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Back in the days when mobsters were larger than life, none lived bigger than Bobby, "Bats", "The Brick" and "Mouth". But now well into retirement, the old crew find themselves suddenly facing eviction from their run-down Miami Beach hotel - The Raj Mahal. That's when they decided there's only one thing left to do - turn back the clock and pull one last "hit" in order to save their home.
For more about The Crew and the The Crew Blu-ray release, see the The Crew Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 25, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Reynolds, Dan Hedaya, Seymour Cassel, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jeremy Piven
Director: Michael Dinner
» See full cast & crew
The Crew Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 25, 2013
NOTE: 'The Crew' is currently available only in a bundle from Mill Creek Home Entertainment.
Sometimes, dreams come true.
For guys purported to be "wise," so-called "wise guys" sure do seem to regularly find themselves on the precipice of trouble. They operate outside the law, have no qualms about sending their enemies to sleep with the fishes, and they excel in finding oftentimes violent or otherwise undesirable solutions to their problems. Maybe their street smarts are enough to get them through the day, a week, several months, maybe even the primes of their lives, but what happens when they simply outgrow the skill level necessary to maintain a criminal operation? Or what if they decide to just leave it all behind and retire someplace peaceful, sunny, warm, and away from the mayhem on the streets? Well, for some, the old ways never really disappear, they just settle onto the low-heat back burner where they simmer until needed again. Such is the story in The Crew, a generally delightful, albeit rather predictable, little picture from Director Michael Dinner (TV's Justified) and Writer Barry Fanaro (Men in Black II) that tells the tale of four retired "wise guys" who must get back to their old habits for one last round of mayhem if they really want to leave their old lives behind once and for all.
New Jersey, 1968. Four friends found themselves living the dream of serving together in their own "crew," their personal mafia outfit in which they had free reign to do as they pleased, harass those who stood in their way, and live their lives in style like only mobsters can. It was a lucrative life, not always a good life, but they were more than friends -- they were family -- and that togetherness kept the crew intact and business good. But time wears on as it does for all men, "wise guys" or otherwise. Now, decades after their peak, they find themselves retired in Miami on what used to be a quiet retirement hotspot. Not so anymore. Their area has been overrun by younger folks, louder folks, all sorts of folks who are as dissimilar from them as humanely possible. They tolerate the newcomers, and the newcomers they, but when their landlord decides to kick them to the curb so they can rent their ocean view apartment to more affluent clientele, the foursome finds it has no choice but to turn to its old ways and fight back like only "wise guys" can.
Bobby (Richard Dreyfuss, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Tony (Seymour Cassel, Rushmore), Mike (Dan Hedaya, Clueless), and Joey (Burt Reynolds, Deliverance) come up with what seems to be an ingenious plan. Mike just so happens to work in a mortuary. They take one of the bodies of the recently departed, lay it on the lobby floor of their building, and blast it with a shotgun, giving the image of a nasty mafia hit right in the middle of yuppie central. It doesn't take long for the story to make the news, panic to spread, and the building to empty of tenants. Now, not only can the crew live in peace, the men are paid to stay on by management in wake of the killing and the flood of departures from the premises. Unfortunately for the crew, the case draws the attention of local law enforcement officers Neal (Carrie-Anne Moss, The Matrix) and Menteer (Jeremy Piven, Entourage). The crew's problems are compounded when it turns out the body belongs to none other than the father of a local drug runner named Raul (Miguel Sandoval, Repo Man). It would seem that the crew has bitten off more than it can chew on this, its last mission together, but these are old pros with a few more tricks up their sleeve. Will their background and skill set be enough to overcome a modern menace and the local law?
The Crew won't go down as a modern classic, but it's an enjoyable little slice of escapism done well enough on every level. It's well made and entertaining but never really moving even when it tries to be with a father-daughter story that feels more tacked-on and tacky than it does vital to the story. Still, the film finds solid footing and runs with its gag as well as can be expected. It's not Space Cowboys, but it does a fine enough job of showing the brighter side of age advancement, even if it's in a rather dark and dishonest context. The cast is excellent, again not on par with the best of the "older actor" ensemble films but holding its own with two powerhouses in Dreyfuss and Reynolds up front and a pair of strong supporting leads in Cassel and Hedaya. There's only a fair sense of camaraderie -- the cast never gels as well as the script would suggest the characters have -- but each actor brings charm to their respective parts and solidifies the film as a worthwhile little venture that's perfect for a lazy afternoon of movie watching.
The Crew Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Crew's budget Blu-ray release does the film no visual favors. Mill Creek's high definition transfer is a bland, lifeless thing, not unwatchable by any means but certainly not the sort of brilliant, film-like image enjoyed by upper-tier and even higher mid-level Blu-ray discs. The transfer offers serviceable details at the increased Blu-ray resolution, but the picture certainly lacks an organic life to it. Grain seems wiped away, leaving behind a flat, pasty sort of image. Colors, likewise, lack brilliance and pinpoint accuracy. There's little range around the more subtle shades, leaving the film wanting for a more even palette. There's some very light scattered dirt and wear, but nothing that would warrant more than a mention. Some edge enhancement appears throughout, but not often very heavily. Banding and blocking are minimal. This is a watchable image, suitable given the rock-bottom pricing, but videophiles should probably stay away or prepare themselves ahead of time before diving in.
The Crew Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Crew features a bland but generally effective, on a base level, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 lossless soundtrack. Mill Creek's sound presentation does just enough to get listeners through the film without any inconvenience. Dialogue is delivered firmly and with the sort of clarity, ease of delivery, and focus a basic listen demands. Still, the rest of the track plays disappointingly flat. Fair front-end spacing gives a slight sense of space, but sound effects struggle for even a hint of immersion and, oftentimes, raw clarity. An early rainstorm sounds more like a glob of sound more so than a natural element. An explosion, also early in the film, lacks punch, and a strip club scene later on fails to find much energy. All in all, it's a disappointing affair, but once again considering the bargain pricing it's hard to complain too much.
The Crew Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray release of The Crew contains no supplemental content.
The Crew Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Crew doesn't set a new standard for "aged heroes" films, but it's an above-average little picture that's pleasing in every regard. It's not a showstopper but it is worth stopping and watching, if for no other reason than a very strong ensemble cast, strong even beyond the primary quartet of veteran actors manning the lead roles. Michael Dinner's film is a playful little slice of escapism that should satisfy a craving for simple, likable, largely thoughtless entertainment. Mill Creek's featureless Blu-ray offers midlevel video and audio. Rent it.
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