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New Line Home Cinema presents
Price of Glory (2000)

"Everything I've ever done was for you boys."
- Arturo Ortega (Jimmy Smits)

Review By: Dale Dobson   
Published: November 13, 2000

Stars: Jimmy Smits, Jon Seda
Other Stars: Clifton Collins Jr., Maria Del Mar, Paul Rodriguez, Ron Perlman
Director: Carlos Avila

Manufacturer: Laser Pacific Media Corporation
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, language and brief drug content
Run Time: 01h:56m:55s
Release Date: November 14, 2000
UPC: 794043508325
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ D+B-A- B

DVD Review

Price of Glory is the story of an unsuccessful former middleweight boxer named Arturo Ortega (Jimmy Smits) and his three sons—Sonny (Jon Seda), Johnny (Ernesto Hernandez) and Jimmy (Clifton Collins Jr.)—up-and-coming young boxers under Arturo's tutelage. In his quest for a championship, Arturo drives his sons hard and neglects his duties as a father, damaging his relationship with his wife Rita (Maria del Mar) and endangering the family's future. When Sonny earns a chance at the championship, the family must struggle to reunite itself after a long history of sacrifice, tragedy and internal conflict caused by Arturo's bitterness and determination.

Carlos Avila draws generally strong performances from a talented cast—Jimmy Smits exhibits more range than he has in many of his roles, and the supporting cast is solid, especially Ron Perlman and Paul Rodriguez as corrupt boxing promoters. Young Ernesto Hernandez doesn't do much with his role as Johnny, but his one-note performance seems a writing deficiency as much as an actor's dilemma. When emotions run high, Avila's actors possess the necessary intensity, and quiet scenes are generally credible and involving. The many boxing scenes supply a more action-oriented element, well-choreographed and intimately violent as boxers make strategic errors and suffer significant facial wounds; hand-held cameras and sound effects communicate some part of the emotions felt and pain suffered by the combatants.

But the strong performances and effective cinematography don't help Price of Glory overcome its script problems—the film's intended themes of family and sacrifice are lost in a mechanical, by-the-numbers approach to the subject matter. One imagines the filmmakers working from a checklist of "issues" to be addressed onscreen—for instance, son Jimmy shows up for training one night "in bad shape"; Arturo comes down to the gym to find a cocaine-dusted mirror; he tells Jimmy to straighten up; later, Jimmy tells his father that he wants to fight, and that's the last we see of the situation. Drug problem, check! In-law conflicts? Sonny's fiancée and her parents leave in a huff: during a combined-family dinner due to comments made by Arturo: check! Johnny gets shot by a hired gun intended to discourage him from fighting; boxing corruption and family tragedy: check!

I'm exaggerating a bit here, but what dramatic content these all-too-brief sequences manage to deliver is ultimately undermined by the film's upbeat conclusion. In the end, Carlos Avila's film seems more about the Glory than the Price, sacrificing its own darker, meatier themes as it attempts to produce an audience-pleasing product. Price of Glory wants to be an emotionally resonant drama as well as a boxing movie, and succeeds in being neither.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: D+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: New Line presents Price of Glory with a solid anamorphic transfer in the original 1.85:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio, as well as a 1.33:1 full-frame presentation. Both versions are generally clean and colorful, but there does seem to be a contrast problem in the DVD transfer—bright areas and highlights tend towards solid white, washed out and lacking in detail. This defect is not apparent in the theatrical trailer, and it becomes distracting in several scenes; one wonders whether the presence of two versions of the nearly-two-hour film on a single dual-layered disc forced some overcompression of high-frequency image content to fit the bit budget.

The reformatted 1.33:1 version of the film appears to be a slightly zoomed-in version of an open-matte transfer; it's actually fairly watchable, losing some picture information but not damaging the original composition too badly. The widescreen image is still preferable, of course, but this is one of the better compromises I've seen (perhaps the film was composed with an eventual video release in mind) and the image doesn't suffer from any zoom-emphasized grain or artificial cutting/panning.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Price of Glory is graced with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, as well as a Dolby 2.0 Surround track. The 5.1 track is subtle and sophisticated, with LFE bass, panning and surround use that doesn't call attention to itself but enhances the film's atmosphere significantly. The 2.0 track sounds surprisingly flat and narrow in comparison, perhaps a sign that 5.1 is rapidly becoming the standard and 2.0 is being aimed at the low-end market. The 5.1 track sounds solid if not spectacular, with clear dialogue, ample bass in the fight scenes, and solid atmospherics throughout; in this case, it's the only way to go.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 31 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Deleted Scenes
Screenplay
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Carlos Avila
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. DVD-ROM Original Website
Extras Review: New Line delivers in this department—Price of Glory on DVD is iced with standard but comprehensive extra features:

Theatrical Trailer:

The film's theatrical trailer is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, looking quite nice and free of the "washout" problems seen in the main feature.

Cast and Crew:

Filmographies (no biographical information) for seven cast members and director Carlos Avila, drawn from the Internet Movie Database.

Deleted Scenes:

Five deleted scenes with optional commentary by Avila, presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. At least three of these are interesting scenes, and Avila's frequent reference to a "running time problem" implies that the film might have been more richly textured if they could have been included.

Director Commentary:

Director Carlos Avila provides a running commentary on the film. His comments are a bit dry and sparse, pausing frequently, but he finds something worthwhile to say about the script, performances and production through most of the film. The commentary also provides some insight into the film's shortcomings—there's a lot of focus on the structure and the emotional tone of each scene, but not much apparent awareness of the picture as a whole.

DVD-ROM Features:

I was not able to explore the DVD-ROM features, but the packaging promises screenplay access (read the screenplay while watching the film), the original promotional website captured permanently on DVD, and a "Hot Spots" Weblink to New Line's current advertising materials. New Line has been a fairly consistent supporter of DVD-ROM features and the studio continues that tradition here.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Price of Glory is an earnest but hit-and-miss movie that makes some misguided compromises in its attempt to combine family drama with boxing action. New Line's DVD presents the film well, with an acceptable transfer and substantial extras; worth a look if the subject matter or cast appeals, but it's no Girlfight.

 


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