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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Snipes
Snipes
Columbia/Tri-Star // R // February 25, 2003
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ron J. Epstein | posted February 17, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
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"I swear to Christ, every time one of these hoodrats gets a record deal, you'd think they won the lotto."

The Feature:
If you live in a major city, you've probably seen them everywhere. On the walls of buildings, on telephone polls, garbage cans… everywhere. What am I talking about? I'm talking about those posters promoting upcoming rap albums. The people who plaster them all over the place are more commonly referred to as Snipes, which ironically, is the name of this movie. Neat how I worked that in, right?

"Snipes" is about a teenager named Erik (Sam Jones III). He's a snipe for a record company called the Hip House. His latest assignment is to promote the upcoming album from rapper Prolifik (Nelly), whom Erik just so happens to the #1 fan of. All of that aside, Erik and his best friend, an aspiring rapper, break into Hip House's recording studio to lay down some tracks. It's there that they discover a dead body, and hightail it out of there (but not without conveniently leaving some evidence so they can be easily tracked down).

"Snipes" is a movie that I tried really hard to like. Being a fan of Dean Winters (he plays the head of the record company), I enjoyed the fact that the character he played was so similar to the one he plays in the HBO television series, "OZ." But unfortunately, this movie is riddled with urban clichés (everybody has a gun, and they're not afraid to wave it around in public). Another cliché I hate is the fact that everyone who does have a gun in their hand aims it sideways, instead of the proper, and more accurate way. The last problem I have with this movie is the fact that Nelly gets top billing for "Snipes", despite his very small role. But hey, for an unknown movie like "Snipes", it's pretty smart business.

Back to the movie… Prolifik is kidnapped, and Bobby Starr (Dean Winters), the head of Hip House Records is looking for answers. Along with his cronies, he goes after Erik's friend, and soon after, goes after Erik himself. All in all, "Snipes" isn't that bad of a movie, but I wouldn't necessarily call it good. The plot is based on a series of misunderstandings, which ultimately ends up telling a convoluted story. At best, it may classify as a "guilty pleasure" (especially the scene where Bobby Starr tortures an innocent, and tied-down Erik).

Video:
Columbia Tri-Star presents "Snipes" in Widescreen 1.85:1. I'm very surprised this wasn't given an anamorphic transfer, considering how good Columbia is about that these days. Anyways, the picture looks pretty good, filled with many vibrant colors. The print occasionally has specs of dirt on it (although more visible in night scenes). Blacks look black, and flesh tones are almost spot on as well. Overall, not the best I've seen, but far away from being the worst.

Audio:
The audio is presented here in Dolby 5.1 Surround and Dolby 2.0. I didn't have my hopes up for a 5.1 mix after learning that the picture wasn't anamorphic, but I was pleasantly surprised. The soundtrack comes to life with 5.1, as my speakers were pounding from the bass. The dialogue is clean and clear. I'm very happy with the presentation here.

Menus:
Static DVD menu offers the choices of "Play Movie", "Chapters", "Bonus Features", "Audio Set-Up", and "WWW Site Info." The menu is easy to navigate. I do have one MAJOR problem, though. It's not so much with the menu, but the actual DVD film presentation. Apparently, there are no running counters during the movie, or numerical chapter stops! There is no excuse for Columbia-Tri Star to not include them.

Extras:
Color me surprised. This release has a surprising number of goodies. There are two commentaries included. The first one is with Director Rich Murray and Editor Seth Anderson. It's more of a technical commentary, but they do comment on screen specific happenings throughout the track. The second commentary is with Rich Murray, and the cast of "Snipes" (Dean Winters, JD Williams, Sam Jones III, Rashaan Nall, and Schooly-D). It's a fun commentary, especially because of the chemistry Winters and Williams have from their days back on "OZ."

If that wasn't enough, "Snipes" also includes all the following extras: 7 Deleted Scenes, a non-Theatrical Trailer, a commercial, a Music Video, Cast Interviews, Outtakes, Premiere Footage, and the Ransom Tape from the movie. Definitely one of the more packed DVDs I've seen in recent memory.

Final Thoughts:
This is a tough one. The "Snipes" DVD is a pretty good one. Despite being an average movie, the disc features decent video, really good audio, and an excellent assortment of extras. Therefore, I can confidently suggest that you "Rent It" first. For those of you who have already seen and liked this movie, you shouldn't hesitate buying this disc at all.

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