24, and marvelled at how grainy and resultantly soft this close-up of Robert De Niro's face looked, which was a disappointment.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 Enhanced.
The sharpness of this transfer is good, but not up to the usual standards we've come to expect from our beloved format, with backgrounds in particular being a little on the murky side. Part of this problem relates to the source material used to create this transfer being a little too much on the grainy side, and it is a telling sign that this disc uses just under seven and a quarter gigabytes out of the eight and a half limit for RSDL discs. The compression here is very light by what would appear to be necessity. The shadow detail of this transfer is above average, but most of the action takes place in daytime or in locations with bright lighting, so the slightly less detailed blacks are less of an issue here. There was no low-level noise in evidence when I viewed this transfer.
The colours are variably saturated during this transfer, with skin tones ranging from very red to very pale, depending on the point in the film. Overall, the colours are subtly out of sync with other points in the film at times, but since there is no evidence of colour bleed or misregistration, we can let this pass. There were no composite artefacts in evidence at any point in the transfer, either.
MPEG artefacts were not found in this transfer, although it is hard to tell most of the time whether the grain in some backgrounds is inherent in the source material or related to the compression. Given that this is a Columbia Tristar disc and the bitrate varies between six and ten megabits per second, with the usual level being around nine, I am inclined to believe the grain is inherent in the source material. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some aliasing in striped shirts, furniture, and car chrome that ranged from mild to moderate in intensity, although it did get noticeably more frequent in the last third of the film. The worst culprit for aliasing in this film was the desk Robert De Niro is often seated behind, with the papers on the desk and its edges really shimmering at 61:47, 64:59, and 68:36, to name the most troublesome instances. Film artefacts were a tad distracting in this film, with numerous moderately-sized black and white marks found all over the picture from start to finish, with the most interesting one being what looked like a fingerprint at the top left of the frame at 61:29.
The English subtitles are reasonably faithful to the dialogue, although there are some shocking variances at a few points in the feature that stuck out. They do not include captions, making them of limited use to Hearing Impaired viewers.
This disc is RSDL formatted, a curious thing given the length of the film, with the layer change taking place in the middle of Chapter 7 at 37:31. This is after the door to Wayne Dobie's apartment is closed, making it somewhat on the noticeable side, but not disruptive to the flow of the film.
There are five soundtracks on this disc, all of which are in Dolby Digital 2.0 with surround-encoding and a bitrate of 192 kilobits per second. Some will lament the fact that there is no Dolby Digital 5.1 remix, but with a film like this one, I think you'd be hard-pressed to appreciate the difference. The first soundtrack is the original English dialogue, which also happens to be the default, followed by dubs in German, French, Italian, and Spanish. Being pressed for time to a certain degree, I stuck with the English soundtrack.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, with no phoney accents or overwhelming sound effects to get in the way. There were no discernable problems with audio sync, either.
The score music in this film is credited to Elmer Bernstein, a name that should be familiar to film buffs throughout the English-speaking world. Of the two hundred and thirty-four films he has worked on, this would appear to represent a low point, as I am very hard-pressed to recollect any instance where I heard a memorable use of score music to augment the on-screen action.
The surround channels are used in moderation to support the sounds of passing cars, ambient effects in clubhouse scenes, occasional gunfire, and other such effects. There are no uses of split surround effects in this film, nor are there any really noteworthy examples of creative surround use that will draw viewers into the film. What the surround channels do provide, however, is increased separation between the dialogue and the sound effects, which helps keep the viewer focused upon the most important element of the film.
The subwoofer was not specifically encoded into this soundtrack, and I don't recall it making much, if any, sound during this transfer.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extras on this disc.
The menu is static, based around the image on the front cover, and not 16x9 Enhanced.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;
There's no contest in this case, make mine a Region 4.
Mad Dog And Glory is a comedy that, while not as uproarious as others that Bill Murray and Robert De Niro have worked upon, has its moments. I have no problem in recommending at least a trial of this film to see if you enjoy the role reversal.
The video transfer is good, considering the quality of the source material.
The audio transfer is good, although it is not especially inspiring.
There are no extras.
|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|