The Mexican

January 28, 2012 9 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

It was bound to happen, you knew it was. Julia Roberts, having finally immersed from her mid 90’s drought, is now back and “better” than before. Whereas once we liked to see her, now it seems that she’s just about everywhere. Of course, now she’s an “…Academy Award” winning actress; a label that’s bound to grace every television spot, DVD cover and movie poster that she’s in for the next five years or so. But I digress, this is not a Julia Robert’s romp, it’s a review of her latest movie. Whereas Julia Roberts kind of annoys me as of late, I have always been a fan of Brad Pitt. He has the superstar clout that Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Harrison Ford have, but he still chooses roles that are offbeat and that allow him to take a risk (Fight Club, Se7en, Snatch are three that come to mind). But it would seem that both Brad and Julia are in a movie together to make some money. Or are they? Director Gore Verbinski, most widely-known for his work on the surprise hit Mouse Hunt, is back behind the camera. One might think that the title of this movie is a biopic of Salma Hayek or some other star of Latin descent. Well, it’s not. Actually The Mexican is a gun that is believed to carry a curse and the one thing that’s keeping Brad and Julia’s character apart. So let us delve further into The Mexican…

Jerry (Brad Pitt) has bad luck. Things go wrong when he’s around and he can’t help it. Some people are just like that. He means well, he’s a nice guy who is having troubles with his girlfriend. It seems that Jerry has had somewhat of a checkered past and has become involved with some rather dishonest men. Ok…Jerry’s somewhat of a crook. He wants to give it all up, though, and make amends with his girlfriend, Samantha (Julia Roberts). As his latest “gig” has blown up in his face, the thugs he works for have offered him one last job. He doesn’t have to take it, he can be rolled up in a rug and set on fire in the trunk of a car if he wishes, but Jerry figures that the best way to get control of his life is to appease his superiors and do one last job. It seems simple enough, too…Jerry is to go to Mexico, get a priceless gun called “The Mexican” and return it to the guys he works for. But do things go that smoothly? Would there be a movie if they did? Samantha, fed up with Jerry and believing him to be selfish, heads off to Las Vegas while Jerry is South of the border doing his thing. As fate would have it, everyone wants a piece of The Mexican and Samantha is quickly kidnapped by another thug.

Now the story starts to evolve as we see Jerry fighting for his life in Mexico, desperately trying to get back to the states, we see that Samantha and Leroy (James Gandolfini) are starting to get to know each other. Now something that I was a bit uncomfortable with was the character of Leroy. Gandolfini, a fine actor, plays the part well, but their decision to make the character gay really threw me. Not only do they mention that he’s gay, but they expand upon it in ways that I really didn’t agree with. I don’t have a problem with gay men, but I just felt that this was out of place here. Just my opinion. Maybe Gandolfini is trying to break free of his “Soprano’s” motif. Who knows? Lest we say that getting there is half the fun. While The Mexican certainly has it’s flaws, its a good movie and likely to entertain most anyone who watches it. If not for Brad Pitt, then for Julia Roberts. I think this film was expected to do a bit better than it did, but it came out after Julia’s sickening Oscar speech. So maybe that had something to do with it. Or not. Give it a rental, and if you’re a fan, it’s got the supplements to make you happy.

Video: How does it look?

The Mexican is presented in a stunning 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer. Using many different methods thoroughout, this movie takes full advantage of the enhanced resolution provided by the DVD. Colors are on a muted palette, and appear a bit burned-out at times, but the orange in Pitt’s shirt and the red in Roberts’ hair look almost like you could reach out and touch them. A few scenes had just the slightest bit of edge enhancement, but it was something that I noticed and it was gone before I could spot it again. Black levels are solid and this being a new movie, I’d have to say that this transfer is yet another shining example of how Dreamworks displays their movies. Not quite reference quality, but The Mexican looks pretty darn good.

Audio: How does it sound?

As with a lot of Dreamworks titles, The Mexican has two options of Dolby Digital 5.1 and a DTS track. Naturally, I chose the DTS track first, because I prefer it to a Dolby Digital 5.1 track when I have the option. Surrounds…oh the surrounds! Part of the beauty of DTS is that it can make the smallest thing seem like it’s in your living room (and that, I suppose, is the point–right?). A bullet that bounces around the room or up in the air sounds like it’s echoing off all of your speakers. Gunfire and other assorted sounds abound throughout and dialogue is clean and clear. Again, while this will not be demo material for your speakers, you can relax and sit back and know that you’ll be getting one fine audio presentation–no matter which version you choose.

Supplements: What are the extras?

While not a fully-loaded Special Edition, The Mexican contains it’s share of supplements that’s bound to more than whet your appetite. The full-length commentary by Gore Verbinski and the crew is the highlight of the extras, and despite his accent, it’s a very informative track with little comments about various scenes. Informative and funny…a rare combination. Some deleted scenes, also available with commentary (which I think is more and more of a necessity), but it’s clear to see why they were deleted. They didn’t add to the film much, and as the director explains, they just slowed down the pace of the film. Also included is a making of featurette, and I hate to sound this way, but with these (though it is nice to have these included on the disc), you’ve seen one and you’ve seen them all. Worst case scenario, you get to croon at Brad Pitt/Julia Roberts a bit more. Whichever is for more of your liking, that is. The standard production notes, cast bios and a theatrical trailer are all included (in anamorphic widescreen, no less). Though this disc has it’s fair share of extras, it still leaves a bit to be desired; but all in all, it’s a nice disc that has been given some good treatment by Dreamworks.

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