Wall Street Blu-ray Review
“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”
That’s the mantra of Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), a Wall Street power player with money on his mind and spilling all over. He has the best suits. He has the newest (and biggest) cell phone. He has the nicest art in his office. He has the best seat in the best restaurants. He has a robot that mixes drinks.
He also has a fan. That’s Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen), a young broker in the trade whose life goal is to be in business with Gekko. A meeting with his hero is hard to get and easy to blow. Fox does both. Fortunately for him, Gekko sees something in Fox–not a version of his younger self, but rather the potential for a great increase in his bank account. Thanks to a willingness to spy and an insider tip (unknowingly dished by his blue-collar father, Carl, played by Martin Sheen), Fox is quickly placed on the inside with the big boys.
From there, Oliver Stone’s WALL STREET, co-written by Stone and Stanley Weiser (who later penned Stone’s George W. Bush mockery W.), charts the rise and inevitably fall of Fox–whose story it really is, even if Gekko landed on the poster. The approach is basic and unremarkable, absolutely simplistic in the way it portrays a Faustian man’s coping with temptation, success and failure. Stone’s take is anything but subtle. Some didn’t pick up on it. So many New York collegiates saw Gekko as a champion and WALL STREET as an opportunity to blow their paychecks on a wardrobe of six-inch-wide ties and flashy suspenders and get into the game. They replayed the tacky montage of the modeling of Bud Fox’s penthouse (topped off with bad artwork and wall-to-wall carpeting) over and over in their heads and completely missed the blatant moral of the story.
It would be unfair to let that situation (which, in retrospect, is like a depraved mixture of the attitude of the BOILER ROOM sharks and Reagan using “Born in the U.S.A.” as his campaign song in 1984) dock points from the movie. Where it missteps on its own (aside from the aforementioned rookie outline of the story) is in the casting of Charlie Sheen. Fresh off of a star turn in Stone’s Best Picture-winning PLATOON, Sheen was certainly expected by Stone to deliver. But like his character, Sheen seems over his head, especially in the scenes he shares with Douglas. Douglas masters the dialogue and towers, while Sheen is hammy and miniscule. The same also goes for his moments with Martin Sheen which, later in the movie, play out like Thanksgiving Day throwdowns.
If WALL STREET is one of the movies most representative of the 1980s–and it is–then Gordon Gekko is one of the ultimate symbols of the decade’s excess and greed. As long as there is Wall Street, there will be WALL STREET. As long as there are corporate raiders, there will be Gordon Gekko. The film may be a product of its time, but it’s not dated. If anything positive can be said, it’s that WALL STREET, sadly, is forever relevant. To some, greed will always be good.
Video: 1.85:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. While this Blu-ray offers a new video transfer, it’s still littered with problems. Like the previous release, the video is grainy, often too dark and without much detail. WALL STREET isn’t a very visually arresting movie, but Fox must be able to do better than this.
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish Mono; French Mono. Though unremarkable, the audio transfer does present the dialogue, music and background noise without any major problems.
Commentary by director Oliver Stone: Stone generally gives strong, informative commentaries, and this one is no different. For the duration, Stone tosses out various notes and facts on the making of WALL STREET. While some of the info pops up again in the documentaries, there is a lot here and so still a worthwhile track.
Greed is Good (56:37) is a very good documentary that emphasizes the real-life aspects of the story, focusing on the actual industry and how the characters embody the Wall Street style and attitude.
Money Never Sleeps – The Making of WALL STREET (47:38): This documentary focuses more on the actual production of WALL STREET, with interviewees touching on the story’s evolution, the cast, the characters, the themes, and more.
Deleted Scenes (22:38): There are a number here, which fans will enjoy seeing (even if many were likely cut for time). All are available with commentary by director Oliver Stone.
Fox Movie Channel Presents Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman (12:20): Here, Fox executive Rothamn takes time to gloat about WALL STREET.