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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Snatch (Superbit Deluxe) (2000)

"You ain't from this planet are you Vincent? Who is gonna mug two black fellas, holding pistols, sat in a car that's worth less than your shirt?"
- Sol (Lennie James)

Review By: Brian Calhoun  
Published: October 01, 2002

Stars: Jason Statham, Alan Ford, Brad Pitt, Vinnie Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Robbie Gee, Lennie James, Dennis Farina, Rade Sherbedgia, Stephen Graham
Other Stars: Adam Fogerty, Ewen Bremner, Jason Flemyng, Mike Reid, Ade, William Beck, Andy Beckwith
Director: Guy Ritchie

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language, and some nudity
Run Time: 01h:42m:36s
Release Date: September 17, 2002
UPC: 043396094130
Genre: action comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-AA- B

DVD Review

Much could be said of British writer/director Guy Ritchie that has already been said of American writer/director Quentin Tarantino. While certainly far from a prolific filmmaker, Ritchie has managed to create two of the most entertaining, fast paced, action-packed, cool and comedic thrill rides I have ever seen on film. Just when I think that the crime genre has been dug into the ground, Ritchie manages to put a new spin on it. Like Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, Snatch is a masterful hybrid of various styles of filmmaking. It is almost as if Ritchie has taken elements from numerous genres, stuffed them into a blender, and created an incomparable film from the mix. This is typically a recipe for disaster, but Ritchie's unique concoction has a confidence and flair that makes it irresistible.

So, what is Snatch all about? In honoring the frenetic style of the film, let me see if I can sum it up in one long, run-on sentence. Snatch follows the story of unlicensed boxing promoter, Turkish (Jason Statham), and his bumbling sidekick, Tommy (Stephen Graham), who become indirectly caught up in a diamond heist executed by Franky Four Fingers (Benicio Del Toro), a criminal with an insatiable lust for gambling, a vice that causes him to become kidnapped by three small-time thugs, Vinny (Robbie Gee), Sol (Lennie James), and Tyrone (Ade), who are working for Boris the Blade (Rade Sherbedgia), a deranged Russian with an unusual immunity to death and a conniving nature that leads him to conspire against Doug the Head (Mike Reid), the Jewish wannabe who plans to move the stolen diamond under orders from Cousin Avi (Dennis Farina), an American hothead who is forced to travel to London from New York when he finds that the diamond has fallen into the wrong hands, only to become wrapped-up in the madcap lunacy of London's gangster underbelly, which leads him to hire Bullet-Tooth Tony (Vinnie Jones), a gruff hit man whose evil is only superceded by Brick Top (Alan Ford), the local underworld kingpin who often tortures his victims with a pack of pigs, and who, by hook or by crook, will successfully rig a boxing match with the help of Mickey (Brad Pitt), a bare-knuckle boxing Irish gypsy (or Pikey) who speaks with a mutated Irish accent that is only understandable about 50 percent of the time. And, oh yes, there is a dog centrally involved in all of this too.

Is any of that clear? It may sound like Mickey's indecipherable Pikey vernacular, but Snatch is actually quite easy to follow thanks to skilled direction and a tightly crafted script. The characters are innumerable, but a hip musical character introduction at the beginning of the film assures that everyone is properly introduced and accounted for before the twisting story begins. The film is full of witty methods that keep the interconnecting story lines tightly woven and a smile plastered to the viewer's face. One moment in particular, consisting of simultaneously occurring car crashes, is executed in a way that takes the action, humor, and eccentricity to an all time high. Every performance in the film is a pleasure to behold, thanks to enthusiastic actors and a script full of fresh and quirky dialogue. Ritchie's delightful screenwriting has given each of these characters such distinct personalities that it is impossible to dislike even the most nefarious villains.

Much criticism has been made that Snatch is merely a rehash of Ritchie's first film, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels. I have to admit that I agree with these complaints. While both films are a breath of fresh air amidst a tired old genre, Snatch is so similar in style and story to LS&TSB that it almost feels as if Ritchie was trying to remake a film that was near flawless. As Ritchie's films are few and far between, I certainly hope that this is no indication that his talent has already gone stale. Yet, regardless of similarities to its predecessor, it is my responsibility to review Snatch as a standalone film, and as such, it is giddy entertainment. Like the cinematic equivalent of a roller coaster, it is a fun-filled ride that, while a little bumpy along the way, is ultimately thrilling. Though not a perfect movie, I am honestly hard pressed to find any flaws that undermine its potency. It is clearly a sign of great filmmaking when any problems with a film are completely negated by its entertainment value.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: While the original DVD release of Snatch was excellent, the Superbit version reigns supreme. The level of detail, particularly in the background, is remarkable. The vivid aesthetic of this presentation nearly leaps off the screen, with an intense sense of depth that kept my eyes peeled throughout. The only problems I detected were a slight graininess in several scenes and one or two nicks on the print. Overall, this is a first-rate transfer that appears exactly as I remember the theatrical exhibition. For those who rely on technical merits, the bit-rate never dips below 5 mbps, and it mostly stayed between 7 to 8 mbps. Honestly, I trust my eyes to tell me how stunning a transfer is, and my eyes can easily assert that this is a clear winner.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The typical Superbit Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS tracks are offered, and both are fantastic. Though a film like Snatch does not contain the level of audio excitement heard on most Superbit contenders, the fidelity remains superior throughout. Comparisons between the Dolby and DTS tracks revealed slightly refined depth on the DTS, with channel separation on both proving to be equally enveloping. The front soundstage produces a convincing wall of sound rather than the lifeless, unnatural audio produced from inferior soundtracks. Surround use is reserved, but fully engaging when utilized. Voices have a tendency to sound somewhat unintelligible, as if the center channel was mixed a bit too soft, yet this also could have been a result of my inexperience with the thick British accents. While perhaps not demo material, these 5.1 tracks are highly commendable.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
2 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, Go, Leon—The Professional, The Lady From Shanghai, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
3 TV Spots/Teasers
6 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
Storyboard
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray Double
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL
Layers Switch: 00h:48m:29s

Extra Extras:
  1. Video Photo Gallery
Extras Review: The latest in the Superbit Deluxe packages, Snatch contains a second disc reserved entirely for special features. Like my review of Hollow Man (Superbit Deluxe), I am disappointed in the decision to exclude several of the special features found on the original release; there is, after all, a simple solution to make sure that they are included. However, in the case of Snatch, if I were forced to choose between those features and the stunning video presentation found on this release, I would choose the latter.

Disc Two begins with the Making Snatch documentary. Unlike most dreary behind-the-scenes features, this one goes right along with the exuberant nature of the film and proves to be quite enjoyable. The candid production footage is quite insightful and makes for an entertaining segment.

Next, are storyboard comparisons for three scenes. The viewer has the option of viewing the storyboards full-frame or side by side with the finished version of the film. Most disappointing is the inability to toggle between these two viewing methods. Otherwise, this is a decent but brief storyboard section.

The trailer section features the U.S. theatrical trailer, presented in 5.1 sound, along with a U.K. teaser trailer in 2.0 stereo. The U.S. trailer is a fantastic promotional piece, but I found the U.K. teaser to be more humorous. It is a witty idea that would never see the light of day in the U.S. This trailer section also contains trailers for five other films.

Six deleted scenes are presented full-frame with optional commentary from Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn. All of these scenes all welcome exclusions, with the exception of Whoops, which is an hysterical embellishment that I would have liked to have seen included in the film.

The Video Gallery is a five-minute moving photo gallery set to the music from Snatch. Edited in true Guy Ritchie fashion, this is one of the more interesting and enjoyable photo galleries I have seen.

Also included are three U.S. TV spots and a brief filmographies section. Be sure to also look for two easter eggs on the main menu screen of disc two. One of them is definitely worthwhile!

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Snatch is a violent, hilarious, hip gangster picture worthy of endless praise. Normally I would dissuade fans from re-purchasing a film that offers nothing more in the way of special features, but the new Snatch Superbit video transfer is truly remarkable. If you were on the fence about owning this fine film, Superbit has now made the decision for you.

Highly Recommended.

 


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