March 27, 2006

The Dukes Of Hazzard (2005)
Warner Home Video

110 mins. · PG-13
Letterboxed · 2.35:1

Format
UMD

Audio
E

Subtitles
Norwegian

Extras


Starring
Johnny Knoxville, Elton LeBlanc, Seann William Scott, Jessica Simpson

Review by
John Nieves


Rating



(2005)

It seems as though there has been a trend in Hollywood over the past few years where movies based on TV shows either have been made, or are definitely in the works. "Charlie's Angels," "Starsky and Hutch," "Scooby Doo," and the "Honeymooners" are but a few examples of TV shows made into movies recently. "Magnum P.I," "Transformers," and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" are all movies that are in the works and plan to release sometime in the next year or two

"The Dukes of Hazzard" is based on the 80's TV show of the same name. Being a child of the 80's, I have very fond memories of watching this show. The General Lee is the second coolest car (you have to give the nod to K.I.T.T, I mean he can freakin' talk!) in TV history.

In the original TV show, "The Dukes of Hazzard" had to do with head honcho Boss Hogg's plans to either A) attain the Duke farm away from the Duke's or B) Somehow destroy Hazzard county for his own personal gain. Both of these plot points which were heavily explored in the TV series is a part of the storyline in the movie. These plot points are serviceable, if not predictable but it can work for this type of movie if done well and had worked for the TV show for the six seasons it was aired.

With that said, how can you screw up a "Dukes of Hazzard" movie? All you need is a bit of Hazzard's formulatic storytelling, the General Lee getting chased by a few cops while clearing a few chasms in slow mo, and a little bit of Daisy Dukes T and A and you should be good to go…right? WRONG. The Dukes movie has a ton of things going against it with very little going for it.

The first thing this movie did wrong is the horrible casting decisions that were made. Johnny Knoxville and Sean William Scott are the least likely actors to play two country boys. Their performances are more like extensions of previous work they have done and less like a portrayal of Bo and Luke Duke. Their acting is only equaled in craptitude by their faux southern accents. In fact, as far as the cast is concerned, the only redeeming casting choice was Jessica Simpson, and only because of her assets, not her acting.

The story premises I mentioned earlier were not expanded upon at all. Instead of getting a fun, action oriented story we get storylines that were shown on the Duke of Hazzard TV show in 30 minutes an episode, crammed with filler to last almost 2 hours in movie form. The director also decided to make it more into a teen comedy, referencing drug use, making Luke a man whore, and having the Duke boys have a total disregard for obeying the law. This deviates from the TV show and doesn't lend itself well to the film. In fact, none of the comedic moments were genuinely funny. The only scene I found humorous showed Luke and Bo in Atlanta driving the General Lee while passer bys would make comments about the confederate flag on top of their car.

Not only that, but there are plot holes scattered throughout the movie. For example in one scene the Duke boys find themselves in the back of a police car because of their antics, so Daisy Duke creates a distraction by having her car break down so the police would stop to help. When the cops return to the cop car after helping Daisy, the Duke boys somehow found their way out. Considering that cop cars don't unlock from the inside, exactly how did they escape? There are a few other plot holes that will have you rolling your eyes that found their way into the movie. Overall, I found this movie to be pretty bad. The acting was bad, the casting was worse, and the jokes weren't funny. I can't recommend this movie any less.

The video in "The Dukes of Hazzard" is presented in 2:35.1. This means that there are some sizable bars on the top and bottom of the screen in order for the video to retain its OAR. The brightness in this UMD release is too high and the video isn't as crisp and clear as it could have been. Considering that the PSP doesn't have any brightness or contrast settings, it's up to the people coming out with the UMD version of the film to make sure that the color and brightness levels are right on the money. I wouldn't say this UMD transfer is bad, but I've seen a lot better.

The audio fares a bit better than the video, but not by a whole lot. There is only a limited amount of directional audio used, but at least the volume level is set reasonably high. Although the audio is better than the video transfer, that isn't saying much.

What sucks worse than this movie? Why, the extras of course. Actually that's a false statement because this UMD would have to have extras to actually suck at having them. Having no extras whatsoever on a UMD release is unforgivable, and this movie doesn't expect an apology. It's as if they didn't even try when releasing this for the PSP. We don't even get English subtitles but inexplicably get Norwegian subtitles in their place. I'm not sure that I would recommend the DVD version of this film, much less the UMD version. It's stupid, immature, derivative, and the "Dukes of Hazzard" name deserved far more than this. The fact that the UMD release of this film has no extras only solidifies the decision to skip this that you should have already made.


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