I had an interesting reaction the first time that I saw the trailer for "The Man": is this a joke? I thought maybe it would actually turn out to be an ad for something else, like XBOX360. Nope. Parody ad from "Saturday Night Live?" It was neither night or Saturday. No, this was an actual movie, one with former Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson growling, "So you're in charge now? You the man!?" to Eugene Levy and trading bathroom humor with the comedian.
I sat down to watch "The Man" on DVD with interest, as I was curious if the picture would exceed the low expectations generated by the trailer. The film stars Jackson as Detroit detective Derrick Vann, whose crooked partner has just been taken out after a heist of the ATF lock-up. Eager to prove himself, Vann tries to set-up a bust of the criminals.
However, things don't go entirely as planned: dental supply salesman Andy Fiddler accidentally gets involved, and Derrick realizes that, despite the irritation, he actually needs Fiddler around if he's going to pull off the deal. That's really all there is to the flick, and even that is really not enough to fill out about 80 minutes (plus credits) without some padding here-and-there.
The material isn't completely terrible, but overall, "The Man" seems like another tired buddy cop picture. It's up to Jackson and Levy to try and liven up what's otherwise fairly predictable, ordinary stuff and, occasionally, they do. Levy's performance plays off Jackson fairly well, and is obnoxious without going over-the-top into annoying. Jackson coasts through the film playing a character he's played several times before. Both actors are certainly capable of far better, but they somehow manage to make this thin picture at least a bit watchable.
Director Les Mayfield has even gone through this genre better in the past, with his occasionally funny "Blue Streak". "The Man"'s pairing of Jackson and Levy may have sounded amusing in theory, but there's little backing them up here. Not a complete loss, but nothing memorable, either.
VIDEO: "The Man" is presented by New Line in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is another top-notch New Line effort, and the fact that the movie is quite brief may have helped give the presentation more breathing room. Sharpness and definition remained solid throughout, and the picture often showed good fine detail.
The only issue with the presentation was the presence of some very slight edge enhancement on a couple of occasions. However, the problem was quite minor and not distracting. No artifacts, no shimmering or print flaws were spotted. The film offered a fairly subdued color palette, but colors appeared accurately presented.
SOUND: "The Man" is presented in Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1. The film's audio is essentially a "comedy mix"; despite some reinforcement of the music by the surrounds, the rear speakers aren't given a lot to do in the largely dialogue-driven picture. Audio quality is fine, with clear dialogue and effects.
EXTRAS: 5 deleted scenes, a so-so blooper reel, the film's trailer, the "Sam Jackson's Guide to Cursing Like a Bad Ass ....." featurette, "Who's the Man?" featurette, "Making an Action Scene" featurette and "The Ride" featurette, as well as sneak peek trailers for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: "The Man" isn't without a few moments, but it's a very thin, rather tired buddy comedy that doesn't give its talented stars much to do. The DVD edition provides fine audio/video quality, and minimal supplements. Fans of the stars may want to try a rental, but otherwise I'd skip it.