The Express (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Ernie Davis (Rob Brown) had always dreamed of becoming a professional athlete, even as a child he idolized Jackie Robinson and his accomplishments. While some African-Americans, like Robinson for example, had made strides in the world of college and even professional sports, they were still vastly in the minority. Davis was able to develop into an impressive high school football player, thanks to natural talent, hard work, and the encouragement of his grandfather. Davis is even recruited to play for Syracuse, an honor he accepts, but finds racism lurks around countless corners. Even as he faces challenges off the field, can Davis prove himself both as a player and as a man?

As this is based on Ernie Davis’ real life experiences, it feels awkward to critique the movie, as if saying the movie was bad somehow means Davis’ story isn’t worthwhile. I think Davis’ experiences are rich and inspiring, but this production fails to make his life’s story come alive on screen. While Davis has a unique story of empowerment and dedication, The Express doesn’t put that to use. The result is that The Express comes off like just another underdog sports movie. This is a shame, as Davis’ story deserves better and this movie falls short. The film also focuses more on the struggle than Davis himself, so the human side of Davis isn’t explored, he is more of a juggernaut here. I know dramatic license and all that, but The Express didn’t need to water this down, as Davis’ story is unique and deserves better than this.

Video: How does it look?

The Express is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a decent looking presentation, but is inconsistent and never seems to stabilize. Some scenes sparkle with incredible depth, while others could pass as standard definition, so there is variance with the material. The scenes that look good are impressive, which makes the lesser ones all the more disappointing. At least color and contrast seem to hold up well. In the end, this is passable, but unremarkable.

Audio: How does it sound?

This DTS HD 5.1 is rock solid and has some great moments. As expected, the football scenes pack a nice wallop and you’ll almost feel like you’re out there on the field yourself. The high impact nature of the sport comes across well, as does the sense of being in front of a live crowd. The score sounds excellent also, while dialogue is clear and crisp throughout. The calmer scenes sound fine also, but don’t have the same level of presence. This disc also includes a Spanish language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Gary Fleder’s director’s comments are decent, but run on the dull side. He has some nice production details, but isn’t the kind of talker you’ll enjoy listening to. There also isn’t a lot of information to be had, so this is one commentary track you’ll be safe skipping, even if you’re a fan. This disc also includes some deleted scenes, four promotional featurettes, and some footage from the 1959 Syracuse National Championship game.

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