Pierce Brosnan as a hit man, something were all used to with the James Bond franchise, but this time heï¿½s not killing for the good guys. Instead he is a freelance assassin traveling the globe killing whoever heï¿½s told and for good money too. But comparing Pierceï¿½s role in this film to James Bond isnï¿½t exactly fair, although the characters share some similarities; you really have to watch this one to appreciate the uniqueness of the character.
Pierce Brosnan stars as Julian Noble, a jaded assassin visiting Mexico on business, donï¿½t expect the same Pierce youï¿½ve seen as James Bond as of late. Instead he plays a much deeper and more troubled assassin, which makes this movie both funny and dramatic. Greg Kinnear plays Danny Wright an edgy salesman on his last whim hoping to land an account with a big client whilst in Mexico. The moment these two meet in the hotel bar the humor, dark at times, begins. They exchange awkward conversation, which ultimately results in Danny taking off in a huff because of an offensive comment made by Julian. The next morning the two meet again, Danny not wanting anything to do with this mysterious stranger, but Julian is sincerely sorry and offers up tickets to see a local bull fight. This is where the real fun begins as Julian reveals his profession, and even feels he has to somehow prove he is telling the truth. The two form an awkward yet undeniable bond and part ways from Mexico. Things really take a turn for the worst beyond there, Julian is undergoing a mid life crisis, causing him to rethink his profession and ultimately resulting a hit put out on him. Apparently this guy has no other friends, so guess whose door he goes knocking on?
The Matador is filled with much humorous dialogue, and even at times can be very dramatic. It is a perfect mixture of the two and Pierce Brosnan performs better than I have ever seen him do before. His character is much deeper than what he appears to be on the surface, as apparent by his developing conscience throughout the movie. Of course, it wouldnï¿½t be a Pierce film without some sexual innuendoes and witty banter, so be prepared for that as well. Greg Kinnear plays a good role as well, not as deep and much more predictable but thatï¿½s part of his charm. Together the two opposites come together and somehow form a strong friendship.
The laughs are never cheap, and the dialogue is well thought out. The Matador pulls through to be a well thought out dark comedy with great acting all around.
Presented in 1080p 2.35:1 aspect ratio, I wasnï¿½t expecting much from The Matador; with it being part of the first batch of Weinstein Company releases for HD DVD and all. As it turns out, it went completely above my expectations and offers a wonderful video presentation. Right from the start of the film it was great to see the solid colors, especially the deep blacks that contained no grain or artifacts. Facial details were extremely impressive, showing Brosnans every wrinkle down to his individual hairs in his mustache. The aging Brosnan still looks good in HD, although we can see why it was time for him to depart from Bond. Flesh tones were also done near flawlessly, looking very realistic throughout the film. Aside from a few scenes that contain a little unintentional grain, The Matador offers one of the finest transfers seen on HD DVD.
The Matador is a front heavy track that offers few rear channel sounds throughout its duration. In fact the scene in which a Porsche blows up is really the only scene that effectively used all 5.1 channels. That is not to say that the audio track is poor, as it does offer a very solid presentation. Aside from a few balancing issues, everything sounds clear and crisp, including all of the dialogue. Even with this I was somewhat disappointed in the lack of polish of the track. Had they included a track that utilized the bass and rear channels more effectively, it would have been another near perfect Dolby Digital 5.1 transfer.
We are given a handful of special features all that are worth checking out. The commentary track is surprisingly entertaining, as are the eleven deleted scenes.
- Feature Commentary with Writer and Director Richards Shepard, Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear
- Deleted Scenes ï¿½ 11 deleted scenes, all worth checking out as they add a bit of depth to the story, and even worth a laugh or two. Included is optional commentary with the director.
- Making The Matador Featurette ï¿½ A feature about the making of The Matador, on location in Mexico City, although interesting it is very short and leaves you wanting more.
- The Business & The Treatment: Feature Radio Programs Discuss The Matador ï¿½ Two interviews originally produced for the radio with director Richard Shepard, a lot of the comments made here can be heard on the commentary played throughout the movie, such as the steps it took to getting this film made, and his experiences debuting the movie. Both very interesting though and a good listen.
- TV Commercial & Theatrical Trailer
If youï¿½re in the mood for some quality laughs this is definitely worth checking out, an overlooked high quality film. The dialogue is witty and humorous, as would be expected in a movie about a hit man going through a mid life crisis. If youï¿½re a fan of Pierce Brosnan, check this one out because youï¿½ll be more impressed with him than ever. For those of you that are already fans of the movie, the HD DVD is a definite buy with a few impressive special features, and a superb video transfer.
Special Features List
- Feature Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Making The Matador Featurette
- Making The Matador Featurette
- TV Commercial
- Theatrical Trailer