Gridiron Gang is getting another release some 11 years later after it was first released on Blu-ray. This time, it's not through Sony Pictures, but rather through Mill Creek. Not sure why this catalog title was chosen, (perhaps the upcoming Rock movie Skyscraper), but it's here none-the-less. There isn't much special about this Special Edition. In fact, it's the same video presentation. The audio has been given a DTS-HD 5.1 mix, replacing the LPCM 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 options from the original. There is a new big photo of The Rock only on the cover as well. The only new addition to this special edition is the inclusion of the original 1992 Emmy Winning documentary that inspired the film, and it isn't even in HD. That's about it. There isn't even a digital copy included. Still Worth A Look!
Dwayne The Rock Johnson has certainly made a name for himself outside the squared circle these days with his over-the-top action/monster/comedy movies. He's one of the world's most bankable stars now and there are no signs of that slowing down. When The Rock was getting his toes wet in the film world, he took on more serious roles, before he was fighting 150-foot lizards. One of those films was called Gridiron Gang, which was based on a true story about a juvenile probation officer named Sean Porter, who wanted to make a difference with all the troubled kids he crossed paths with.
He then became a football coach to teach these troubled kids discipline and keep them from going back to prison or being killed. It's a truly inspirational story that tugs the heartstrings in a very earnest way. The Rock is more relatable here and gives a great performance that is not silly or overbearing. Each interaction and emotion is earned in this movie, even if there are some cheesy moments. In addition to that, each of the actors went through vigorous training in football to make each game look ultra-realistic, which pays off tremendously. Over a decade later, Gridiron Gang still holds up and is one of The Rock's finest performances.
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Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Gridiron Gang Special Edition comes with a 50GB Blu-ray Disc of the film. There is no insert for a digital download code. The disc is housed in a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve.
Gridiron Gang features the same video transfer as its original Blu-ray. Here's what we said about the movie then:
Gridiron Gang is the latest 1080p/MPEG-2 release from Sony, and is further proof that the much-maligned codec deserves a sincere reevaluation. I was one of the chorus of naysayers early on, and I'm still not a fan of many early Blu-ray transfers. But starting with Sony's Tears of the Sun, most of the studio's MPEG-2 output has been quite impressive. And coming after The Covenant, which I just gave a five-star video rating to only yesterday, Gridiron Gang is up there with the best of what might be called the "second coming" of MPEG-2.
Presented in 2.40:1 widescreen, the source print is in excellent shape, as expected for a new release. There is a thin veil of grain throughout, but it adds a bit of a film-like appearance to a transfer that has otherwise been digitally spiced up. Contrast is a bit high, and there is some harsh crushing in the shadows, but detail remains eye-catching. I could detect even the smallest pores on The Rock's face, and every bead of sweat on the players' brows. Colors are nicely saturated and free of noise (though perhaps a notch below the richness of the most vivid recent Blu-ray transfers I've seen). I was also impressed with how sharp and relatively smooth the image appears -- this one doesn't look nearly as "hard" as early MPEG-2 releases. Though maybe not a true five-star transfer, Gridiron Gang looks mighty fine
The special edition of Gridiron Gang comes with a new DTS-HD 5.1 mix that replaces the LPCM 5.1 mix on the previous edition. This is more or less the same sounding presentation, but it's a tiny bit more nuanced in that everything is more evenly balanced. The hard-hitting sound effects on the football field don't overpower the dialogue as much anymore, which is nice.
Those sound effects though are powerful and pack a big bunch each time a player flies into another opponent. It's full of depth and bass, which gives it a great low end that rumbles nicely. Other ambient noises of people cheering or screaming, along with other outdoor noises sound excellent as well. The score is inspirational and adds to the emotional intensity of each scene. Dialogue is clear and easy to follow along with and free of any pops, cracks, and hiss. This is a great audio mix.
Original 1992 Documentary Gridiron Gang (SD, 97 Mins.) - They couldn't give this a new 1080p HD transfer I guess, but the made-for-tv documentary is here in full form. Louis Gossett Jr., complete with a western get up, narrates the documentary gives us a glimpse at the football team, made up of trouble kids, led by coach Sean Porter. It's a fantastic documentary.
Audio Commentary - Phil Joanou and writer Jeff Maguire (the director and writer), talk about making the film, with a ton of technical talk, casting, and the true story behind the movie.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 24 Mins.) - There are a total of 15 deleted scenes here, all of which are worth watching if you loved the film. Comes with optional commentary from the director.
Gridiron Gang Football Training (SD, 7 Mins.) - This shows the behind the scenes football training of the actors went through for the film.
Phil Joanou Profile (SD, 4 Mins.) - This gives us a short glimpse at the director's thoughts on the film and its tone and themes.
The Rock Takes the Field (HD, 4 Mins.) - Here, we see The Rock suited up in full football pads and uniform, play some football on set, particularly in a big scene in the movie.
The special edition of Gridiron Gang doesn't come with much bells or whistles. In fact, it's basically the same release as 11 years ago on Blu-ray. The differences are minor, which include the original 1992 documentary that inspired the film, which is not in HD, new box art cover, featuring only The Rock, and a semi-new audio format in DTS-HD 5.1 audio. It's not worth the re-buy, despite this being a very good movie that still holds up today. In fact, it might be one of The Rock's better performances, which has some emotional heft to it. In the end, the film is Highly Recommended, but this release is only Worth A Look.