This film has an all-star cast, and a very funny story. This Special Edition release of Bandits is very good… and the film should entertain.
Loosely based on a true story, Bandits tells the tale of Joe (Bruce Willis) and Terry (Billy Bob Thornton), two convicts who break out of prison and stage a daring series of bank robberies by taking the bank manager hostage the night BEFORE the robbery, then getting him to open up the bank. Joe is the ladies man and prone to…bursts of anger. Terry is a raving hypochondriac. Between then comes Kate (Cate Blanchett), a neurotic perfectly suited to appeal to both.
Bruce Willis continues to forge his post-action hero career, properly launched with The Sixth Sense, with this comedy/character piece. Sure, there are bank robberies and car chases, but the emphasis here is on the eccentric characters bouncing off each other.
An excellent soundtrack, almost beyond reproach. No distortion whatsoever (important, given how much shouting Thornton engages in). The music and sound effects have a powerful presence both front and rear, creating a full environment – hard to see any missed opportunities here. The left-right separation isn’t half bad either.
The print looks good, and the transfer is trouble free (no pixilation and so on). The colours are solid too. I would like them just a little bit brighter, the flesh tones a fraction more natural, but these are essentially minor quibbles. The film comes in both 2.35:1 enhanced widescreen and full screen.
Very neat menu. When the disc first loads, you have to choose between Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton, and the character you choose dominates all subsequent pages, both in action and in comments. A nice little bit of gratuitous creativity. In fact, the menu is more elaborate than most of the extras. You have four deleted scenes (viewable individually or straight through); an alternate ending (viewable unfinished or with commentary by Cate Blanchett); “Inside Bandits,” a documentary featurette (rather more informative than most of its kind) that covers the film from inception to completion; “Creating Shot 71,” another featurette that shows how this scene evolved as it was filmed (you can then jump straight to the actual scene in the film from the featurette); and trailers for Bandits, its soundtrack, Windtalkers, Hart’s War, and the Rocky Special Edition DVD.
Excellent presentation of this disc – one of the more inventive menus I’ve come across. A commentary would have been nice, but there are still some interesting features. All-in-all, this is a very good disc.
Special Features List
- Alternate Ending
- Deleted Scenes
- “Inside Bandits” featurette
- “Creating Scene 71” featurette
- Theatrical Trailer