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Rusty James is the leader of a small, dying gang in an industrial town. He lives in the shadow of the memory of his absent, older brother -- The Motorcycle Boy. His mother has left, his father drinks, school has no meaning for him and his relationships are shallow. He is drawn into one more gang fight and the events that follow begin to change his life.
For more about Rumble Fish and the Rumble Fish Blu-ray release, see Rumble Fish Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on July 29, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Dennis Hopper, Nicolas Cage, Chris Penn
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
» See full cast & crew
Rumble Fish Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, July 29, 2012
Francis Ford Coppola's "Rumble Fish" (1983) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Eureka Entertainment. The supplemental features on the disc include original theatrical trailer for the film; behind the scenes featurette; audio commentary with director Francis Ford Coppola; deleted scenes; and video piece featuring Stewart Copeland, Francis Ford Coppola, and sound designer and mixer Richard Beggs discussing the film's unique soundtrack. The release also comes with a lavish booklet featuring the words of Francis Ford Coppola, rare archival imagery, and more. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-B "locked".
Tulsa, Oklahoma. Troublemaker Rusty James (Matt Dillon) is drifting through life, looking for an inspiration. He has an idol, his older brother, the legendary Motorcycle Boy (Mickey Rourke), but he doesn't know where he is. A long time ago, Motorcycle Boy left town without a trace.
Rusty James now has his own gang, just like Motorcycle Boy once did. He can fight and hurt his opponents, just like Motorcycle Boy did, but does not know how to protect his friends. This is why most of them have grown tired of him and started questioning his decisions. Even Patty (Diane Lane), his beautiful girlfriend, isn't sure if she wants to be with him, though she really likes him.
One day, Motorcycle Boy returns home. Rusty James is happy to see him back but does not know what to make of his reappearance - his brother looks different, older, a lot quieter. The two begin spending time together, talking about life, their mother, and rumble fish.
Father (Dennis Hopper) is also happy to see Motorcycle Boy back but he does not have much time for him. When he does not work, Father spends time in the local bar getting drunk. Unlike Father and Rusty James, Patterson the Cop (William Smith) isn't happy to see Motorcycle Boy back in town and immediately warns him that it is only a matter of time before he gets what he deserves.
Francis Ford Coppola's second adaptation of an S.E. Hinton novel, Rumble Fish is a beautiful, unusually atmospheric film which does not have a conventional plot. Shot entirely in black and white, it is essentially a time capsule concerned with unique feelings and emotions rather than a unique journey.
The majority of Rumble Fish has a dreamy feel that is common in some expressionist films and a type of fluidity which is often present in the French New Wave films (see Claude Chabrol's Le beau Serge). There is certain rawness in it as well, which is easily detectable during the very well choreographed gang fights. The film's style does not overwhelm, but it is likely to create different impressions amongst different viewers.
The art-house nuances in the film seem to directly affect the integrity of the main protagonists - more often than not they seem too detached and are left contemplating dilemmas that appear too complex for the film. On the other hand, the low-key nuances are too weak to sustain the type of atmosphere most of Jim Jarmusch's films are known for (see Stranger than Paradise, which appeared a year after Rumble Fish). Unsurprisingly, the end result is a fascinating to behold but arguably somewhat uneven film.
The cast is comprised of a number of familiar faces, the majority of them future stars - Nicolas Cage, Chris Penn, Diane Lane, Vincent Spano, and Laurence Fishburne. The great Tom Waits also appears in a couple of scenes.
Rumble Fish was lensed by the great cinematographer Stephen H. Burum, who later on collaborated with director Brian De Palma on some of his best known films, including Body Double, The Untouchables, Carlito's Way, and Mission: Impossible. Burum was nominated for Oscar for Best Cinematography for his work on Danny DeVitto's Hoffa.
Rumble Fish is complimented by a very unusual and very atmospheric soundtrack courtesy of Stewart Copeland, former drummer for the popular English rock band The Police.
Rumble Fish Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of British distributors Eureka Entertainment.
This is the most problematic release I've seen from Eureka Entertainment since they began releasing on Blu-ray a few years ago. Generally speaking, the licensed from Universal Studios high-definition transfer their release uses has serious flaws in virtually every single area we address in these reviews. This being said, considering the fact that Eureka Entertainment follow a policy to present their films in raw form, I feel fairly confident speculating that without exception all of these flaws are in fact inherited - which means that more than likely Universal Studios do not currently have a better master for Rumble Fish in their vaults.
The overwhelming majority of the close-ups are quite problematic - they lack depth and often even basic fluidity. On the other hand, most of the larger panoramic shots have a thick electronic look (see screencapture #8). Color grading is also disappointing, especially during the nighttime sequences, where the blacks and grays repeatedly collapse (see screencapture #14). However, the two biggest issues here are the often overwhelming sharpening and filtering corrections. Moderate to strong edge-enhancement patterns, for example, are visible practically throughout the entire film. Naturally, the bigger your screen is, the more prominent its disturbing effects will be (see screencapture #4). The filtering is just as damaging, especially during the daylight sequences, where it is easy to see how seriously detail is compromised (see screencature #16). Unsurprisingly, there is hardly any proper grain left, which is why the film lacks the organic look it ought to have. The one bright spot in this presentation is the fact that there are no serious stability issues, but the overall quality of the presentation is indeed very disappointing. (Note: This is a Region-B "locked" Blu-ray disc. Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
Rumble Fish Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two standard audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. A music & effects DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is also included. For the record, Eureka Entertainment have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
I chose the English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track to view the film and was quite pleased with it. It has a good dynamic amplitude and maintains decent depth. Stewart Copeland's score certainly gets a decent boost, while the dialog remains crisp and clear. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track opens up the film slightly better in certain areas, enhancing mostly the ambient qualities of the film, but the overall dynamic movement does not dramatically overshadow that of the English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. Naturally, I think that it is best to experiment with the two tracks and see which one you prefer. For the record, there are no pops, cracks, serious distortions, or audio dropouts to report in this review.
Rumble Fish Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Rumble Fish Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Rumble Fish, arguably Francis Ford Coppola's most personal film, has finally arrived on Blu-ray. Unfortunately, the technical presentation is quite problematic. Considering the fact that Eureka Entertainment follow a policy to present their films in raw form, I believe it is fair to speculate that perhaps currently Universal Studios, which supplied the high-definition transfer for the Blu-ray release, do not have a better master for Rumble Fish in their vaults. I find this both sad and disappointing. RENT IT.
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Rumble Fish Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Rumble Fish Blu-ray Detailed - June 25, 2012
Independent British distributors Eureka Entertainment have detailed their upcoming Standard and Limited SteelBook Blu-ray editions of Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish (1983), starring Matt Dillon, Mickey Rourke and Diane Lane. The two releases will be available ...
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