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Don't get too excited, John Cusack fans - the high-def upgrade of this mid-90s cult hit disappoints across the board....
Buena Vista / 107 Minutes / 1997 / Rated R / Street Date: August 7, 2012
John Cusack movies don't necessarily have to be dramatically solid in order to deliver what we viewers desire of them. Over the years, Johnny Boy has become a veritable institution as a cinematic staple: he chooses a diverse set of roles to play, of course - look at The Raven vs. Better Off Dead vs. Hot Tub Time Machine - but as a star and an on-screen presence, John Cusack is bigger than life. He's a veritable mainstay for those of us who have loved him since the 1980s.
And Grosse Pointe Blank is a fun genre switch for him. When it first arrived in theaters in the mid 1990s, it was a little too rough around the edges to be accepted as a bona fide hit, but the thing holds up - on this Blu-ray edition, the hit man high school reunion flick feels loose and biting, like an underrated gem getting a new lease on life. But this disc unfortunately has problems that all but trump any narrative merits the film might offer.
In short, Grosse Pointe Blank is kind of a shitty Blu-ray Disc. Proving that at least nominal input is needed in order for catalog titles to come to life in high-def, poor John Cusack's film hardly gets a chance to milk any particular precision or finesse out of the extra quality BD has to offer. When we get down to basics later, we'll itemize exactly why this is so, but even if Grosse Pointe Blank has aged well (and rest assured - it has), this new edition simply isn't worth the investment.
Call it one of the bigger missed opportunities for catalog titles this year: Grosse Pointe Blank may not be a bona fide classic - it has its moments, of course, but never quite adds up to more than the sum of its parts - but it deserves better. Those holding a torch for the underrepresented picture will be sorely disappointed by this release, a Blu-ray Disc that neither delivers in terms of technical savvy nor supplemental material. It's a downer.