Snatch on Blu-ray Disc

by Johnny Bray

Though Guy Ritchie is probably most famous for being Madonna’s ex-husband, believe it or not he’s actually a talented director.

After the indie success of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Ritchie achieved mainstream notice with his follow-up, Snatch. While the two follow a very similar style, Snatch had the advantage of a bigger budget and one of Hollywood’s biggest stars in one of his best roles to date.

Brad Pitt plays Mickey, an unintelligible gypsy among a cast of quirky characters that includes Turkish (Jason Statham), Tommy (Stephen Graham), Brick Top (Alan Ford), Franky Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro) and Bullet Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones). They’re each an essential part of the zany film that benefits from its rapid-fire pacing and general absurdity.

All one could say without spoiling most of the fun is that it all somehow revolves around a really big diamond and a really small dog.

It is not, however, for everyone. The violence and profanity may turn off some (and you know who you are), but the bigger issue lies in the perpetual thick British accents. While we’re not supposed to understand what Mickey is saying, certain people may make the same complaint about the rest of the characters, as well. Again, you probably know who you are and should most likely avoid the film altogether.

This reviewer, however, finds the film tremendously entertaining and places it among his top “re-watchable movies of all-time.” Friends and I still pull out random Snatch quotes on a regular basis.

Several versions of the film have been released on DVD, and it has now finally made the bittersweet transition to Blu-ray. We say this because, while it’s wonderful to finally have the movie on the modern format, it’s the kind of flick that makes you wonder if it really needs it…

The main problem is that the film is set and shot in some really ugly locations and has a general muddiness to it. We fully understand that this was Mr. Ritchie’s intention, but it unfortunately comes across as a very subpar Blu-ray release. There’s rampant grain and dust all over the print, which is fine, but you wonder why you don’t just watch it on DVD and save yourself the 25 bucks.

To answer this question, we bring you the audio. The DVD audio never felt as though it did the film justice. At least if it’s supposed to look drab, it definitely screams for high-quality audio. The 5.1 dts-HD booms with life, putting an end to the volume fluctuations and overall tinny-ness of the previous tracks. Characters are more intelligible, gunshots are powerful but don’t hurt your ears, and the surround speakers get a much better workout this time around.

All of the extras from the DVD releases have been ported over, including a surprisingly dry commentary, a few deleted scenes, photo galleries and a making-of featurette. Now, we respect studios are trying to provide us with some exclusive HD goodies, but if they don’t make them any good we’re going to catch on very quickly and stop falling for it. Included here are a “MovieIQ” BD-Live feature that you really won’t appreciate the suckiness of until you see it, and a “Snatch Cutting Room” feature.

The latter is the kind of feature in which you take scenes of the movie and re-cut them your own way, except that they’ve managed to take all the fun out of the idea. There are so few options that it’s more fun just to cut it the way it’s done in the movie and say that you did it. Bo-ring.

If you don’t already own Snatch, this is quite obviously the version to get. If you’re looking to upgrade, we’d suggest waiting until it goes on sale.

Snatch, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
103 minutes, 1080p High Definition (1.85:1), 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio
Starring Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Jason Statham
Produced by Matthew Vaughn
Written and directed by Guy Ritchie

Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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