Stand Up Guys Blu-ray Review
Over the last couple of years there have been a TON of new films featuring our aging Hollywood elite. You’ve seen them and maybe enjoyed them, some of which have even spawned sequels (RED 2 coming this July). In general I think can be fun if you accept them for what they are, fluff cinema. But when I heard about STAND UP GUYS I was a little bit concerned. Honestly, I was afraid it was going to be a less successful, probably less well-done version of RED (2010). I don’t know why, I guess I just assumed this was going to be some kind of knock-off with less, well, everything. I’m happy to say I was wrong on all counts, and STAND UP GUYS has a lot of heart while also being a lot of fun.
STAND UP GUYS is the story of Val (Al Pacino) and Doc (Christopher Walken). Val has just been released from a long stint in the federal penitentiary. Doc, his best and only friend, is there to pick him up and take him out for “his day.” Doc and Val obviously worked together in their past life, but Doc has slowed way down and seems a little put off by Val’s initial disgust at his home and his lifestyle. All Val wants to do is party and live the life he left when he went away. Of course there are some issues with that. Doc has apparently been tasked, he is supposed to kill Val as soon as he is released because Val apparently killed the only son of a major mob boss in the town.
Over the afternoon and evening, though, Doc seems less and less inclined to follow the order he has been given though Val eventually realizes what is happening. But instead of allowing it to damper their spirits, the guys spend the evening re-living the glory days. This includes a couple of stops at a brothel and a quick stop to pick up their wheelman, Hirsch (Alan Arkin) who has been languishing in an extended living facility. Hirsch’s health has been waning recently but he livens up considerably once he is reunited with his crew.
STAND UP GUYS is a rollicking good time but it’s certainly rougher around the edges than the other films of this particular genre. The jokes skew a bit bluer than is absolutely necessary but getting to watch Christopher Walken and Al Pacino on screen together (for the first time, by the way) is pure magic. The two seem to bond over their time together exactly as the characters would and it isn’t hard to imagine them as best friends from a long time. The addition of Hirsch early in the film’s second act is a catalyst that vastly improves the dynamic as well.
There’s a little bit for everyone in STAND UP GUYS, with some scenes really showing some impressive (and surprising) action chops, all the while building up a great character study about these friends finding their bond once again. I actually found myself near tears at a couple of scenes, not because I was laughing but because they did such a great job establishing the characters. STAND UP GUYS is far from “fine art” but it is a definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the stars.
STAND UP GUYS BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p, 2.40:1 Widescreen) The video is crystal clear on STAND UP GUYS. The image transfer is beautiful and the color palette pulls you right into the film.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The scoring is simple but plays well, and the sound mixing and transfer on STAND UP GUYS really pull you into the action with the guys.
Audio Commentary with Director Fisher Stevens (01:34:58) Fisher Stevens talks constantly through the commentary on STAND UP GUYS. He gives some really interesting tips about his time working with the actors. Not an incredibly entertaining or funny commentary, it still has a lot of great qualities. If you enjoyed the film I think you’ll like it.
The Lowdown on Making STAND UP GUYS (11:54) A standard making of featurette for any Blu-ray, this one is nicely put together and has some neat looks into the way STAND UP GUYS was made.
The Stand Up Songs of Jon Bon Jovi (04:46) STAND UP GUYS features music from Jon Bon Jovi who talks about putting together the music and how much he enjoyed working on it. A lot of his lyrics are based on the dialogue and even though it feels a little jive, I enjoyed the music and this special feature.
American Muscle: The Stand Up Stunt Driving Scenes (05:03) Showing scenes from the movie along with storyboards and featuring interview portions from STAND UP GUYS, this is a neat if quick look at the chase scene.
Deleted Scenes (02:35) Two scenes are included on the Blu-ray of STAND UP GUYS, kind of toss-aways. The first is Al Pacino dancing quickly (called Fast Dance) and the second is Val and Doc on Rooftop, deciding what to do near the end of the film and sharing a last moment together. It’s a sweet moment.
This Blu-ray also comes with an UltraViolet digital copy of the film.