DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Mob Box (Donnie Brasco, Snatch, Bugsy & The American Gangster)
The Mob Box (Donnie Brasco, Snatch, Bugsy & The American Gangster)
Sony Pictures // R // January 3, 2006
List Price: $34.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Preston Jones | posted January 4, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
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
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movies

Let's cut to the chase: is it worth picking up The Mob Box if you own any of the movies it contains? Well, yes and no – part shameless double dip on Sony's part and part assembling a trio of fantastic films, this collection can't help but feel, well, superfluous. While every flick available here is well worth a film fan's time, they are all available (save The American Gangster) for practically pennies elsewhere. That said, the low MSRP makes picking up these films a bargain if you don't already have them in your collection. The Mob Box contains the four films in their own slimline cases, housed in a nondescript cardboard case, with a "scrapbook" that contains anecdotes, quotes and background information about all four films.

Donnie Brasco

One of the most underrated movies of the Nineties, director Mike Newell's dissection of an FBI agent's systematic deception of an aging mobster is brilliant cinema, featuring two sterling performances from Johnny Depp and Al Pacino. I'll skip summarizing the film's plot (for that, check out my colleague Aaron Beierle's review of Donnie Brasco: Special Edition) but I will tell you that this set features the previously released special edition from 2000.

Snatch

A giddy, grungy blast of no-nonsense Brit crime, writer/director Guy Ritchie's expansion upon the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels formula is a hell of a lot of fun – I'll skip summarizing the film's plot (you can find an excellent example of that in my colleague Aaron Beierle's review of Snatch: Special Edition) but will say that Sony is currently re-dipping this particular film for all it's worth. This set marks the fourth separate release of the film just in the last five years – a special edition, Superbit edition, deluxe edition and this boxed set – but whatever release you end up with, you're guaranteed a cracking good time or I'll track down a periwinkle blue caravan for your mum.

Bugsy

Frenetic, sprawling and greatly underrated, Director Barry Levinson, screenwriter James Toback and star Warren Beatty joined forces in 1991 to fashion this epic biography of Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, a flamboyant gangster who took the West Coast by storm in the early Forties, eventually moving on to a dry little desert spot that would become Las Vegas. Featuring exceptional supporting performances from Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley and Eliott Gould, Bugsy is a delirious, dazzling epic that celebrates the golden age of Hollywood and organized crime in equal measure. This set includes (regrettably) the exact same bare-bones disc as previously released in 1998.

The American Gangster

Previously unreleased on DVD, Ben Burtt's involving 1992 documentary detailing the rise of Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel and Meyer Lansky is a nice addition to this triptych of films – narrated by screen tough guy Dennis Farina, The American Gangster utilizes vintage newsreel footage, archival photos, painted recreations and the gangsters' own words. A colorful, evocative examination of the twisted success of these 20th century crime lords, it's far too brief (at 48 minutes) but serves as enough of an appetizer to perhaps encourage further research into these practically mythic figures.

The DVDs

The Video:

Donnie Brasco
Presented in a grainy, occasionally soft 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, Donnie Brasco relies heavily upon period detail, which is given vivid life by cinematographer Peter Sova. It's not a reference quality transfer, but it certainly isn't as good as it could be.

Snatch
Re-releasing the initial "special edition" disc, Snatch boasts a grimy yet sharp 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer as well as a fullscreen transfer. Ritchie's slick visual sense fairly snaps off the screen with this razor-sharp, defect-free image.

Bugsy
Saddled with a pretty lackluster 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that tends to make Allen Daviau's period, soft focus cinematography look mushy and dull, Bugsy still looks OK considering its advancing age. Of all the films included, this one is most in need of a digital remastering.

The American Gangster
Relying upon archival footage and photography means the source material is inherently grainy, scratched and soft – nevertheless, this 1.33:1 fullscreen transfer is as clean and clear as one could hope.

The Audio:

Donnie Brasco
This Seventies period piece is offered up in either Dolby Digital 5.0 or Dolby 2.0 stereo, with available English, French and Spanish subtitles. Patrick Doyle's score is also isolated on its own track. A largely dialogue driven work, Donnie Brasco sounds about as good as it looks.

Snatch
Certainly the most lively soundfield of the four films included herein, Snatch retains its punchy, vivacious Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack – raw Brit rock and the occasional gunshot register with equal clarity. Dolby 2.0 is also onboard as English, French and Pikey subtitles.

Bugsy
As the visuals ache for a spit and polish, so too does the soundtrack: Dolby 2.0 stereo is the lone audio option. With Ennio Morricone's lush score getting occasionally squelched under the rapid-fire dialogue, Bugsy cries out for a Dolby Digital 5.1 remastering. English and French subtitles are also included.

The American Gangster
While almost entirely reliant upon Farina's narration, the included Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtrack still manages to pack a little kick, particularly during the sequences involving gunplay. Also included are English subtitles, which amusingly, chronically misspell Bugsy Siegel's name.

The Extras:

Donnie Brasco
All of the bonus features have been ported over from the previous special edition, the highlight of which is director Newell's dense, engaging commentary track in which he outlines the particulars of the story as well as offering up some casual analysis. The 23 minute featurette "Donnie Brasco: Out From The Shadows" is here, as are five deleted scenes (with optional Newell commentary) available together or separately, a vintage seven-minute featurette and trailers for Donnie Brasco, The Professional, The Devil's Own and The Juror.

Snatch
Fortunately, the tastier bits of supplemental material from the initial two-disc DVD release pop up here: the wickedly entertaining Ritchie/Matthew Vaughn commentary is included, as is the "Stealing Stones" enhanced branching mode.

Bugsy
Sadly, a film that would really benefit from an in-depth commentary track or even behind-the-scenes featurette boasts little more than the film's theatrical trailer and trailers for Mickey One and Dollars.

The American Gangster
No bonus material is included with this film.

Final Thoughts:

The Mob Box only offers up one new film and it's a slight offering at that – three terrific mob films do not a must buy make, however, if you don't own any of these films, this low-priced set would be a great way to add them to your collection. Recommended.

Popular Reviews
1. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot
2. The Return of Martin Guerre
3. The Haunting of Hill House
4. Madigan
5. Batman Beyond: The Complete Series Deluxe Limited Edition
6. Christmas in July
7. Someone Behind the Door
8. Winter Kills
9. The Ringu Collection
10. Charley Varrick


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2019 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use