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Tigerland

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    Mark Tolch
    Senior Member

  • Tigerland



    Released By: 20th Century Fox
    Released On: 05/24/2011
    Director: Joel Schumacher
    Cast:Colin Farrell, Matthew Davis, Clifton Jr. Collins
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Film:


    Tigerland
    was the second-worse place that a soldier could find himself back in the early 1970's. Though it was located in Louisiana, technically a part of Fort Polk, it was the last stop for many soldiers on their way to the worst place that a soldier could find himself back in the early 1970's…the Vietnam War.

    Private Roland Bozz (Colin Farrell) was an army grunt who excelled at being a pain in the ass. Though he came to display some leadership characteristics that the army brass were undoubtedly big fans of, Bozz made a name for himself by openly challenging officers in front of his fellow soldiers, and by helping some of them get out of the army through an assortment of loopholes. He also made a point of going AWOL at every possible opportunity, getting loaded, and cavorting with ladies of the evening. The harder he fought against the army, though, the harder they fought back, shipping him off to Tigerland for one final ass-whuppin' before sending him to the War.

    Though his antics and knowledge of loopholes gained him a few admirers, such as fellow Private Jim Paxton (Matthew Davis), others who aspired to climb to the top of the army food chain were not so enamoured. Bozz gets himself a life-long enemy in the form of Private Wilson, who doesn't like it when Bozz objects to Wilson's use of a word that starts with “N” when referring to one of the black soldiers in the platoon. Unfortunately for Bozz and his buddy Paxton, Wilson is deadly serious with his threats; serious enough to load up some live ammunition during the unit's practice combat runs and use Bozz for target practice.

    Because it's based on Vietnam and largely set in a boot camp, Tigerland has and will no doubt continue to draw comparisons to Kubricks' Full Metal Jacket. And there are quite a few similarities. Although it lacks the intensity of Kubrick's film, which many concede as the best war film ever made, Full Metal Jacket burns so brightly for the first half of the movie, and the second half can't quite follow it; Tigerland isn't as much of a kick in the face, but it's strong and consistent throughout. The characters also seem slightly less focused in Tigerland; outside of Bozz, there's not too much depth to anyone who stays for the entire run of the film. Colin Farrell, new to American audiences, dominates the film and shows the promise of the superstar that he would become, and the rest of the characters, virtual unknowns, add to the realism.

    Tigerland is a huge accomplishment for Director Joel Schumacher as well. Though he was the man in the chair for The Lost Boys and D.C. Cab, he's also responsible for Batman Forever. Tigerland, which came only 3 years after the horrid piece of trash known as Batman and Robin, shows off some directing chops that many would not know him capable of. Though he would later return to making crap films (Veronica Guerin), Tigerland is a reminder of what he can do with the right project.

    Video/Audio/Extras:


    Tigerland comes to blu-ray from 20th Century Fox with a 1.85:1 transfer and a 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track. Simply put, it's all perfect. The video is gritty and grainy as it should be, but without loss of clarity or contrast levels. There's not much going on with the colour palette, but what's there looks great. Tigerland was shot on 16mm film, so it's not going to look like a billion-dollar production, but that's a good thing. Likewise, the 5.1 audio track makes good use of the surrounds and subwoofer while maintaining consistently coherent dialogue, but doesn't go overboard like many action films do.

    A fair number of extra features are also included. Be forewarned, however; the audio on these extras is all over the place. Expect that you'll be adjusting the volume constantly, as it goes from dead quiet to full blast in the blink of an eye. First up is The Real Tigerland, which runs almost 22 minutes and features actual war veterans talking about their time at Fort Polk.

    Next up is Joel Schumacher-Journey To Tigerland, which is basically a 10-minute interview with Schumacher, where he talks about the inspiration behind making the film and the casting of new talent, among other things.

    Ross Klavan-Ode To Tigerland
    is an 11-minute piece featuring the writer of Tigerland discussing the writing of the script.

    Featurette is a 4-minute EPK of the film, featuring clips from the movie and interviews with Schumacher and Colin Farrell.

    Casting Session With Colin Farrell runs 6 minutes and 29 seconds, and consists of the casting tapes that were recorded when Farrell was auditioning for the part of Bozz.

    Two Television Spots and a Trailer for the film are also included.

    One of the most interesting extras is a feature-length commentary with Joel Schumacher. An engaging speaker who is obviously enthusiastic about the project, Schumacher covers a ton of details about the film, including the location, the shooting schedule, casting, the politics of the film, working with new actors, and a whole load of other stuff.

    Overall:

    A well-made film that slipped under the radar for a lot of folks, Tigerland is definitely something you should see. The blu-ray from 20th Century Fox is a great way to see it.
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