Get Shorty was one of the best films of the mid 90’s. I have seen it about five or six times and it is one of those rare movies that you see something new every time you watch it. It had amazing dialog, good action and this style to the whole movie was just uncanny. The movie was a film where one had to think but at the same time could enjoy themselves. So, when the sequel Be Cool dropped on blu-ray, would I be able to enjoy it as much as the original?
Chili Palmer (played by John Travolta) and Tommy Athens (played by James Woods) are riding along in the car talking about the movie business. Chili has been a producer for a few years now and is starting to think that he needs out. Tommy is half owner of NTL Records and pitches an idea about a movie involving his story as a music producer. They pass by a Get Lost movie poster with Martin Weir (played by Danny DeVito).
Darn Sequels. (Get Lost is the sequel to Get Leo, the first film’s “production”.) The two decide to head to a coffee shop to talk about the business and the pitch. Chili goes inside while Tommy sits down at a nearby table. All of the sudden, a car pulls up and a Russian with a bad hair piece gets out (played by Alex Kubik). He starts to shoot at Tommy. Six or seven shots later, Tommy goes down (and so does Chili’s Oldsmobile Silhouette) and the Russian runs away.
Chili comes back outside to discover Tommy dead and talks to the police. His car is also replaced with the fuel efficient Honda Insight, a step down for sure. Chili is off to the Viper Room where he briefly runs into Martin Weir outside. Inside, Linda Moon (played by Christina Milian) is performing. She finishes her set, changes clothes and starts to walk towards Chili. Her manager, Raji Lowenthal (played by Vince Vaughn) tries to call her back.
Raji also has a bodyguard with him named Elliot (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). They are unsuccessful in their attempt but continue to mock Linda as she tries to talk to Chili. Soon Chili gets tired of the relentless mocking from the other side of the room and gets up to confront Raji and Elliot. He tells them that he is taking over, Linda’s contract now belongs to him and that is the way it is going to be. This meets some opposition from Elliot but Chili takes him to the ground easily.
Chili decides to pay a visit to Tommy’s place where his wife, Edie (played by Uma Thurman) is out on the back patio tanning. He notices an Aerosmith tattoo on her rear and strikes up a conversation. As it turns out, Tommy owed $300,000 to a hip-hop record producer named Sin LaSalle (played by Cedric the Entertainer). Chili has a plan and he wants Edie to take on Linda Moon and her contract. After a demonstration, Edie realizes they have a superstar in the making.
Meanwhile, Raj and Elliot go back to their boss, Nick Carr (played by Harvey Keitel) and demand something be done about Chili. He tells them to go hire Joe Loop (played by Robert Pastorelli), an eccentric hit man. One producer wants the money owed to him, another wants the girl back and her contract, and then there are always the Russians who whacked Tommy. Something tells me that Edie’s assistant Tiffany (played by Kimberly J. Brown) might just be holding a photograph that could hold the key to that identity.
Be Cool can be described as one of those ensemble movies like Oceans Eleven or Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World where every time you turn around, boom another star. The movie is a lot of fun but the standout performance here is again, John Travolta. He absolutely nails the part again and despite the movie being toned down, he plays the role just as hard edged. In fact, arguably there is not a bad performance in the cast except perhaps Joe Loop which I did not get at all.
The film is very funny and one has to love the nods to the first movie and the plethora of inside jokes at the movie and music industry. The misstep here mainly lies in the transformation of an “R” rated movie (the first one) to the dreaded “PG-13” (the sequel). Much of the grittiness is gone and is replaced by almost slapstick comedy. Dialog is also weaker as I hate to say it, cursing mattered in the first film especially with inflection. But the thing that saves the movie is that Chili never changes and the film is still lots of fun.
The video is in 2.40:1 widescreen presentation at 1080p resolution. The color is excellent and there is a ton of pizzazz in the film to supplement this. Uma Thurman looks nothing short of amazing and everything just really stands out. Locations, distinct objects (like the red baseball bat), and people all look great. This is one of the better discs that I have seen this year and a quality video production.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 DTS-HD track for English (also included is 2.0 Spanish track and a 5.1 DTS French Track). Equally strong is the audio. Music is used quite a bit and surrounds the film in a wave of quality sound. There is plenty of punch to various sound effects that will use all of your speakers effectively. The only problem here is some of the dialog which gets lost in a few un-audible whispers. But otherwise it is very clear. Subtitles are also included for English SDH, French and Spanish.
- Be Cool, Very Cool: Making of Documentary 21:36: The standard making of documentary which takes all of the characters in the movie and analyzes them along with the cast.
- Deleted Scenes 17:31: Fourteen are included here. Some good extra cameos are here including the likes of Patti Labelle, Anna Nicole Smith, Seth Green, and Fred Durst. There is also an entire “Busting Balls” bit that was cut out entirely in this movie. Sound is also a bit off, but this is a good collection.
- Gag Reel 7:20 : Fun collection of laughs, there is a lot of dancing and swaying too to complete the mood.
- Music Video: The Rock as Elliot Wilhelm “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man” 4:06 : Words can not express how awesomely terrible this is. This is a laugh fest and a very open look at the Rock in one of his best roles to date.
- Close Up: Dance Partners 3:35 : This goes over the Travolta/Thurman dance segment and their work with the choreographer, Fatima Robinson.
- Close Up: The Rock 6:01 : This is focused on Mr. Dwayne Johnson also known as the Rock. He makes the transition from the wrestling world to a very unique bodyguard. Dwayne is in full showmanship mode and this is a very funny featurette even when he dons the cowboy gear.
- Close Up: Andre 3000 4:24 : Andre 3000 or Andre Benjamin is part of the group Outkast and is considered a virtuoso of fashion. Here he plays the role of Dabu who is an anti-fashion plate of sorts. He talks about how he had to let wardrobe do the costume choice.
- Close Up: Cedric the Entertainer 5:26 : This movie really had a lot of fish out of water characters. Cedric plays a tough guy and is not his typical comedic self (though he did have a few funny parts). He talks about that transition.
- Close Up: Christina Milian 5:26 :The final segment involves the beautiful Ms. Milian. She actually learned how to play piano for this part and proves that she can be the total package. There is also a little bit explained of the acting relationship between her and Vince Vaughn.
- Original Trailer 2:22: The theatrical trailer is the last extra as we finish up a very nice extras package.
Notes: Quick note, but yeah this is another Fox lazy catalog release. The extras are fantastic but the presentation is lousy with a typical grey background. Throw that in with an eco-case and you have your typical Fox catalog level blu-ray.
Be Cool despite being more of a film about comedy rather than serious drama (with sprinkles of laughs) works in its own way. The ensemble cast creates a great lineup of characters that has a ton of likeable personalities. John Travolta and Uma Thurman re-ignite their dynamic relationship on camera and it becomes the centerpiece of the production. The film is a suitable sequel for a fantastic picture.
The disc (outside of the lazy presentation) is wonderful in both video and audio. The extras are as good as you can get without a commentary and should really get fans to like the movie even more. This gets an easy recommendation, and while you don’t have to watch the first movie to get the plot, it sure helps. Director F. Gary Gray did a good job with the material, he did well with Be Cool and Law Abiding Citizen, hopes he does the same with Kane & Lynch.