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Venevision International presents

Barras Bravas (1985)

"Love is eternal only while it lasts." - Paloma (Tamara Acosta)

Stars: Tamara Acosta, Ivan Zamorano, Juan Pablo Saez, Ricardo Robledo, Daniel Muñoz
Director: Sebastian Araya Serrano

MPAA Rating: Not RatedRun Time: 01h:25m:05s
Release Date: 2005-04-19
Genre: foreign

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DVD Review

A sports championship in the U.S. will provoke the occasional hometown riot, so we've certainly got some unclean hands; still, stories of violence and murder accompanying the unfavorable outcomes of soccer matches in other countries get a good amount of play on SportsCenter, principally because American sports fans are crazy, but we're not *that* crazy. (In a different part of the world, for instance, Steve Bartman would be a dead man.) So the backdrop for this movie offers some promise of insight; instead, what's here is dizzyingly overcut, with a headache-inducing, overscored soundtrack pumped up to try and make up for the thin plot. Or if not thin, the result of a straight steal: the high-concept pitch is that this is Romeo and Juliet among the Chilean soccer set, but really with very little going for it.

Our Romeo is Azul, a member of the Lions, who is on the hook for the killing of a rival gangbanger who had the temerity to tag a wall in Lion territory; he falls hard for Paloma, who of course is from the wrong side of the pitch, according to him. The gangs hate each other, but their fiercest emotions are saved for game day, with their insanely virulent devotion to their teams, for whom they live and die. The movie follows the Shakespearean contours so closely that there are no plot surprises; at times, you'll probably wish that you were watching West Side Story instead. Director Enrique Carreras has tried to bring some poetry to the story of the star-crossed lovers, but it's a pretty sorry effort—the quote at the top of this review is a representative example, in that it sounds sort of cool for a second, but even a modicum of consideration leads to the inevitable conclusion that it just doesn't make any sense.

Carreras has some big stylistic debts to pay, too, especially to John Woo—the overcranked camera and the flocks of birds whooshing about before all acts of violence are straight lifts from Woo's best Hong Kong pictures. But mostly this is a warmed-over effort, marrying the worst of overcut music video editing with the drunken thuggishness of soccer hooliganism.

Rating for Style: D+
Rating for Substance: D


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Colors are generally brash, but occasionally a little runny and inconsistent.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishno

Audio Transfer Review: The soundtrack is offensively loud most of the time; even if you speak Spanish, you'll be unlikely to make out much of the dialogue, as it's drowned out by the oppressive score.

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Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Paraiso B, La Mujer del pueblo, Asesino en serio
1 TV Spots/Teasers
2 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. information on Venevision
Extras Review: A making-of featurette (11m:36s) lacks English subtitles; you'll also find a music video (04m:22s) for a loud and unpleasant song on the soundtrack. The DVD also includes company info on Venevision, the distributor, along with a list of their other releases and a link to their website.

Extras Grade: D

Final Comments

An overheated, overcut rehashing of Shakespeare that will have you reaching for the Tylenol or the remote before the end of the first reel.

Jon Danziger 2005-09-02