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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Heist > Italy > Crime > Soccer > Drama > Britain > Documentary > Israel > The Biggest Bundle Of Them All (1967/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/The Firm (2009/British/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Gambit (2012 remake/CBS Films/Sony Blu-ray)/How Much Is Enough (2011 TV Docum

The Biggest Bundle Of Them All (1967/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/The Firm (2009/British/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Gambit (2012 remake/CBS Films/Sony Blu-ray)/How Much Is Enough (2011 TV Documentary Mini-Series)/Hunting Elephants (2013/Umbrella PAL Import DVDs)

Picture: C+/B/B-/C+/C Sound: C/B-/B-/C+/C+ Extras: D/B-/D/D/D Main Programs: B-/C+/C/B/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Biggest Bundle Of Them All is an online exclusive from Warner Archive, The Firm is a limited edition Blu-ray from our friends at Twilight Time and only 3,000 copies will be made and the How Much Is Enough and Hunting Elephants Import DVDs are now only available from Umbrella in Australia. All can be ordered from the links below.

Here's a group of comic releases with some action and even drama, but also a couple with soccer...

Ken Annakin's The Biggest Bundle Of Them All (1967) starts with the kidnapping of an old Italian criminal type (Vittorio De Sica) in Italy by an aggressive young criminal (Robert Wagner) who drags along a crew and his girlfriend (Raquel Welch) who want money for him in return or they'll kill him. However, he is not the criminal mastermind they thought and things are not working out as planned until the captive convinces them of a platinum heist and how much money they could make.

He has the help of an old friend (Edward G. Robinson) with the plan, but that too is not necessarily going to go as planned. The film starts out in al seriousness, then it slowly turns to upscale comedy as the original plan slowly implodes. Then it gets more and more interesting trying to be another Topkapi! However, it has some minor issues and Annakin juggles this as well as can be expected, but the script just tries to do too much. MGM intended this as a big hit and it did some business, yet was not a smash. Seeing it now, it holds up well enough, aging well, Welch looks great stealing almost every scene she is in and I liked what all involved tried. Godfrey Cambridge, Victor Spinetti (A Hard Day's Night) and Mickey Knox (The Lonely Lady) help make up a supporting cast with chemistry and this is worth seeing at least once for what does work.

There are sadly no extras.

Nick Love's The Firm (2009) is not the overrated Tom Cruise thriller, but a highly underseen British drama about two generations of soccer fans thrown away by Thatcher's England and how all they have left to their own devices are crime, violence and soccer. It is a sometimes brutal film with some elements that will go over the heads of a U.S. audience, but it is a period piece (including a solid use of hit songs better than the norm including Soft Cell's classic New Wave remake of Tainted Love) in a script that pulls no punches.

Originally a telefilm by Alan Clarke (see Scum and (like this release) Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray of Rita, Sue and Bob Too! reviewed elsewhere on this site), this is a period piece that expects then audience knows some of the history of what is going on, but Love is trying to make it feel like it is happening as you watch and does not have time for that. In this case, that approach works at times, but it also leaves some things with at least a slight lack of exposition that hurts it and at only 90 minutes, a few more minutes would not have hurt. Still, it is enough of a slice of life work that it is worth seeing once and I am very glad I caught it.

Extras include another nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and an essay by Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds a feature length audio commentary track by Director Nick Love and two other collaborators on the film, an Isolated Music Score track, a Making Of featurette, an Original Theatrical Trailer, Anatomy Of The Fights featurette and Deleted & Alternate Scenes.

For another soccer comedy from Britain from Twilight Time, try Fever Pitch at this link:


Michael Hoffman's Gambit is a 2012 remake of the mixed Michael Caine/Shirley MacLaine film from 1966 with a new screenplay by no less than The Coen Brothers, but they did not direct this one and I can see why. Colin Firth is in the Caine role of the and since Diaz is not the greatest dancer, her role is suddenly that of some rodeo queen up to their own heist. This could have worked if the script and directing was not of the boring/cynical type, but the makers made the wrong choices in their changes. However, Alan Rickman makes sense in the Herbert Lom role. Otherwise, this is a dud, though the opening animated credits aren't bad.

There are no extras.

The 2011 TV Documentary Mini-Series How Much Is Enough is the latest of no less than three documentary TV mini-series we have had the pleasure of enjoying on soccer (football in Europe, et al) since the DVD box sets we enjoyed on The History Of Soccer: The Beautiful Game and FIFA: The Beautiful Century (see links below) that had very thorough looks at the sport. This newest program updates the story, adds new things on the past and pulls no punches on talking about the globalization and mega-commercialism the game now has.

The four hours here include looking at the past, on the rise of Africa for star players (reminding me of how the Pittsburgh Steelers became the biggest American Football franchise ever), Latin America and even the potential for the U.S. to finally join the rest of the world in what is really the sport of the world. With little overlap, the program is a pleasant surprise that I really enjoyed and is worth going out of your way for. Too bad it is only available as an import at this time.

There are no extras, but this one is plenty long enough and you can read about more soccer at these links:

The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Film in Blu-ray 3D


Once In A Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story Of The New York Cosmos DVD


History Of Soccer: The Beautiful Game DVD Box Set narrated by Terence Stamp


FIFA: The Beautiful Century DVD Box Set


Reshef Levi's Hunting Elephants (2013) is also a heist film, but it involves a teenager and three older Jewish men (including one played by Patrick Stewart!) robbing a bank in Jerusalem. It can be comical and has some good moments, but between the intermittent melodrama and formula, the film doesn't do much we have not seen already (see the superior Go For Zucker! elsewhere on this site) so the result is a mixed bag. Moni Moshonov and Sasson Gabai play the fellow robbers and seeing this in Israel is a nice twist, but I never laughed outright.

There are no extras.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital HD-shot High Definition image transfer on Firm has a superior use of color and is the playback champ on this list from the Warner Bros. shield turning neon to the rest of the film. Considering how bad so many HD shoots have looked in the last 5 years, the makers can be proud of what they pulled off here. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Gambit was shot more recently on an Arri Alexa, yet it is not as consistent and disappoints throughout. It also does not look as good as the 1966 film which was actually issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints.

The DVDs are next with the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Bundle and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Much tying for third place in playback quality. Bundle was issued in MetroColor and looks good more often than not, but needs a Blu-ray, while Much is a nice mix of vintage film and analog video with new and recent HD footage. That leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Elephants on the weak side with some staircasing and aliasing errors, but might be better on Blu-ray.

In the sound department, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on the Firm and Gambit Blu-rays tie for first place with their dialogue-based mixes not always taking advantage of the multi-channel possibilities. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on Elephants and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Much tie for third place, sounding good for their formats, but not spectacular. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Bundle is a little weaker than it should be, slightly compressed and a bit of a disappointment.

You can order The Biggest Bundle Of Them All DVD by going to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


...to order The Firm limited edition Blu-ray, buy them while supplies last at this link:


...and to order either of the Umbrella import DVDs, go to this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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