- Street Date:
- December 9th, 2008
- Reviewed by:
- Tom Landy
- Review Date: 1
- January 13th, 2009
- Movie Release Year:
- Fox Home Entertainment
- 0 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
Please welcome Tom Landy to High-Def Digest! In addition to writing game reviews and strategy articles for IQ Gamer and Scrye Magazine, Tom has been a frequent contributor to DVDTOWN. His expansive film knowledge, and background in multiple areas of high-def entertainment make him a valuable addition to HDD.
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
“It’s their highway. You’re just driving on it.” – Super Troopers
In the mid 90s, a group of college kids -- Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske -- banded together at Colgate University to form the comedy troupe known as Broken Lizard. You may recall them as the twisted minds behind 2004’s 'Club Dread' and 2006’s 'Beerfest,' but their most recognized theatrical feature is also their first: 2001’s 'Super Troopers.' The movie was widely panned by critics during its initial release, but over the years it has risen in popularity, gaining a cult following, and it’s finally (MEOW) available on Blu-ray.
The film follows the lives of five Vermont State Troopers: Rabbit (Stolhanske), Thorny (Chandrasekhar), Mac (Lemme), Foster (Soter), and the black sheep of the group--Farva (Heffernan). With the crime rate down, and the local jerks in the Spurbury Police Department riding their high horses all over the area, there really isn’t much law enforcement action to go around. Therefore, the state patrol routinely combats boredom by pulling over and taunting motorists, having maple syrup guzzling contests at one of their favorite diners, and testing out bulletproof jockstraps at the shooting range. Honestly, how can life get any better than this?
Tragedy strikes when budget cuts threatens the troopers’ jobs and their laid back lifestyles. What they need more than anything is a big bust to prove their significance, and the coincidental discovery of a murder that soon begins to unearth a major drug smuggling ring just might be the answer to all of their problems. The only question is whether these goofballs are competent enough to save the day.
The plot for “Super Troopers” is as basic as they come, but it’s sewn together with patches of goofy skits that somehow manage to keep the whole package from falling apart. The comedy is silly and often immature, kind of like a cross between 'Reno 911' and 'Harold and Kumar go to White Castle,' which is probably why frat boys on campuses everywhere can’t seem to get enough of this flick. Yet the humor alone isn’t enough to really pick up the slack when the story starts waning. That being said, while there are a few scenes that I thought were hilarious, and I could easily watch them over and over for years to come, I still can’t help but wish that there were more of these gems throughout the film. For instance, there are a couple of dead spots in the first act that could have been a lot funnier, but just didn’t gel for me. Luckily, what is a riot seems to get better with each repeat viewing, and the second and final acts feel a bit more cohesive and even had two or three twists that I didn’t see coming.
I also gained new appreciation for the movie once I was clued in to some of the interesting stories behind key scenes. For example, the fake maple syrup they planned to use proved to be too runny, so they had to use the real stuff, and the shaving cream hazing caused a bit of panic (and burning sensations) when they accidentally grabbed cans of menthol by mistake. It’s little factoids like this that give the movie that extra something after reading about them on IMDb.com or hearing about them directly from the horses’ mouths in the commentaries, something I can’t say about a lot of films nowadays.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Fox presents 'Super Troopers' on a BD-50 (MPEG-4/AVC codec) featuring a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and a relatively clean transfer. The picture is free of noise. I only noticed a minimal amount of grain in some of the darker scenes. Colors and black levels are decent, although I found the image to be very soft and somewhat lacking in depth and detail. Edge enhancement is the most prominent nuisance, and it's bound to annoy some viewers. While the Blu-ray is a far cry from demo material, the transfer is still a step or two above the standard DVD.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Like the video, the audio for 'Super Troopers' falls in the good but not great category. The lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is well balanced, with crisp, clear dialogue, but the film is front channel heavy and the subwoofer might as well have curled up in bed with a good book and enjoyed the night off. Like I said, it isn’t bad, it’s just not the kind of movie for demoing your sound system. Also included are subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Korean.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
- Audio Commentaries – First up are two separate audio commentaries—one with Jay Chandrasekhar and Erik Stolhanske, and the with Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, and Paul Soter. Both are solid, with a good blend of technical info and dry humor, but they're easily outshined by the exclusive PiP commentary I’ll get to in a minute.
- Featurette (SD, 6 minutes) – An odd inclusion simply titled “Featurette” is more of a summary of what the movie is about than an actual “making of” documentary.
- Featurette: “Road Trip News Wrap” (SD, 2 minutes) – The Broken Lizard guys travel around the country (in character) to get the word out about the movie in this short and sweet featurette.
- Outtakes and Extended Scenes (SD, 41 minutes) – It seems like everything from the cutting room floor is included here. Most of it is trivial and probably not worth sifting through for three quarters of an hour, but somebody might find it interesting. Also included are optional commentaries that can be turned on for this section.
- Theatrical Trailers (SD) – Up next are a pair of theatrical trailers for “Super Troopers.”
- Fox on Blu-ray (HD) – Concluding the bonus features are a trio of trailers for other Fox titles: “Juno,” “Me Myself, & Irene,” and “There’s Something About Mary.”
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
- “Stupor Troopers: The Drinking Game” – The first exclusive is an interactive drinking game where one or two teams compete by wetting their whistles whenever a certain marker appears on screen or they fail to answer a pop-up trivia question. Just don’t make the mistake of choosing one team like I did, or the guys will make fun of you. Please drink responsibly.
- Picture-in-Picture Commentary – All five of the guys return for an exclusive Blu-ray picture-in-picture commentary that puts most of the others I’ve seen to shame. Through some innovative use of green screen technology, the gang appears in miniature form at the bottom of the screen, facing the viewer in order to relive the movie. It was a hoot to watch. Kudos to Broken Lizard and Fox Home Entertainment for going above and beyond on these exclusives, I’m sure they'll make a lot of fans’ days.
The Broken Lizard gang took some time out of their busy schedules to include a couple of Blu-ray exclusives for their fans. A profile 1.1 compatible player or higher is required to play these features.
I don’t know if I’d be quick to classify 'Super Troopers' as a classic comedy, but it’s definitely one with a few classic moments of comedic brilliance. Although the video and audio on this release aren’t exactly reference quality, they're still an upgrade over the standard definition DVD. However, it’s the Blu-ray exclusive drinking game and PiP commentary that makes the title a solid purchase for anyone -- and worthy of a double dip for the dedicated aficionados of the film.
- BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc
- Bonus View (Profile 1.1)
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround
- English SDH
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
Exclusive HD Content
- Interactive Game
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