Starring: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Logia, F. Murray Abraham
Directed by: Brian DePalma
Written by: Oliver Stone
Runtime: 170 Minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: 9/6/2011
HTS Overall Score:81
Scarface is an epic American drama classic that was directed by Brian DePalma and written by Oliver Stone and stars Al Pacino in the role of Tony Montana. Tony is a Cuban refugee that comes to Miami, Florida during the 1980 Mariel boatlift crisis in which more than 100,000 Cubans were set adrift by boat between April and October of that year. The exodus became a political nightmare for President Jimmy Carter when it was learned that many of the exiles were in fact released from prisons and mental institutions.
Tony and his best friend Manny (Bauer) are immediately sent to a refugee camp where they live for until they are given an opportunity by a wealthy drug dealer to gain their freedom, and a green card, if they will only kill a former Cuban official who is hiding in the refugee camp. This sets in motion a series of “jobs” for Tony and Manny that will take them to the top and ultimately be their undoing.
Anyone who has seen Scarface or even heard about Scarface knows the controversy surrounding the graphic violence and language in this film. The film actually had to be cut three times before it could earn an ‘R’ rating for its ultraviolent content. Opening to mixed reviews, only two well respected film critics even rated it positively in 1983 however; the film now boasts 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and sits at number 147 on the IMDB top 250. If you’ve never seen Scarface and don’t have an aversion to the ultraviolent then I highly recommend you see this moral drama. If you don’t like movies such as Goodfellas or The Godfather 1&2 then I suggest you leave this one be as it is far more violent than those others.
R for Sequences of Strong Graphic Bloody Violence, Pervasive Drug Use and Strong Language, and some Sexual Content
Sadly the video transfer on Scarface does not hold up as well as the movie itself. Similarly to my recent review of Top Gun, Scarface has never looked better than it does in this transfer. That being said, what you get doesn’t look that great when compared to other transfers such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner or Casablanca. Resolution can be brilliant one moment and dull the next. Black levels were mediocre at best as scene after scene was bombarded with crushing and a lack of delineation. Color reproduction was about as reliable as the resolution; bright and popping one minute and muted the next. I noticed some digital inaccuracies with noise, but it wasn’t too distracting. Overall it’s a fair transfer that could have really used more attention. Still, this is the best that Scarface has ever looked.
Again, as with the video, the audio for Scarface was better than it has ever sounded; unfortunately it still isn’t what I would call impressive by any means. The sound design isn’t incedibly dynamic to begin with and those classic 80’s machine gun and shotgun sound effects tire rather quickly during the final stand at the mansion. They did add some directional material to the surrounds via the helicopters and riot scenes at the Little Havana refugee camp, but I thought this was rather gimmicky and didn’t add anything to the overall atmosphere to the movie. Overall this is not a bad 7.1 DTS-HD-MA for an almost 30 year old film, but nothing to write home about either.
- Say hello to the bad guy!
- Pushing the limit
- The world and everything in it
- Deleted scenes
- The world of Tony Montana
- The rebirth
- The acting
- The creating
- The making of Scarface: The video game
- Scarface: The TV version (comparative)
- U-Control Features:
- Scarface scoreboard
- Picture in Picture feature
- My Scenes bookmark feature
- BD-Live enabled
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
- pocket BLU
- Exclusive Limited Edition Features:
- DVD of The original Scarface
- 10 Collectible Art Cards
- SteelBook keep case
- Digital Copy
In general there are going to be two types of people for Scarface; those that hate it and those that love it. I am in the latter category and will probably always appreciate this film for the moral dilemmas that Tony fails so repeatedly and miserably at. Tony Montana gets what is coming to him in the end and the only thing I would have changed would’ve been a good old fashioned good guy and bad guys shoot out versus the bad guy vs. evil guy shootout that ensues. Of course the original ending is probably the most accurate; I still like to believe that good can triumph over evil. Scarface is a piece of 80’s nostalgia that has held up well over time, I only wish that studios would take a lesson or two from others on how to properly re-master a classic. Hopefully we’ll get a better version in a couple of years when the film turns 30 that will be more worthy of praise. Regretfully I can not recommend this as a buy because I truly believe fans of Scarface deserve a lot more effort than this one especially considering the $34.99 price tag; wait for the 30th anniversary edition.
Recommendation: Rent it!
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