BLU-RAY REVIEW: Scarface Limited Edition Steelbook
The 1983 classic comes to life in hi-def...
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The rise and fall of one of pop culture's most popular characters of all time, Tony Montana, is captured with brilliance thanks to one of the most amazing on-screen performances by Al Pacino, one of the most impressive screenplays by Oliver Stone, and amazing directing by Brian De Palma. Thankfully, after nearly 30 years, Scarface remains a masterpiece of cinema, and is now available encased in a beautiful steelbook in blu-ray high definition.
At its core, Scarface is an American Dream movie...if the dreamer were violent, greedy, egotistical, and wanted nothing more than the world. Enter Tony Montana (Pacino), the immigrant turned small-time drug dealer turned criminal kingpin who's need for power, fortune, and attention know no bounds. Played with panache by Pacino, Montana is angry, arrogant, violent, and takes nothing from nobody. And yet today, this megalomaniac is the quintessential American gangster, unwilling to concede on the grounds that, were he simply to concede any point, it'd mean admitting he's wrong. And we all know Tony Montana is never wrong.
The high definition video transfer compared to past editions are solid, though there are issues in low light settings. Thankfully, the beautiful Miami sun, when present, captures the crisp textures, sharp lines, and bold detail seen throughout.
Likewise, the film's new DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround sound track makes for great auditory stimulation. The dialogue from the center channel is clear and easy to hear, the surround sound effects - including grenades, chainsaws, gunfire and music - directionally capture one's attention. Thankfully, though somewhat aged, the audio helps viewers fully immerse into the viewing experience.
As for special features, this new limited edition steelbook version features a wide variety of special features, including two discs, one which features the 1983 film in high definition and a slew of bonus material and a second disc featuring the original 1932 Scarface film, ten exclusive Grand Prize-winning design art cards, and an access code for a digital copy of the film.
On the first disc, there are two U-Control features. The first, a Picture-in-Picture (PiP) track, provides viewers the opportunity to watch filmmakers discuss everything from production and casting to fan reaction and real crime and drugs in Miami. A special feature well worth enjoying, Universal did an outstanding job of ensuring viewers received the special treatment with this one. The second U-Control feature isn't nearly as impressive, though for those die-hard fans who want to keep score of how many f-bombs and bullets make their way out of the mouths and barrels of the film's many characters, this one is right up your alley.
A special, three-part documentary, "The Scarface Phenomenon," provides a great look into the history, response, and context in which the film was originally made and released as well as the impact the film has had on not only film culture, but pop culture since its 1983 release. The next four featurettes are brought over from the previously released DVD, including the 12-minute "The World of Tony Montana," the 30-minute "The Creating" (which focuses on director De Palma, writer Stone, and other creators), the 10-minute "The Rebirth" (which compares the original 1932 film to this one), and the 15-minute "The Acting" (which shows creators - including Pacino - chatting about performances).
Other special features include 3 minutes of edits from the TV version of the film, 12 minutes about the making of the 2006 Scarface video game, and 22 minutes of deleted scenes.
All in all, Scarface continues to impress as a powerhouse of a film, delivering riveting performances from a stellar cast, brilliant dialogue and character development from an expert script, and amazing drama and action from a world-class director. For those who're looking for the finest visuals and top-notch audio, look no further. While it's maybe not perfect, considering its age, few films have made more of a lasting impact - and have remained relevant and popular - than Scarface.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley