DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily Blu-ray Disc and DVD reviews.
Brother's Justice (2010)
Well Go USA
Blu-ray Disc: 7/12/2011
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/11/2011
Who first coined the term "fauxumentary"? Were there fauxumentaries before This is Spinal Tap? (Actually, the answer to that question is yes, as The Rutles: All You Need is Cash came out in 1978.) In case you're not familiar with the name, a fauxumentary is a movie which looks just like a real documentary, but it's subject matter is fiction, or at least partly fiction. (And I'm speaking of comedic fauxumentaries here. I don't place things like The Blair Witch Project in this category.) You know that a fauxumentary is working when it makes you ask, "Is this real?" What happens when one of these films runs into a vanity project? Then you get a film like Brother's Justice which blurs the lines of reality to a disorienting point.
By 2006, actor Dax Shepard had gone from appearing on the Ashton Kutcher MTV show Punk'd to making movies like Employee of the Month and Zathura. While this success would have pleased most actors, Dax wanted more. Brother's Justice documents how Shepard came up with the idea to do an martial-arts based action movie called "Brother's Justice". He presents this idea to his friend Nate Tuck, who has done some work as a producer, and they begin to present the pitch around town. However, the movie's story is a bit too vague and people aren't buying the idea of Dax as an action star. So, Dax and Nate decide to take a two-pronged approach. First, Dax buys a gi (pronounced "ge", otherwise known as a karate outfit) and he begins to workout. Secondly, Dax approaches some of his friends in the industry to see if they would be interested in the project. The results are mixed to say the least. Dax doesn't take the rejections very well and it begins to put a strain on him.
Apparently, Brother's Justice is a successful fauxumentary, because from the outset, I was asking, "It this real?" Shepard has clearly put a lot of work into this, as the project was in motion as far back as 2006. Back then, Shepard appeared on television shows, such as the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards, dressed in his gi and doing karate kicks. (The movie's "story" opens in 2006.) A joke comes along pretty quickly that lets the audience know that what we are watching probably isn't real, but the movie doesn't let go of the illusion. Shepard shows some pretty good acting here, as he's dedicated to this idea of changing his reputation. He's also done a great job of wrangling his buddies to be in the movie, and these appearances, while not necessarily A-list, lend the story some credence.
However, the movie also had me asking, "What's the point?" The movie wants to illustrate, in a bizarre way, how hard it is to get a project off the ground in Hollywood. So, we are treated to scene after scene of Shepard either getting shot down or trying something new to improve his karate street cred. But, even at a running time of 80 minutes, the movie becomes very redundant and doesn't seem to go anywhere. Yes, there are some funny moments here, but they are few and far between. I don't dislike Dax Shepard, but I don't like him so much that I can watch him drive around or jump around while I wait for the next joke to come along. I don't think it's a great leap to assume that the much of the movie was improvised, and, to be brutally honest, this movie needed more scripted jokes.
I never begrudge anyone for doing something different, so it's interesting to see Dax Shepard, who seems like someone who just falls into roles, making something which falls slightly outside of the box. The cameos make the movie worth seeing, and again, I laughed a few times, but given the amount of planning which clearly went into the movie, it feels like a rough draft.
Brother's Justice made me want to know more about why Dax drives a truck on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Well Go USA. The movie has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc carries an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 26 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no grain and no defects from the source material. The movie looks like it was shot on mid-range HD cameras, as the picture remains stable, but there is some pixelating at times. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The Disc carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and a constant 640 kbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The bulk of the audio remains in the center and front channels, but the musical cues do come from the rear. Also, the movie contains a few faux trailers, and these have some mild surround effects.
The Brother's Justice Blu-ray Disc contains only a few extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Dax Shepard, Nate Tuck, and David Palmer. The Disc offers eight DELETED SCENES which run about 22 minutes. This contains the entire scene with Seth Green which is glimpsed in the closing credits. But, other than that, this are mostly extended scenes or new scenes which simply show more of what we already saw in the movie. Oddly the deleted scenes offer a Linear PCM 2-channel audio track which run at a constant 1.5 Mbps. Why would the deleted scenes have a lossless track, but not the main feature?
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2011.