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Company of Heroes(2012)
No synopsis for Company of Heroes.
For more about Company of Heroes and the Company of Heroes Blu-ray release, see Company of Heroes Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 20, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Chad Michael Collins, Tom Sizemore, Vinnie Jones, Neal McDonough, Jürgen Prochnow, Dimitri Diatchenko
Director: Don Michael Paul
» See full cast & crew
Company of Heroes Blu-ray Review
The War film as entertainment is back.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 20, 2013
Your country is counting on you.
It might have been born a video game, but in the filmed adaptation of Company of Heroes, audiences will find a hearty, entertaining War picture with shades of all the big ones, including The Dirty Dozen, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and Inglourious Basterds. This is a flawed but nevertheless fun and thrilling Adventure film that's certainly not as polished as some of its contemporaries; it just doesn't have the budget, and it shows. Yet there's a lot to like, particularly from a War movie fan's perspective. It's straightforward and action-packed, faultlessly intermixing big action scenes with honest drama, good character development, and a hint of humor. It doesn't redefine the War film or even approach the genre's best in overall performance, but it's a steady, serviceable, highly entertaining Adventure film that blends together classic tones with slick filmmaking techniques. It's probably best enjoyed by its niche audiences, video gamers and viewers who have absorbed the World War II genre for decades and are always on the lookout for a new, worthwhile film to enjoy. Company of Heroes will satisfy that craving, and then some.
By Christmas of 1944, Allied soldiers believed the War to be all but over even as they met with deadly but only sporadic and light resistance. D-Day had proven a success and Germany was being squeezed back into Central Europe from both the East and the West. Yet Hitler wasn't quite ready to give up the war effort. He planned a final, major offensive to recapture the Port of Antwerp, an offensive that would result in the frigid Battle of the Bulge. He didn't do so hopelessly, however; his plan to prolong the war was merely a ruse to buy time to develop a devastating game-changer. When a group of soldiers -- including a rookie marksman (Chad Michael Collins) and a grizzled veteran (Tom Sizemore) -- are sent on a supposedly easy holiday mission by their commanding officer (Neal McDonough), they come under heavy fire but manage to repel the enemy attack. Soon after, they make a startling discovery: the Germans are working on a super weapon that could very well turn the tide of war in their favor. Against the odds -- and their better judgment -- the men embark on a mission deep behind enemy lines to prevent the Nazis from completing work on their doomsday weapon and bringing the war to American soil.
Company of Heroes does well to balance its approach to the War genre in that it doesn't glorify violence but it also doesn't make it impossible to stomach. It's an approach that combines an authentic façade with a sense of gung-ho adventure and plenty of well-staged gun battles that come frequently but not excessively. The film is quite bloody -- there are plenty of serious wounds and several gut-churning acts of wartime casualties -- but Company of Heroes retains that sense of sweeping, good time escapism that uses war as a backdrop for cinema fun rather than strict history lesson. There's a good intensity to action scenes; the film makes use of the handheld shaky cam and slightly faster and grittier photography to give it a Saving Private Ryan-styled visual appeal that's become the de facto standard, but at the same time it doesn't lose its classic appeal as a simple wartime Action flick. Company of Heroes doesn't dazzle its way through, nor does it drive home a sense of hopelessness or despair covered in harsh grit. Instead, it's a fun, fast-paced adventure through the final days of war, made from a plot that combines some novel and fictional elements both with tried-and-true War film settings and styles.
Beyond its capabilities as an entertaining Action flick, Company of Heroes largely masters the subtleties of Action movie character development and drama. There's a fine cast camaraderie, shaped in part by a good script but also good performances. Genre veteran Tom Sizemore brings not just experience behind the trigger and within the wartime setting but a commanding screen presence that grounds the movie both in its most intense action and quality dramatic moments both. Chad Michael Collins is fantastic as the prototypical kid who's forced to mature beyond his years under fire. The film does suffer under the burden of a largely unremarkable villain who exemplifies the stereotypical mad Nazi sort that's all about the superficial and without a hint of development beyond "evil." Then again, there are reasons why that's a stereotype and why it's dramatically effective: it makes for a simple yet dangerous and absolutely unlikable foil for the heroes. That doesn't always work anymore considering the massive caricature that sort has become, but Company of Heroes' ability to mesh hardcore action with a subtly playful underbelly makes it more entertainment than a strict historical recreation and a suitable home for a one-dimensional villain. The film also makes use of some lower-end digital effects -- phony-looking muzzle blasts and explosions and smoke and a bombing run sequence near the end that makes use of a digital fleet of aircraft -- that occasionally interrupt the flow of the film with a startling lack of polish amidst an otherwise very nice-looking and authentically crafted film. Altogether, Company of Heroes makes for an exciting, well-balanced watch that should satisfy its core audience from start to finish, warts and all.
Company of Heroes Blu-ray, Video Quality
Company of Heroes arrives on Blu-ray with a polished and professional HD video-sourced transfer. The image sparkles, generally, even through its various locations and color schemes. Whether the snowy first act, the darker second, or the dusty daytime third, the film handles all elements beautifully. The video is consistently clear and sharp, naturally on the smooth side but very well defined and at times breathtaking in its ability to display complex textures even in medium-distance shots. Close-ups are where this one sparkles, however. Worn bluing and well-used wooden stocks on weapons, frayed and filthy uniforms, leathery creases in German overcoats, blown-out wartime city textures, and complex facial features that reveal grime, blood, sweat, and pores are all displayed very well in every scene and under any lighting condition. Colors are handled very well; the palette is accurate and pleasing, finding a natural tone and never straying towards harsh and bright or dull and worn. Black levels are fine, though dotted by some noise in a few instances. Flesh tones appear normal. This is another top-grade transfer from Sony.
Company of Heroes Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Company of Heroes features an active and exhilarating DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. from the first notes, listeners will notice a wide and natural sonic landscape. Music proves consistently clear and plays with a satisfying, full presence through the entire range and with a natural surround envelopment. Whether the opening notes or an operatic display of sonic muscle in chapter ten, this disc delivers a potent, well-structured listen. Natural ambience is fantastic; an early scene features light gusty winds, creaking trees, and the song of distant birds naturally filling the stage and placing listeners in the middle of the snowy battlefield. Then, the moment is broken by a shot. Gunfire sounds fantastic throughout the film. Whether single sniper shots that power through the stage with a distinctive crack and linger about afterwards or heavy automatic weapons fire that tears through the listening area with startling ease and accuracy, Sony's track places its listening audience in the middle of every action scene. Explosions deliver plenty of power via balanced, hefty bass, some of them the product of artillery shells that seamlessly zip around the entire listening area. Rounded out by faultless, center-focused dialogue reproduction, Company of Heroes' lossless soundtrack delivers in every way.
Company of Heroes Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Company of Heroes contains a deleted scenes and two brief making-of featurettes.
Company of Heroes Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Company of Heroes isn't a perfect War movie, and doesn't really inject anything new into the genre. What it is, though, is a good old-fashioned War film in the tradition of The Dirty Dozen, a steady and entertaining flick that blends modern stylings with a throwback entertainment value that makes for an agreeable viewing experience. The film is aided by good characters and performances and hindered by a generic villain and low-end special effects, but most War film fans should get quite a bit mileage out of it. All in all, a fun and exhilarating little picture that will satisfy its target audience. Sony's Blu-ray release of Company of Heroes is disappointingly thin on extras, but the disc does offer fantastic picture and sound. Recommended.
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Company of Heroes Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Company of Heroes Blu-ray - February 25, 2013
The UK branch of Sony Pictures has announced and detailed its upcoming Blu-ray release of director Don Michael Paul's Company of Heroes, starring Vinnie Jones, Tom Sizemore, Jürgen Prochnow, and Neal McDonough. Street date is March 25.
• Company of Heroes Blu-ray - December 4, 2012
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that it will release on Blu-ray director Don Michael Paul's Company of Heroes, starring Vinnie Jones, Tom Sizemore, Jürgen Prochnow, and Neal McDonough. Street date is March 19th.
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