on October 25, 2006
Just wanted to leave a helpful review for those that are trying to decide whether they should buy the new 15th edition if they already own the 10th. Well, the transfer is much much better than the abysmal one that was put on the 10th. The 10th anniversary edition transfer was a very dull one at best, a step down from the bare bones dvd that was first released by Live when they were still around. The blacks in the Dogs' suits were more dark grey and the overall look was faded. I was never sure if this was a creative choice or that it was simply screwed up. There was plenty of online debate when the disc came out as to the worth of it. This new transfer remedies all of that, the picture is anamorphic, with rich colors, making the film look exactly like what I saw when I used to watch it in the 90s. The 10th also, for some inexplicable reason, dropped a line of Mr. White's dialogue ("I think he's just passed out") but it is thankfully restored here. So if you want the most solid transfer of Reservoir Dogs ever on DVD, this is your buy.
The extras, unfortunately, pale in comparison to the 10th, and this is why you'll probably want to keep the 10th around if you're a filmmaking fan. The 10th edition has a documentary interviewing most of the key players in the film as well as some priceless footage from Tarantino's filmmaking lab workshops at Sundance where he (poorly) played Mr. White(!) These are all missing on the new 15th disc, but the new 15th disc carries over "Reservoir Dolls," the torture scene played out by Reservoir Dogs action figures. The 15th also has retrospective commentaries by some of the cast and crew, 2 movie critics, and a film historian all on separate tracks while watching the movie. Rather interesting too. There are a couple of retrospective documentaries discussing the film's impact on the cinema world. There are also deleted scenes carried over from the 10th, but other than that, mostly fodder to get you excited about Reservoir Dogs, including a short featurette about the new video game.
So, I suppose I would recommend this double dip if you're a hard-core fan of the film, especially with the superior transfer. You can get it at Circuit City for $12.99 this week which is an excellent price for what you get, but I would hold on to the 10th edition for the filmmaking extras which were not carried over. Oh, and if you're into packaging, this is the best packaging I've ever seen. An aluminum gasoline can where the top comes off and the discs are inside in a large matchbook (I believe the matchbook is limited edition). Sick and brilliant.
Acting that will blow you away and characters that disgust you even though you're drawn to liking what little likeable part of them remains.
Depraved criminals that are racist, sadistic and keenly intelligent are somehow very human and compassionate on one hand and disturbingly evil on the other.
This movie is not for those with weak stomachs. Although the psychological element of fear is much stronger than anything you actually see in this film, there are a couple of gory scenes that will scar your memory forever once you see them... the type of deliberate, up close & personal cruelty to another human being that surpasses the desensitizing we've been through by watching other violent scenes on tv and movies. The isolation of the movie taking place almost entirely in one room makes even the most tame scenes un-nerving and uncomfortably intense.
Tim Roth's performance is definitely the most piercing. Michael Madsen, Harvey Keitel, Chris Penn and the rest of the ensemble cast are also riveting.
You will never listen to the song "Stuck in the Middle With You" by Stealers Wheel the same way again. A song I once really liked still gives me the willies each time I hear it.
on September 8, 2002
"Reservoir Dogs" is another one of my favorite movies. Despite what critics think, this is a Tarantino masterpiece with unforgettable characters, smooth and cool dialogue, and a shocking finale.
I had the older version of this movie on DVD, and it was all right. The picture wasn't too bad, sound was so-so, and there were virtually no special features. So when I found out that a new remastered and fully-loaded version of the movie was coming out, I knew I had to have it. And I am very glad that I did purchase it.
Since this is a crime flick, the plot and storyline isn't that complex or deep, and there is no reason for it to be. It's pretty simple. Perfect strangers plan the perfect crime, but end up in a bloody set-up. With only four of them left alive, they must uncover the rat in the house. But which one is it? That is something they must find out before the cops get a hold of them in this unforgiving and spectacular crime/noir movie.
The writing is off the hook. Tarantino is a master when it comes to dialogue. Why? Because the characters talk like real people. In ordinary movies, all the characters ever talk about it the plot or scheme. In THIS movie, they talk about everyday normal things that we would talk about, which makes them seem more realistic and convincing. His writing reminds me a lot of Raymond Carver, except with more humor.
The cast is terrific. Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Lawrence Tierney, and Steve Buscemi all did their roles justice. Michael Madsen is awesome and cool as Mr. Blonde, who will always be remembered for that very particular role. Buscemi is hillarious, and your eyes never leave his sight when he's on screen. But really, everyone is outstanding in this movie.
The DVD itself is very high quality, including two disks. The picture is remastered in high definition, which really makes it clear. Ten times better than the other version. You can either watch in widescreen or in fullscreen. The sound is also much, MUCH better. You can watch it in dolby digital or in DTS. Considering that this was a really low-budget film, the movie looks and sounds amazing. You will especially appreciate it if you had the previous DVD of the movie.
And there are tons and TONS of extras that will keep you more than happy. Way too many for me to list, but the ones I liked the most were the interviews. (Watch the one with Michael Madsen. That has to be one of the funniest interviews I have ever seen. Just trust me and watch it! I don't want to give too much away.) So, if you are a big fan of bells and whistles, this DVD is the one for you. You will not be disappointed.
Overall, I was more than pleased with this edition of "Reservoir Dogs." I did not mind re-buying it at all. If you still have the original DVD and love this movie very much, GET THIS ONE AS SOON AS YOU CAN! You will not regret it. This is one of my favorites, and proves just how talented Quentin Tarantino is when it comes to writing and directing.
on October 28, 2006
This is the third version of Reservoir Dogs that I've owned, so I was hesitant to buy it. I loved the 10th anniversary edition so when I saw this one I wasn't sure if it was a trade up or not. The packaging is really cool and the actual movie itself seems to have been improved upon from both previous versions. Those are the positive aspects of the disc. The negative are the new special features. If seeing Harry Knowles heap praise on "Res Dogs", or having a tipping scale to see how much the characters would tip a server, or seeing an interview with a game designer are your ideas of great special features then this disc is for you. However, if you would actually like to see the cast and crew talk about the making of the movie then go with the 10th anniversary. The new specials on this one suck. All in all if you're a big fan of the movie, having both versions is probably the best bet because of the new transfer. If you simply want a copy of Reservoir Dogs with some cool special features, go with the 10th anniversary.
on February 13, 2000
Many say he's just an overrated hipster who rips off other movies. Well, in my opinion (and I've seen a lot of movies), Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs had a lot of originality to them (as did Natural Born Killers and to a lesser extent True Romance), but he does have influences. There's nothing wrong with that. He makes good movies and is developing his style. Reservoir Dogs stand as possibly his best movie.
First the background: Reservoir Dogs was based on an obscure Chinese film called City on Fire, which was about a detective who infiltrated a jewel thieving ring and went with them on their big heist. Reservoir Dogs is, at it's most basic, the last part of City on Fire. However, the characters and dialogue are all Tarantino's own. And those are the two things that make the movie great. The writing is outstanding. The performances are very good, especially Harvey Keitel as the doomed Mr. White, Michael Madsen as the pscyopathic Mr. Blonde, and Steve Buscemi as the nervous Mr. Pink.
As I said above, the dialogue is great. The way the criminals talk is exactly how you'd expect them to, and they play off each other very well. The very minimal plot moves along rapidly, and the movie never lets up for a second, although there is some time distortion concerning flashbacks of the characters (pre-heist and during the heist).
Reservoir Dogs is a classic crime movie, and quite essential.
on September 9, 2009
Presented in its original aspect ratio, with a DTS HD audio and Dolby 5.1 tracks included and with English and Spanish subtitles, 'Reservoir dogs' is presented in Bluray format.
The question I had before getting this was if it would be worth to purchase again a movie I already owned in 2 anniversary editions in DVD, well after watching it I can tell you it is definitely worth the upgrade. The HD transfer is excellent, even though you can tell it is a movie from the 90's the level of details and color quality is eye-popping. As you can imagine and if you are familiar with Quentin Tarantino's movie soundtracks, the audio also presents a major upgrade over its DVD counterpart.
A feature called the 'Pulp factoids viewer' is included which made me rediscover the movie, a lot of information on the movie appears on screen while you watch it, the Tarantino references to Scagnetti, the snake charmer (Bill from 'Kill Bill') as well as fun and technical facts were fun to read while watching the films. Besides this feature 2 documentaries are included: 'Playing it fast and loose' and 'Profiling the reservoir dogs'. Other than that, not all the special features from the anniversary DVD editions are included, which is a shame as that is what is making me keep my original DVD copies of the same movie.
With a price that is quite insulting to the quality of this release, as a fan of the movie I can tell you the Hi-Def presentation improves the experience of watching 'Reservoir dogs' again.
on April 19, 2008
The movie itself is great! If you're gonna buy this just based on the movie, then by all means. You're not gonna regret it.
HOWEVER, if you're buying this expecting a Gas Can Version of the DVD, think again. It is not the tin casing that is displayed in the product details. I received the wrong version, that is, the normal DVD casing, the first time round. When Amazon sent me a replacement shipment, I still got the wrong version. So DON'T BUY THIS if you're expecting the brilliant-looking Gas Can Edition as displayed in the picture.
Most all are familiar with this film and have discussed its storyline, music, acting, directing and everything else...so I won't. I will just review the transfer of this film to Blu Ray. If you're a Tarantino fan, this is one for you if you don't already have it. It firmly established him as a director while still early in his career and he has made many great movies since.
I do have the standard definition DVD and have watched it numerous times but this will not be a side by side comparison, just a short discussion of the Blu Ray's quality.
VIDEO....The transfer of the video is very clean with strong colors despite a muting of the entire color grading throughout the film. Contrast is excellent and details, even some of the very small ones, are clearly defined. The lines of the tiny tiles in the meet-up building are easy to see without a blurring of lines despite the depth of field which brings them slightly out of focus. I saw no dirt or artifacting at any time in the watching of this Blu Ray. Shot on film, naturally there will be a slight patina of grain but it is difficult to really see and is not a viewing problem in the slightest.
AUDIO....Now this is a bit odd. For English, you have a choice of a Dolby EX 5.1 audio or a lossless DTS HD 6.1. That is not a typing mistake...the audio is 6.1. Okay, that is great but if they are going to upgrade to a 6.1 audio track let there be information for 6 channels plus the sub. There really isn't. The lossless audio provided clear and transparent dialogue that plenty easy to understand. The audio soundtrack is beautifully spread across the front sound stage and the stereo separation of the typical Tarantino soundtrack is simply great, however, there really is no use of the rear sound stage for anything other than some light ambient echo which is barely discernible. The front surrounds do get some discreet directionality from the left and right surrounds but not a whole lot. Yes, this movie has more dialogue than any real action but when the action does come in the second half of the film, though the sub works nicely for the gunshots, there is not much for the home theater to do. The volume levels are just fine so no need to play with your remote's volume control but, maybe the 6.1 track would have worked better on Tarantino's Django Unchained or Kill Bill 1 & 2.
EXTRAS....Some fine deleted scenes and alternate takes of the ear cutting scene. Also a Criminal Minds type profiling of the members of the gang that I found psychologically interesting. From the old SD DVD, there was also included a 'Playing it Fast and Loose' Documentary and an interesting 'Pulp Factoids' extra that pops up little tidbits of info during the course of the film. I discovered this feature after I had finished watching the film. Next time I watch it, I will be sure to have it turned on.
Finally, there were also 2 trailers for other films, 'Crank' and one of the 'Saw' films. I really dislike previews on any DVD whether it be Blu Ray or Standard def. You are being forced to pay for commercials when the disc space could go to an even better resolution feature film that you just paid for.
All my reviews focus solely on the quality of the transfers to Blu Ray of both video and audio and I do hope that this review has been of some help to you in deciding upon your purchase decisions and that I am on the correct path with this type of review.
Thanks for reading.
on November 15, 1999
Although I found Pulp Fiction maybe a touch more entertaining, on a critical level, Reservoir Dogs is better of the two, and although most of the reviewers here are happy enough to lavish it with praise, I think it is generally underappreciated. This is probably due to Tarantino's stark, violent, off-putting style. But I would agree this should be on AFI's list, (not that I really care about AFI) -- every time I see the movie I am left thoroughly impressed. The performances are really, really good, all around, and the aesthetic precision with which each scene is handled is incredible. Film geeks whine about the fact that the story idea was culled from City On Fire, and if that's so (I haven't seen City On Fire) then I agree it should've been credited. But that doesn't change the fact that this is an astoundingly imaginative and well-done movie. It does boast some very difficult-to-watch scenes, but the stark, non-gloss quality of Tarantino's violence is what makes it so remarkable. I think that the fact that the violence in Tarantino's movies *does* inspire reaction from the viewer, and that certain sequences *do* make the viewer uncomfortable, are to the filmmaker's credit. Violence *should* be a bit difficult to watch, instead of being dramatized and glorified by slow-motion and balletic choreography (not that I'm totally opposed to such techniques, if done well, and in the right context.) Anyhow, Reservoir Dogs is a remarkably well-made film.
When I saw Pulp Fiction, I walked out of the movie theater agog. I had witnessed a movie masterpiece that so proficiently weaved all of its elements together that it left me floored. I had never seen anything like it before.
Of course, I've since seen a lot more movies, including Tarantino's most recent Kill Bill series. Although flashes of brilliance are evident in his other films, Pulp Fiction was the maturation of themes he was clearly still tinkering with in Reservoir Dogs. But that does not diminish the tightly plotted beauty of Tarantino's first film.
Tarantino wisely created his film like he would a play, which forces more character interaction and less gun battles. Indeed, the actors must, you know, ACT and tell us the story that we don't see on screen. The movie also introduces the characters as complete strangers by giving each one a nickname. Thus, as they are strangers to each other, they are strangers to us.
These strangers have been assembled by Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) to pull off a simple heist. The fatherly Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), the reserved Mr. Orange (Tim Roth), the coolly psychopathic Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen), the calculating weasel known as Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), and two guys who die early in the movie, Mr. Brown (Quentin Tarantino in his usual cameo role) and Mr. Blue (Edward Bunker). This ragtag team of strangers are led by Joe Cabot's son, "Nice Guy" Eddie Cabot (Chris Penn), sporting a blue jumpsuit like any good Mob goomba would wear. All of the other thugs wear black suits and sunglasses to make them difficult to distinguish to witnesses.
We never see the actual bank heist, which is part of the fun. Instead, it is told through the eyes of the characters, both in dialogue and through flashbacks identifying each of their backgrounds. The twist is that the bank heist has gone horribly awry and thus our rainbow colored team must rendezvous at a warehouse. In play-like fashion, the majority of the conversations and action takes place in this one location.
But what went wrong? It doesn't take long for the calculating Mr. Pink (who hates his name), to determine that there's a rat amongst them, and it's not until the latter half of the film that the plot is revealed as to which character is an undercover cop. Thus the characters begin their own witch-hunt, struggling to determine whom they can and cannot trust.
Things are complicated by Mr. White's loyalty to Mr. Orange, who has been shot in the stomach. A thief with honor, Mr. White treats Mr. Orange like his child, and it's only through deleted scenes that we discover Mr. White has been horribly betrayed before. Indeed, this is the second attempt at a bank heist, the first having gone equally wrong. Mr. White thus feels at least partially responsible for the younger man's agony.
And how agonizing it is! Mr. Orange bleeds. And bleeds. And bleeds. Indeed, for most of the film, he bleeds, screams, or is unconscious. It is a tribute to Roth's acting ability that he makes it look so painful.
On the other side of the moral spectrum is Mr. Blonde, a killing machine. Having been imprisoned for years and never ratting on his employers, Mr. Blonde is alternately the ideal soldier and a terrifying thug, capable of the most brutal acts. Mr. Blonde vents his anger by taking a cop hostage, whom he graphically tortures off-screen-not to get the cop to reveal who the snitch is, but because "it's amusing, to me, to torture a cop." And after all that, the startling truth is the cop DOES know who the snitch is.
At heart, this movie is about honor, whether amongst thieves or cops. The "rat" kills people in his undercover role, as much a villain as he pretends to be. The stone-cold killer amongst the thieves is the most honorable, while the tortured cop is willing to die to protect the life of the snitch. And through it all, Mr. White does his level best to save Mr. Orange, a man he barely knows. The final twist in the end reveals who played who and in Shakespearean fashion leaves just about everybody dead. The twist isn't in the deaths as much as it is in the revelation: the honor between men who have risked their lives for each other and in doing so, willing place their lives in the other's hands.
The acting in the movie is superb. Keitel, who produced the movie, knew what he was getting into and is the star of the show. He expresses a full range here, from that of a sniggering thug to a fatherly protector to a weeping brother. Buscemi is calculating and freaked-out in his usual bug-eyed staccato-speak. Madsen is cool as ice and puts his cold-dead gaze to good use without over-emoting. When he dances to "Stuck in the Middle With You" as he tortures the cop, it's a devil's dance that is horrifying as it is cheesy.
Tarantino's voice comes through strongly in all of the dialogue, sometimes too strongly (in the interviews, he actually says he has a "God given gift for dialogue," which is a little too complimentary in my opinion). All the characters seem to elucidate and expound on everything at length in a way that sounds just like how Tarantino speaks. Fortunately, all the actors are up to the task-Buscemi can handle it easily, Keitel less so, and Madsen doesn't really need to speak at all (for an example of an actor having difficulty with Tarantino-speak, see Uma Thurman in Kill Bill). Still, the dialogue is engaging and amusing, and it established a distinct narrative voice that has marked all of Tarantino's films.
For all of Tarantino's genius in pulling this movie off as his entrance to cinema, the film loses some of its luster by failing to acknowledge its roots. The naming of characters by colors to keep their identities anonymous and the undercover cop twist was done first in the Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. But most egregiously, the movie has several shot-by-shot parallels with Chow Yun Fat's City on Fire. To be fair, George Lucas doesn't often admit any inspiration from Hidden Fortress or The Searchers...but the similarities between Reservoir Dogs and City on Fire are so close as to be outright criminal in not recognizing them.
With the advent of Reservoir Dogs, traditional cinema, with "thugs sitting around polishing their bullets" got a strong slap of pathos if not realism. While not technically as proficient as Pulp Fiction, it stands as a precursor of Tarantino's skill as a writer, director, and actor.
Okay maybe not as an actor.