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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > The Matador (HD-DVD)

The Matador (HD-DVD)


Picture: B     Sound: B-     Extras: C     Film: C



Without James Bond, Pierce Brosnan is still emulating the style of the character, even when spoofing or extrapolating on it.  Spoofing is more of the point of Richard Shepherd’s The Matador (2004), an independent production The Weinstein Company decided to pick up.  Brosnan is old hitman Julian Noble, who meets a somewhat older salesman (Greg Kinnear) when eating at a Mexican bar.


Danny Wright (Kinnear) has a life that is almost all wrong, except for his wife (Hope Davis) but with Noble might have a second chance at a successful business if he goes in and will they go legitimate or will they team up for a new cycle of well-paid assassinations?  Unfortunately, the film is no better than the overrated Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (reviewed in both HD-DVD and Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and all Brosnan can do is repeat what he did in Remington Steele as a hitman versus a spy with a few decades added.


There was a chance in Shepherd’s screenplay to make this work and the teaming with Kinnear has its potential, but the film ultimately is once again about fooling around with masculinity and genre instead of doing anything truly new with it and a few missed opportunities figure in.  The domestic humor also has grown thin since the 1980s.  Philip Baker Hall also stars.


The 2.35 X 1 1080p digital High Definition image was shot in Super 35mm film by David Tattersall, B.S.C., who makes it look decent if not great.  This is easily among the clearest of the early Weinstein HD-DVD releases with good Video Black, though not a demo disc for picture either.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 at Plus levels shows its low-budget and dialogue-based limits, but is not bad and has its moments.  Rolfe Kent’s score is often the highlight of the surrounds.  Also note that this disc offers some start-up troubles, so it is not your machine.


Extras include two audio commentaries with Director Shepherd, including one where he is joined by Brosnan and Kinnear, deleted scenes, TV ad, original theatrical trailer, making of featurette and a marketing featurette.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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