Plot: What’s it about?

Lucky Luciano (Christian Slater), Bugsy Siegel (Richard Grieco), Meyer Lansky (Patrick Dempsey), and Frank Costello (Costas Mandylor) have been friends since childhood, so they share a strong bond. The four friends venture into the criminal world even in their younger days, with small time capers and what not. As time passes, the group moves slowly up the rungs of organized crime, from small tasks to serious business. Soon enough, it becomes clear that Lucky and his boys have a real talent and the potential to be in charge is obvious. The friends don’t lack ambition either, so when the chance to rise through the ranks is there, they don’t hesitate to step up. This doesn’t sit well with some of the veterans, who think the friends have gained too much in too little time, so there is a potential for conflict. But will Lucky his friends be held back by the old timers, or will they do what they’ve done to this point and steamroll whoever is in their way?

Mobsters wants to be Young Guns in the mafia genre, but it doesn’t even come close. And since Young Guns is a middling film at best, that puts Mobsters in the category of not even worth a look. Christian Slater, Patrick Dempsey, Richard Grieco, and Costas Mandylor weren’t the cream of the crop even then, so this is by no means an all star event. The leads are surrounded by able talent like Michael Gambon, Anthony Quinn, and Lara Flynn Boyle, but the movie never clicks. The filmmakers seem more concerned with flash & style instead of substance, so what plot is here is either thin or incoherent. The characters are written with no real depth, which couples with poor performances to create a forgettable experience. I have no idea why Universal chose Mobsters for an HD-DVD release, but it was a terrible decision. I wouldn’t recommend Mobsters to my worst enemy and even in high definition, this is one movie no one should have to endure.

Video: How does it look?

Mobsters is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The best word I can use to describe this transfer is decent. This looks better than the DVD, but doesn’t have that “wow’ factor we want from high definition. The print looks good, but has some minor issues and clarity isn’t memorable. You’ll see some decent detail depth at times, but few scenes offer the eye popping visuals we want and have come to expect. I found contrast to be solid, while colors were a little more problematic, inconsistent hues that didn’t always fall into the proper shades. In the end, Mobsters looks okay here and a step up from the DVD, but I expected more and I have to assume fans will also.

Audio: How does it sound?

If the case hadn’t listed a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option, I wouldn’t have believed one was present. The audio here isn’t bad, but it lacks the kind of presence and power you might expect. After all, this is a movie about gangsters, which should mean some fireworks, but it never happens. Most of the audio remains anchored in the front channels and when the surrounds do kick in, it doesn’t have a natural presence. You have to blame the sound design though, not this new soundtrack. The material itself is thin in terms of audio, which is what the soundtrack replicates. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 option, a French language track, and subtitles in English and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes no bonus materials.