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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Mean Machine
Mean Machine
Paramount // R // July 16, 2002
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 24, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Essentially a British remake of "The Longest Yard" with soccer instead of football, director Barry Skolnick's film adds a touch of Guy Ritchie style (Ritchie and Ritchie's "Snatch" producer produced this picture), but mostly forgets the humor. "Snatch"'s Vinnie Jones stars as Danny Meehan, a former soccer star known as the "Mean Machine". Although he's already gotten in trouble several times before, he's caught one day after driving drunk and assaulting two officers.

Thrown into jail, he doesn't want much to do except for serving his time. However, the prison guards have other plans - they want him to coach a soccer game with the inmates playing against the guards. Whatever you're thinking - big game ending, etc. - you're probably right. "Mean Machine" is really nothing that audiences haven't seen many times before, only with different sports. Director Skolnick seems satisfied to coast along, providing little in the way of surprises and about as much in the way of humor.

However, Skolnick is lucky that he's working with a top-notch cast (who were likely pulled in by producers Ritchie and Vaughn) - aside from Jones, most of Ritchie's "Snatch" cast returns and there are a few other additions, such as David Kelly ("Waking Ned Devine"). The cast does about as well as they can with the material, especially Jones and Kelley, who are fairly good in their roles. They provided barely enough interest in a movie where the ending is apparent from the opening moments. Go pick up either of Ritchie's excellent films, instead.


The DVD

VIDEO: Paramount presents "Mean Machine" in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The picture quality remains very good throughout, but there were some small faults that I spotted on a fairly frequent basis. Sharpness and detail were generally solid, as the picture appeared sharp and well-defined throughout, with no instances of softness.

However, edge enhancement, which was visible on a fairly frequent basis, took away from what is an otherwise very nice looking presentation. While not entirely horrible, enough edge enhancement was visible to prove slightly distracting during several scenes. On a positive note, the print used was clean, with the exception of a handful of slight specks and a mark or two. Pixelation and other faults remained absent. Given that much of this film takes place in prison, the color palette remained subdued, but accurately presented.

SOUND: In a nice touch, Paramount has offered both the US theatrical version of the film's soundtrack and the UK version. Both are in Dolby Digital 5.1 and the difference is likely that a few words were re-dubbed to make them easier for US audiences.

MENUS: Basic, non-animated main menu.

EXTRAS: Uh...well, nothing. Not even a trailer.

Final Thoughts: Jones and the other actors give it their best in an utterly predictable movie. With no supplements and a $29.99 price tag, I can't recommend this as anything but a rental and even then, I'd only recommend it to fans of the sport.

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