Dreamworks Home Entertainment
Cast: Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, James Gandolfini
Extras: Commentary Track, Making of Featurette, Deleted Scenes, Production Notes, Theatrical Trailers, Cast and Crew Bios
Jerry Wallbach (Brad Pitt) is having a bad five years. A bad three hours would be enough for Jerry to create all sorts of problems in his life, so you can imagine what five years has done. It all started when he, like so many of us, let his mind slip while behind the wheel and ran a red light. Only, he didn’t make it through the intersection. What’s worse, he ran into the last man on the face of the Earth you would want to run into. Fortunately for Jerry, this man would go to prison when the police discovered a certain something he had in his car. Unfortunately for Jerry, this man had a lot of friends. Friends who think Jerry is indebted to this man until he is released from prison. So Jerry has been running a lot of "errands" and doing a lot of "jobs" for these less than reputable people for the past five years. His love life, needless to say, has suffered a bit because of this. His girlfriend Samantha (Julia Roberts) wants nothing more than to move to Vegas to be a waitress. When the date to do this with Jerry finally arrives, so does another favor for the gangsters. What Jerry thought was his last job, wasn’t. Now he’s been ordered to get to Mexico and bring back a pistol with a history, known as the Mexican. Samantha, naturally, does not like the sound of this whatsoever and issues Jerry an ultimatum: if he gets on the plane, then he gets out of their relationship for good. So Jerry gets on the plane (what good’s a girlfriend if you’re dead?) and heads south of the border, somehow hoping he can pull off the two toughest jobs of his life at the same time.
"The Mexican" is much better than the cool hand it was undeservedly dealt at the box office, in part due to critics who seem to be more focused on star-power than content – one of the major complaints was the fairly limited on-screen time of Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts together. Like that matters… Nonetheless, they both put in great performances and above the two mega-stars towers James Gandolfini as the prime scene-stealer in this film. He’s trading in one tough guy character for another, but his is easily the most relaxed, natural performance in the film, and he has some of the greatest and most unexpected moments.
Dreamworks Home Entertainment presents us with an <$16x9,anamorphic> <$PS,widescreen> transfer of "The Mexican" in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio that is as close to flawless as you will ever see. The film is very colorful for the most part, and the color schemes are represented here with zero bleed and luminance without ever seeming unnatural. Detail is extremely sharp and crisp, just watch the scene where Jerry tries to cross the road in Mexico. It’s as if you can literally feel him sweating. The transfer is free if edge-enhancement artifacts, maintaining a very film-like look that greatly enhances the overall presentation of the movie. Black level is also perfect and the transfer succeeds most due to the outstanding condition of the print. True, most recent films will have transfers made from essentially clean prints, but it’s not always the case and even still – there’s just nothing wrong with this one! The compression is as expected flawless and you won’t find a hint of compression artifact anywhere on this release.
The audio is given equally impressive treatment in the inclusions of both a <$5.1,5.1 channel> <$DD,Dolby Digital> and a <$DTS,DTS> track – which are rounded out by an additional <$DS,Dolby Surround> track. While both sound pretty darn good, it should be noted that this is not an action film and, with the exception of a few gunshots and a small car chase, a very dialogue driven soundtrack. While it’s not a disc you’ll be using to show off your system, the mix is very effective and the dialogue is clear and strong. DTS purists may find a subtle difference between the track and the Dolby Digital one, but it’ll be a very subtle one indeed. Also of note, is Alan Silvestri’s playful score, which always seem to perfectly emphasize the extent of Jerry’s clueless situation.
"The Mexican" is a shining example that modern cinema doesn’t have to be mindless. Using modern themes and current cinematic styles, "The Mexican" is as hip as any film out there, but manages to maintain an interesting premise, exciting characters and a well-written script that makes sense. Combined with Dreamworks’ efforts to turn this into a top notch DVD release, the verdict is simple. Give this disc a try. I am sure you will enjoy what you see.