Plot: What’s it about?
This release offers a glimpse into the Hard Knock Life Tour, in which a band of popular rap artists stormed through fifty cities. The tour included many of the top names in rap music, from DMX to Redman to Method Man, all ready to rock the house and fire up the live audiences. You’ll watch as the performers do what they do best, entertain the crowds and burn up the stage, but with Backstage, you’re given more than a simple front row seat. This feature also takes you behind the scenes, so you can see what happens in between stops and what the artists do during travel or down time. This disc is your ticket into the hotel rooms, dressing rooms, and transportation of these rappers, as they cross the country on this massive musical trek. It is all uncensored also, so no bleeps or blurry areas surface here. If it happens, then you’ll see it and that’s that. So if you’re ready to see some the most popular rap stars in action, as well as see them off stage, then pick up Backstage and you’ll have the best of both worlds.
I tried to make this seem interesting, but I guess even I couldn’t do much with this one. Now if you’re a serious rap fan, then this might hold your interested, but otherwise, steer clear of this release. The case makes this seem like a real behind the scenes piece, but in truth, it is little more than a few quick public relation friendly clips in between performance footage reels. So what could have been an interesting and entertaining documentary turns into promotional fluff at best, which is a real let down. Had this been pushed as a performance driven piece then that would have been fine, but the case tricks the potential buyer into thinking is a real trip behind the scenes, which it isn’t in the least. I will say the music sounds great in the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which should please fans to no end. But with such a bad documentary facade and the lack of a widescreen transfer, this one is a rental at best and even then, to only the most devoted rap lovers.
Video: How does it look?
Backstage is presented in a full frame transfer, which seems to be an open matte edition of the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I can live with that due to the nature of the feature, but in truth, I think this is a bad sign, as all theatrical releases deserve anamorphic widescreen treatments. But aside from that, this image looks good when you consider the equipment used and nature of the beast here. This looks like most live performance releases, which means solid, but not as refined as a feature film would be. This works well enough here though, so I don’t think anyone will be let down. I did see a little more edge enhancement than I would have liked, but the rest of the elements seem in fine enough form.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is where this disc earns the keep, with a thumpin’ and pumpin’ Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound track. This kind of music lends itself well to the bass as I’m sure you know, so the subwoofer should see a lot of action here. The surrounds are used a lot in the music driven portions, so I think fans will love the rich and effective mix here. Of course, the more conservative scenes are more relaxed in terms of audio, but they still come across very well. This is the disc’s finest point to be sure, as it should be, since it is a music driven release. This disc also includes English subtitles, which are always welcome.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.