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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Paper Soldiers
Paper Soldiers
Universal // R // March 18, 2003
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ron J. Epstein | posted March 25, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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"With thieves like these, the hood can rest easy."
Yes, that is the best tagline Universal could come up with for this movie.

The Feature:
Produced by Roc-A-Fella Films (that's Jay-z's production company), "Paper Soldiers" is the latest in a series of direct-to-DVD movies giving a rap superstar top billing, yet at most, they make a simple cameo. For instance, rapper Nelly was on the cover of the "Snipes" DVD that I reviewed last month, but he was in that movie for barely 10 minutes. The same goes for rapper Jay-Z here (he actually plays himself!). But hey, a name like Beanie Sigel isn't going to sell DVDs, so I don't have much of a problem with that.

Meet Shawn (Kevin Hart). He has a go nowhere job, a kid to feed, and bills to pay. So, what other option does he have than to start breaking into homes with his clumsy friends and steal as much as he can grab with his hands? Please don't answer that. Soon, the money starts pouring in, and life is good.

One day, Shawn and his friend, Stu, break into a house, and end up being chased by the NJ Police. Stu goes to jail, and Shawn continues to break into homes (all with the police slowly closing in on him). What ensues is absolutely predictable, and not even close to being funny (apparently, I'm in the wrong, as the DVD box touts "Paper Soldiers" as an outrageous comedy). This movie manages to cram in every single "hood" cliché possible, without being witty or provocative.

Video:
Universal presents "Paper Soldiers" in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1. For straight-to-DVD, the transfer here doesn't look so bad at all. Aside for a few instances of grain, colors remain sharp, and flesh tones look accurate. There are few, if any instances of artifacting or pixelation present. Overall, another solid effort from Universal.

Audio:
The audio is presented here in Dolby Surround 5.1. The soundtrack sounds very good, consisting of an urban beat and rap songs that test the bass of your speakers. Gunshots, sirens, and action scenes sound good. Everything sounds crisp and clean, and there are no audio dropouts present at all.

Menus:
A static DVD menu offers the choices of "Play", "Scenes, "Languages" and "Trailer."

Extras:
One trailer for "Paper Soldiers." What, no deleted scenes with optional director commentary? Just kidding.

Final Thoughts:
Bad movie + good transfer + good audio + no extras = Still a bad movie. The high MSRP of $26.98 doesn't help matters. Skip this garbage and watch "Friday" if you want to see a good "hood comedy."

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