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Super Troopers (2001)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 12/9/2008
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 12/14/2008
I've written in the past about the lack of original ideas in American films. This is meant in no way to imply that American films aren't good, but we rarely see anything truly original. When it comes to comedies, most movies are either straight-ahead "silly" movies, romantic-comedies, or spoofs/satires. That last category usually picks a topic or genre and pokes fun at it. At first glance, the film Super Troopers could be labeled as a satire, as it appears to be making fun of police movies. But, a closer examination of the film shows that it's its own creature.
Super Troopers is set in the small town of Spurbury, Vermont, and focuses on the state troopers who patrol the area. Led by Ramathorn (Jay Chandrasekhar), Troopers Mac (Steve Lemme), Rabbit (Eric Stolhanske), Foster (Paul Soter) do anything that they can to keep from really working. When they aren't playing mind-games with unsuspecting tourists, or fighting with the local police, they are teasing their fellow trooper Farva (Kevin Heffernan), who has been busted down to radio duty. The lives of these slackers are thrown into turmoil when two incidents occur; the first is that a dead body is found in an RV on the side of the road; the second is that the state troopers office is set to be closed due to state budget cuts. So, Captain O'Hagan (Brian Cox) urges the troopers to begin taking things seriously, solve the murder, and save their jobs. Can this group of slackers get the job done?
Super Troopers was made by a comedy troupe which calls themselves Broken Lizard. Comprised of Chandrasekhar, Lemme, Stolhanske, Soter, and Heffernan, the group made the movie on their own and sold it at Sundance. They then toured college campuses to promote the movie. It was released in the spring of 2002, and did fairly well. However, the movie gained a true cult following on home video.
Again, at first glance, Super Troopers appears to be a satire, but it isn't. It also looks like a stoner movie, but it's not really that either. While the film is far from original (the screwups who have to rally themselves premise is very old-hat), the movie does manage to walk a fine-line between several different genres. While there are many jokes about the police and their behavior, it never really skewers police films. There are a few raunchy moments, but it never wanders into T&A territory. Characters drink and use drugs, but it's not like a "party" movie. So, what is it?
The bottom line is that Super Troopers is a very funny movie, no matter what genre you attempt to lump it into. While there are some funny "situations" here (the bear scene, the gun-range scene), most of the humor comes from the characters themselves. The Broken Lizard guys have clearly made a conscience effort to give the characters individual personalities; Ramathorn attempts to be the serious one; Mac is the crazy one; Foster is the romantic; Rabbit, the rookie, just tries to keep up; and Farva, is the butt of all of the jokes. In the end, Farva steals the show and if you don't love to hate Farva, then you won't appreciate Super Troopers at all.
So, while the story in Super Troopers is not going to set the world on fire, the jokes will certainly put a smile on your face. The movie offers some physical comedy, some gross-out stuff, and some generally silliness. However, the bulk of the comedy comes from quick one-liners which are very quotable. There's a rumor that Broken Lizard is working on Super Troopers 2. If this is true, I can't wait.
Super Troopers meows ontoBlu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is very sharp and clear, showing only a slight amount of grain and no defects from the source material. The colors looks very good, most notably the blues and greens (the movie was shot in a very natural style). The depth is OK, but the detail to the image is very good. There are several close-ups of mouths in the film and whether we want to or not, we can see every pore on their face. Truth be told, I'm surprised by just how good this movie looks. The Disc offers a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are good, and are quite effective during the car chase scenes. These effects are nicely detailed, and we can make out every pebble being thrown by a spinning tire and the crowd noises at the news conference. The in-film music (provided by 80s rockers .38 Special) provides some great bass at times, but there is very little surround sound to be had here.
The Super Troopers Blu-ray Disc contains a handful of extra features. We begin with a pair of AUDIO COMMENTARIES. The first features Jay Chandrasekhar and Eric Stolhanske. The second has Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, and Paul Soter. Both of these commentaries were featured on the original DVD release fo the film, so they are somewhat dated now. However, they are both interesting, as the guys give detailed accounts of the film's production and generally make fun of one another. But, one can't help but wonder why they couldn't be together, as much of the information is repeated. The "Picture-in-Picture Commentary" is new and exclusive to the Blu-ray Disc. It features the five Broken Lizard guys, plus the "college boys", Andre Vippolis, Joey Kern, Geoffrey Arend, "local cops, Michael Weaver and James Grace, "German man" Philippe Brenninkmeyer, "Burger Guy" Charlie Finn. The group talks about the movie (now that they have a perspective on it) and the piece contains a few interstitials. Another new feature is "Stupor Troopers: The Drinking Game", an interactive feature. "Outtakes and Extended Scenes" offers an OUTTAKE REEL (16 minutes) and 14 EXTENDED SCENES (25 minutes), which can be viewed with optional commentary by Chandrasekhar and Stolhanske. (The new footage in the scenes are in color, while the stuff that we've seen is in black and white.) There are a few funny moments here. The Disc includes a "Featurette" (6 minutes), which is essentially an Electronic Press Kit, as it offers a lot of clips, and a few comments from the actors in character. "Road Trip News Wrap" (2 minutes) shows how the group went cross-country promoting the movie. The extras are rounded out by two THEATRICAL TRAILERS.
Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long