Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Here Comes the Boom Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Former college wrestler Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a 42-year-old biology teacher in a failing high school. When cutbacks threaten to cancel the music program and lay off its teacher (Henry Winkler), Scott begins to raise money by moonlighting as a mixed martial arts fighter. Everyone thinks Scott is crazy – most of all the school nurse, Bella (Salma Hayek). But in his quest, as Scott becomes more and more committed to fighting for the students, he becomes a sensation that rallies the entire school.

Film (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Scott Voss (Kevin James) is a high school science teacher in a struggling high school. When budget cuts need to be made, the principal decides that the music program is going to go. This includes laying off the music teacher (Henry Winkler). Scott decides that he can’t let that happen and promises to come up with the money to save the program and the teacher’s job.

Scott’s plan involves mixed martial arts fighting after he learns that fighters make money even when they lose. He was a wrestler in college, and figures it can’t be that different. Scott has few supporters, but the school 's nurse Bella (Salma Hayek) is in his corner. She brings in small contributions from her bake sale and believes in Scott when no one else does.

Just as Scott gets close to his goal, the rug is pulled out from under him as the money is lost. At that point he realizes that he needs to win to save his friend’s job and the only way he can do that is to win a big fight in Vegas.  Even though the odds are against him, Scott knows that he has to prevail somehow. In the end will his heart make up for the lack of professional training?

Here Comes the Boom features an eclectic cast – Kevin James, Salma Hayek and Henry Winkler.  This is probably not a film I would have ever watched, if not given the chance to review it. You can’t take anything about it seriously.  Kevin James is just slightly believable as a fighter, but that’s enough to make it work for me. I was able to suspend  enough disbelief  to accept him as a fighter and even as someone that had a shot with Salma Hayek. For me, Henry Winkler makes the whole thing work, making you feel for the music teacher and he's the best part of the film.  

Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

Here Comes the Boom is impressively presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.85:1 ratio.  I can’t imagine a theatrical release looking much better than this Blu-ray.  The details are numerous and in sharp focus – from the beads of sweat to the texture of the various rings the fights are held in. Black levels are solid and dark and the skin tones are accurate and consistent throughout the movie.  Colors are also reproduced extremely well and are brilliant in all of their multi-hued intensity.

Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

While the story could have been a little better, the audio presentation rivals the video.  This DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 mix does an exceptional job reproducing the sound effects, dialogue and ambient noise. You can feel each punch land and the crowds' roar.  This is an excellent mix that really brings the movie to life and will make the  fans of the movie happy.

Extras (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)

I was surprised to find so many extras on this disc and they were all pretty enjoyable.  Here's what you can find on this disc:
  • Deleted Scenes – A lengthy selection of deleted scenes including an original ending for the film.
  • Gag Reel
  • Here Comes the Cast – Basically a featurette with Producer, Director and primary actors discussing the film, fighting and working together.
  • Gino v. Ritchie – Challenge fight between a producer and Kevin James’ stand in.
  • Back to School – The recently closed Quincy High School serves as Wilkinson High in the film.
  • Learn How to Fight – Kevin James’ journey to get in shape and train in preparation for the film.
  • Three Amigos – Henry Winkler, Mark Delagrotte and Bas Rutten are an unlikely trio supporting Kevin James’ character in the film. The making of the food fight is included in this feature.
  • The Pros – A long list of Mixed Martial Arts professionals are featured in the film.
  • Disco Street Fighting – Detailed instructions for disco street fighting as taught by character Nico in the movie.

Final Thoughts (4 out of 5 stars)

The story was far from perfect but the impeccable audio and video presentations combined with detailed special features equal a 4 out of 5 stars overall for Here Comes the Boom.  It’s a lot of stupid humor and I wish that they had not used a vomit sequence since vomit is the one thing that’s never funny (to me).  I can’t think of any world where Kevin James is friends with Henry Winkler and romantically involved with Salma Hayek, but it works for me somehow in this movie.  It’s obvious that there are some real fighters in the film, and it adds to the slight believability of the whole concept.  Here Comes the Boom is definitely worth a viewing, but for me once was enough.

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