Raging Bull (1980) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama
MGM || R - 129 minutes - $34.98 || February 10, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-03-26


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer(s): Jake LaMotta and Joseph Carter & Peter Savage (book); Paul Schrader and Mardik Martin (screenplay)
Cast: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto


Theatrical Release Date: December 19, 1980


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 3 Feature Commentaries
  • Documentary
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), Turkish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Portuguese, Cantonese, Korean, Spanish, Mandarin, Thai

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.::THE FILM::.

Jake La Motta (Robert De Niro) is a boxer who has a huge undefeated streak going into his fight tonight. Heís been struggling though the first few rounds, until the final round when he wails on his opponent and almost knocks him out. The bell rings though, prompting the end of the fight. Jake knows he has the fight won, but the judges give the victory to his opponent instead. His trainer and brother Joey (Joe Pesci) tells him to stay in the ring anyways, since he won the fight. They stay in the ring until a chair is lobbed into it and rioting begins since Motta lost the match.

Salvy Batts (Frank Vincent) and Joey are discussing the next day about Jakeís future in the boxing ring, which could have caused him the championship fight later on his career. Itís now Joeyís job to talk to his brother about trying to move on from the one fight and get back to winning. Later in the day Jake and Joey head down to the pool and Jake spots a girl that catches his eye, Vickie (Cathy Moriarty), who Joey tries to get Jake the heck away from her. He tells her sheís one of those girls who wonít sleep with you right away that you have to wine and dine them basically. Joey reminds his brother that heís married and to leave the young girls for him.

The duo goes out late at night, much to the chagrin of his wife and causes a ruckus to say the least in the apartment complex. She screeches at him not to go out and if he does then she would, and Joey just replies whatever. The two head out to a dancing club and he spots Vickie yet again when trouble erupts and people are thrown out of the club. Joey sees Vickie at the pool the next day and introduces the two to each other, where they hit it off, well, sort of. Joey is pretty much out of his game and the two stare awkwardly at one another and she asks for a ride in his car. They drive out to play some put-put golf, where they bond even more.

The next bout Jake kicks the crap out of his opponent, giving him his first loss in his career. He wins basically by unanimous verdict from the judges, and returns home to Vickie where they kiss among other things. Motivated by his new relationship with her, he goes into his next bout with hopes high, but loses to the judgeís decision even though he knocked his opponent down near the end of the fight yet again. Joey thinks itís because his opponent is going into the army soon, hence why they gave him the win. It doesnít matter though, as Vickie and Jake get married shortly thereafter.

Joey and Jake later discuss the option of a title shot, and about Jakeís weight and how theyíre betting more money on his upcoming fights. If he can win the next fight, then heís granted a title shot since there wonít be anyone left to give the option to. Can Jake capture the gold while keeping his new bride happy?

I donít really enjoy old films, and after watching this it didnít change my opinion much. While the acting is great, the cast perfect, and everything else to do with the movie great, I just donít think it deserves being called one of the best films of the decade. Itís a good movie, but not something I would watch again due to the length and slow pacing of the film.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary by Director Martin Scorsese and Editor Thelma Schoonmaker: The two discuss background of the film as well as praise De Niro and the rest of this cast in an amazing commentary. The downside is there is a little bit of dead air here and there where the two struggle to find topics to talk about. It still is a great commentary and deserves a listen.

Cast and Crew Commentary: A slew of people join together for this commentary that keeps the pace for most of the film unlike the previous commentary, but thatís only because of the sheer number of people on this track. Itís good, but nowhere near as enjoying as the previous track.

Storytellers Commentary: Finally, Motta himself and his Nephew join together for this track that is both entertaining and insightful. Motta talks a bunch in this track, so if you enjoyed the movie at all then I suggest listening to this track.

Documentary (83 minutes): A 4-part documentary that is lengthy which deals with various topics, such as the writing of the film, interviews with the cast, and the result of the movie on the world. Itís long but has a ton of information that pertains to the movie and the background is interesting, so if you enjoyed the film and want to know more about Motta and the cast then by all means watch all four parts.

The Bronx Bull (28 minutes): The background of the fighter from the movie is discussed about, although this feature is similar to one of the documentary features. Itís another historical special feature, so for those interested in knowing more about Motta be sure to check this out as well.

De Niro vs La Motta (4 minutes): This short feature gives a shot-by-shot comparison in the ring of actual events.

La Motta Defends Title (1 minute): Vintage news footage from Mottaís career from the fight where he defended his title.

Finally, the filmís Theatrical Trailer is included.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The movie is presented in its original black and white color, which has problems that are visible from the start. There is major noise and grain that is present throughout the entire movie. At times it gets to be distracting and overpowering. I canít comment on the colors of the film, since there arenít any, nor can I about the flesh tones or anything else of that nature. It looks fine, great for a film nearly twenty-eight years old, but the grain and noise prevent this from being better than it actually is.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that accompanies the movie is also not up to par with other releases, but does a fine job for an older flick. Surround usage is minimal, as my surrounds were engaged only a handful of times as the film progressed. Dialogue levels were consistent for the most part, although there were a few times where the sound was lower than it should have been. It sounds great for such a classic movie, but itís nowhere near reference material.



.::OVERALL::.

I understand that many people think this is one of the best films ever, but I just didnít find it as enjoying as others have. So if you already know you like it, then by all means purchase it, as the technical side is above average and the special features are all ported over from the special edition DVD released a few years back. This isnít a complete knockout for me, but for you things may be different.