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Here Comes the Boom (2012)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 2/5/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/14/2013
The genie is a mythical creature (often portrayed as male, but, as I Dream of Jeannie proved, can be a female) which has magical powers and can grant wishes. In most stories, it is three wishes. To the best of my knowledge, genies -- the magical creatures -- do not exist. But, there are some beings around who can grant wishes. Take Adam Sandler for example. Through his Happy Madison production company it appears that he grants the wishes of all of his friends and helps to get them to get their dream projects made. Some would say that he's simply looking out for those closest to him. Others would say that he simply can't say no to a project. Either way, the movies keep coming, with the latest being Here Comes the Boom.
Kevin James stars in Here Comes the Boom as Scott Voss, a science teacher at a struggling inner-city school. (Which, according to the movies, are the only kinds of schools there are anymore.) At one time, he was voted "Teacher of the Year", but now Scott can't get to work on time and doesn't try to motivate his students. However, he suddenly feels a spark again when it's announced that the school's music program, and thus, music teacher Marty Streb (Henry Winkler), will have to be cut out of the budget. Scott proclaims that he will find a way to raise the money to save the music. He begins teaching citizenship classes and there he meets Niko (Bas Rutten), a former MMA fighter. When Scott learns that these fighters get at least $10,000 for a fight, even if they lose, he asks Niko to train him. Niko is reluctant at first, but soon he and Mr. Streb are helping Scott to train and accompanying him to local matches. Thanks to experience as a wrestler in college, Scott knows a few moves, but he's unprepared for the brutality of MMA. With just a short amount of time to raise the money, Scott realizes that he must try to get on a major card in order to achieve his goal.
When it comes to movies, you can have cliched genres and cliches stories. No genre can get more cliched than the sports movie. I'm not exactly sure when the pattern was established (I know that Rocky help to solidify the modern formula), but nearly every sports movie follows the same pattern. We are introduced to an individual or a team which is either the new underdog or a former champ who is now down on their luck. As the story progresses, we watch them have their ups and downs, as they make their way to the ultimate battle. Hollywood loves sports movies with underdogs and even silly movies like The Benchwarmers or The Waterboy (both from Adam Sandler) stick to this mold. Here Comes the Boom definitely adheres to this blueprint, as we watch Scott go from bored high school teacher to a fighter attempting to win the big fight. The movie doesn't miss any of the standard highlights, as we see Scott train, see Scott taste defeat, see Scott find a woman who can motivate him (Salma Hayek), and see Scott overcome many obstacles to chase his dream. There are few surprises here as far as the overall framework of the film goes.
As for the film's basic premise, I must admit that it did have some fresh elements. I take that back -- it took some familiar elements and mixed them together in a different way. This is certainly the first school teacher becomes an MMA fighter movie that I've ever seen. (Although, I don't watch Jean Claude Van Damme movies. He could have easily done this story.) The idea of an everyman stepping forward to do something so noble is certainly interesting, even if it is a bit far-fetched. (Scott appears to appreciate music, but he's not a musician himself and it's never made 100% clear why he would risk life and limb to save the music department.) Although it's been around for quite some time now, we don't see MMA in many mainstream movies, so that was a somewhat fresh approach. The film makes a unique choice by casting the lead as someone who doesn't look like an athlete, as opposed to a fit actor who must "work" to get in shape as the film progresses.
While I'm not a fan of King of Queens, I've liked Kevin James in some of his projects and he's good here. He has a naturally likeable quality, which is somewhat challenged at first, as Scott doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities. But, this soon changes and we find ourselves cheering for this unlikely hero. That doesn't change the fact that Here Comes the Boom contains so many familiar and over-used ingredients that it won't blow the viewer away. It has some mildly funny moments and some mildly touching ones, but, in the end, the movie plays it safe and stays in the middle of the road, right along with many other Happy Madison productions.
Here Comes the Boom takes us by surprise by offering Henry Winkler in nearly every scene on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 28 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The level of detail is good, as we can see all of the sweat in the close-ups during the fights, and the image is never soft. The colors are good and the picture is never overly dark or bright. The depth is good, most notably in the wide shots of the fighting arenas. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track really comes to life during the fight scenes. The roar of the crowd fills the rear speakers and the punches get an emphasis from the subwoofer. The stereo effects are good and there are several crowd scenes where we get individual sounds coming from the right or left front channels.
The Here Comes the Boom Blu-ray Disc contains many extra features. The Disc offers 18 DELETED SCENES which run about 16 minutes. Some of these are quite brief, lasting only a few seconds. There are some new moments here, but some are simply longer versions of scenes from the film. There are no new characters or subplots here. We also get a 2-minute GAG REEL. "Here Comes the Cast" (6 minutes) contains comments from the cast and on-set footage showing the actors having a good time. "Gino vs. Ritchie" (4 minutes) shows us a "cage match" between two crew members, one of whom is Kevin James' stand-in. "Back to School" (4 minutes) explores the on-location shooting and the search for a school that worked for the movie. Kevin James experience with martial arts and his training for the film is examined in "Learning How to Fight" (9 minutes). "Three Amigos" (6 minutes) profiles Henry Winkler, Bas Rutten, and Mark Dellagrotte. We hear from the actual fighters featured in the movie in "The Pros" (3 minutes). "Disco Street Fighting" (2 minutes) has Rutten giving us a fighting lesson.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.