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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » White Men Can't Jump
White Men Can't Jump
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List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 25, 2000 | 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
Recommended
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The Movie:

I still think "Tin Cup" is his best work, but director Ron Shelton certainly remains the king of sports films, and "White Men Can't Jump" remains his biggest hit. A fast, funny film that remains an above-average comedy, the main pleasure of the film remains, like almost all of Shelton's films, in the snap of the dialogue. With a subject like basketball hustlers, the director/writer gets the taunts perfectly right as the players try to top each other.

The film stars Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes as two basketball hustlers who join forces to make enough money - both of them aren't doing it as a hobby - they're doing it to make money. Harrelson's Billy Hoyle has a girlfriend(Rosie Perez) to support, and Sidney Dean(Snipes) has a family. And as we find out later in the film, Hoyle's in trouble with a couple of criminals.

The film plays somewhat like two pieces of the whole; part of the film is basketball game after basketball game; the other half deals with the relationship between the Harrelson and Perez characters. What unites the two sides is the fact that Shelton's lively dialogue not only feels real, but it's smart and funny as well. The picture isn't always a fast-moving one, but it glides along on its charm and wit.

Although Harrelson wasn't as good in Shelton's most recent "Play It To The Bone", he's perfect here, playing the dopey-looking guy who turns out to be one of the best players on the court. Snipes is very good as well, and unlike some of his other movies he's done, it looks like he's having fun with the role here. All in all, "White Men Can't Jump" isn't perfect and goes a little slow at times, but when it's on the court, it's a lot of fun.

Although I'm not sure exactly which scene it is, there is a deleted scene edited back into the movie. The running time of the film is listed as 112 minutes, and the running time of the DVD is listed as 115.


The DVD

VIDEO: Fox is now showing some serious respect to their catalog titles and if this transfer is any indication of what they've got planned for their future releases, I'm extremely pleased. "White Men Can't Jump" is an 8 year old film at this point, and although there are some little, minor flaws, the majority of the picture looks so consistently magnificent that I was seriously impressed from the opening frames on.

Sharpness is absolute perfection and wonderfully consistent. Detail is excellent and clarity is remarkably good. Colors pop right off the screen in scenes like the early sequence on the court filmed in the LA sunshine. Colors are rock solid and well-saturated, with no problems whatsoever. Black level is excellent, and flesh tones are perfectly natural.

The only thing keeping this transfer from being a true thing of beauty is a handful of marks on the print used - these are noticable, but not hugely distracting. Other than that, this is seriously excellent work from Fox.


SOUND: The Dolby Surround track is not anything stunning, but it's a treat anyways. The music (funk, rock and rap) is quite dynamic and has a great presence on the soundtrack. Other than that, the film remains pretty much a dialogue-driven comedy. Every taunt on the court sounds clean and easily understood, and the music really gives it all a boost of energy.

MENUS:: A clip of the film plays behind the logo on the main menu, and the score is also playing. Although there isn't animation on sub-menus, they also have the score playing.

EXTRAS: 2 Trailers, TV Spot and Music Video for "White Men Can't Jump".

Final Thoughts: A few more extras would have made this perfect, but as it is, Fox's tremendously good work in terms of picture quality makes this a pleasure to watch. Audio quality is good, and the movie itself is a lot of fun. Recommended, and I'll say it again - aside from a couple of little marks, the picture quality is so good here at times that it really makes me thrilled to see what Fox is going to do next.

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