The Machine (Blu-ray)

Bert's drunken past catches up with him 20 years down the road when he and his father are kidnapped by those Bert wronged 20 years ago while drunk on a college semester abroad in Russia.

August 23, 2023 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

I can never grasp the concept of large men, chubby men, if you will who feel the need to display their big beer bellies for our amusement. It isn’t attractive nor is it especially funny. I bring this up, because Comedian and star of The Machine, Bert Kreischer does a lot of it. I had never heard of him prior to seeing the film, but apparently this is something he routinely does during his standup. He does a lot of it in this film as well, which, despite some mildly amusing bits, is a waste of time.

There’s a who-cares plot at the center of The Machine and it tells the true (?) story of when Bert was in Russia and helped some mobsters rob a train. This was not by choice, but it’s at his daughter’s sweet 16 birthday party that he learns that the Russians aren’t so forgiving. His father is played by none other than mark Hamill. There are some amusing early bits, especially with his father and his overall disapproval of Bert’s life and career choices. There are also flashback sequences involving a young Bert (Jimmy Tatro), but mostly, the plot becomes more and more conventional as it goes along. Bert and his father are tasked with helping with Russian mob for an event that dates to 1998. During this, Bert steals a special watch that the Russians now want back.

The Machine throws a lot of business at us, but so little of it sticks. I cared nothing about the plot or the flashbacks. The action is routine and boring, and the jokes and exchanges simply don’t work. At 112 minutes, this begins to feel like an endurance test, and of course, the blood-soaked climax has Bert shirtless through much of it. One can embrace having a dad bod all they want, but that doesn’t make it any more appealing or humorous, but the filmmakers and star seem to think so. Kreischer isn’t the worst of all actors, and he can handle himself well. It’s just that he isn’t funny or especially likable in the leading role. I grew impatient and couldn’t wait for the film to end. Skip it.

Video: How’s it look?

With a 2.39:1 transfer, you can expect very good results here. It’s a new film, one that was likely shot digitally, and it looks quite nice. There’s a clean feeling to the transfer. I know 4K is the preferred choice of many today, but this one satisfied me consistently. Details are strong and colors all accurate.

Audio: How’s it sound?

The DTS HD track is also a winner. Vocals have the expected clarity, but the film has its share of action moments, which engage us. I kept the remote handy as it could become quite loud at times.

Supplements: What are the extras?

  • Bert’s Big Bash – Premiere Party – This one looks at Bert speaking to the crowd, speaking of how thankful he is for everyone involved, and how theaters need the business, and various other things. Oh, and he takes his shirt off, so there’s that.
  • Bert, Bruised & Brawlin’: The Action of The Machine – A standard look at the making of the film and the action sequences.
  • The Making of The Machine – A decent behind the scenes look at what drew everyone to this project.
  • The Cast of The Machine – The title tells you what you should know. Here, we’re given a look at the casting for the film.
  • Outtakes & Bloopers
  • Deleted Scenes – Some so-so moments. Nothing essential as the film was already long enough.
  • Previews

The Bottom Line

I suppose fans of Kreischer, or “The Machine”, if you will, may get more out of this than myself. I found his presence irritating to say the least. There are some early moments that amuse, and a few scattered throughout, but mostly, this was a painful experience about a guy who’s just not all that amusing. He is loud and obnoxious. If it wasn’t clear, you can safely skip this one.

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