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Save Your Legs!
The world of profession sports has led to so many famous sports films covering global favorites like Baseball, Basketball, Soccer, Football, Tennis... and Cricket? Well, Cricket might not be a sport as well known around the entire world (it certainly lacks as much fandom in the United States) but it's actually a sport that could be considered the second most popular worldwide, considering it's upwards of 3 billion fans across Australia, India, the United Kingdom, and several Asian countries. Save Your Legs is the first cricket sports film I have ever seen, so certainly it seems as though the US is lacking in much cricket-eering. Yet Twilight Time certainly sees reason to release this splendid sports-comedy and its small-comedy charms
The concept of Save Your Legs began with an actual "based on a true story" event - though those events have been altered somewhat for this film, it's the real life story that inspired its creation. A team of average D-Grade Cricket players from Australia somehow found themselves becoming a new recruited team to play in the India Cricket League. The result was a real journey by real-life average Cricket players finding themselves in unfamiliar territory, and it became documented in a feature-length documentary that is the inspiration for the film (and is included on this Blu-ray release).
In the dramatic film version, each of the team members in hitting their mid-life and many of the team members were starting to consider abandoning playing the sport altogether due to growing up, starting families, and focusing on other things than "playing ball" with their mates. Yet a few of the team members find themselves starting the entire group on a whirlwind journey into India and their biggest competition to date across three Cricket matches. Teddy (Stephen Curry), Rick (Brendan Cowell), and Stavros (Damon Gameau) somehow make the trek work: everyone's hops aboard a train to India. What new adventures will be bestowed upon them?
As the film unfolds, hijinks unfold as the team comes to terms with the difficulty adjusting to the Indian food served to them (and its failure to work well with their digestive systems), the unique partying style of the country (with beautiful bold colors in most of the attire they encounter with their attended festivities), and the general hilarity of their matches (for which they are obviously ill-prepared to win). Teddy, who is a sort of hapless but well-spirited leader of the bunch, leads away regardless of the team's underperforming matches and tries to inspire in every one that a won game is a good game and that they can still do their best and succeed. Well, this kind of "winning means everything" ideology for the team leads to some trouble along the way. If winning seems to be a dramatically important part of the storyline, so is a romantic subplot involving Teddy and Anjali (Pallavi Sharda), who is the daughter of one of the team's Cricket heroes. Over the course of the film the team's resilience and dedication to Cricket is explored, and similarly, the romance which brings everything together full-circle for Teddy.
Directed by Boyd Hickin, a part-time player in the real Australian Cricket team that inspired the Save Your Legs film through the documentary created (which was also directed by Hicklin), it's clear Hickin is both borrowing from a lot of events the team experienced on the journey while also being as good as a director as possible. The film is well-paced to such a great extent that there's never a real dull moment in the entire film. It also does a splendid job on looking in at both Australian and Indian culture and the way they mesh in this competitive tournament that displaces the Aussie team from what they are used to. With great cinematography done by the acclaimed Australian DP Mark Wareham, a theme about growing up and finding oneself (even within the sports-move framework) Save Your Legs is ultimately a charming, and well spirited effort that is worth seeking out for its uniqueness and genuineness.
Save Your Legs has received an absolutely stunning high definition debut. This is one of the best looking Blu-ray discs of the year. This film is one that should absolutely be seen on the Blu-ray format. Seeing it in any other form would certainly be a disservice to the impressive photography from acclaimed Australian cinematographer Mark Wareham. There are no compression artifacts, no artificial digital tinkering to the source was done (no DNR or edge enhancement or false color to mess with this transfer), and no banding to be seen. Everything looks as sharp as a tack. There really is nothing to complain about. Looking at this transfer, I am pleased with its high standards concerning encoding and overall presentation quality. To use a baseball term (I'm not sure of its affiliation to Cricket), it's a home run. It is presented on a 50 GB Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC encoding in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 widescreen.
Despite featuring an incredible video presentation, it was nonetheless surprising just how good the audio was for the film. It was creative in the sound mixing throughout and the clarity was highly important to the film's presentation. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio works well with numerous enveloping sound attributes from cricket matches to the beautiful fun music from India. There were no discernible issues with dialogue clarity and the richness of the audio is something that was well-matched to the great video presentation with this 24 bit encoding.
English SDH subtitles (for the deaf and hard of hearing) are provided.
Audio Commentary with Director Boyd Hicklin, Producers Robyn Kershaw & Nick Batzias, and Actors Stephen Curry, Brendan Cowell and Damon Gameau
Isolated Music and Effects Track in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo
Save Your Legs: The Documentary (Standard Definition, 52 min.) is the feature-length film that inspired the creation of the dramatic Save Your Legsstory. In it, viewers can discover the real-team that went on such an incredible sports-journey.
Bound 4 India with Ted and Col (1080p, 6 min.) is a comedic short piece with two of the characters from the film discussing whether or not to purchase certain products for their upcoming Journey to India.
Original Theatrical Trailer (1080p, 2 min.)
Though Save Your Legs is a Cricket sports movie (which means unfamiliar territory for most American viewers), the film can be enjoyed by audiences who aren't familiar with the sport it focuses on. The spirit and nature of the film is cheerful and places a lot of its emphasis on the journey the characters take. While the film is a bit less focused at times than it could be, it's a entertaining and enjoyable film that is worth seeking out for fans of sports dramas, comedies, and interesting Australian productions. Twilight Time has also done a first-rate job on the PQ, AQ, and supplemental package (which includes a documentary feature that inspired the main feature's creation).
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.