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Most people's memory of The Bodyguard is Whitney Houston's performance of "I Will Always Love You" and not much else, and since it had been years since I'd sat down and watched the film it was one of the first things I thought of when the disc arrived in the mail too. The other thing that comes to mind when I think of it is the image of my father-in-law snoozing in his recliner while it softly plays on the television across the room.

Bodyguard, The
My father-in-law is an outdoorsman who enjoys fishing and working on projects in the yard. A carpenter by trade, he enjoys the sense of accomplishment that comes with building something with his hands. By all accounts he's a real man's man, but he's also had an expectation defying man crush on Kevin Costner for years. If he were stranded on a deserted island, the three movies he take with him are, in no particular order, Waterworld, Dances With Wolves, and The Bodyguard. For years I'd hear the talk amongst the family believing it all to be a joke, but over the years of lazy Sunday afternoons and holidays I've seen it firsthand. I could see him liking Waterworld since it's a guilty pleasure of mine, and Dances With Wolves is a fine, award winning film, but The Bodyguard? The one with Whitney Houston belting out that song?

After seeing the film in its entirety for the first time in over 15-years I guess I'll have to give him some slack and lay off the jokes a bit. In her film debut, Whitney Houston plays Rachel Marron, a music/movie superstar at her peak--fans want to see her, hear her, touch her. But one wants to kill her, and that's where security expert Frank Farmer (Costner) comes in. Farmer is a professional who never lets his guard down. Rachel's glamorous life often puts her at risk and each expects to be in charge, but what they don't expect is to fall in love.

Bodyguard, The
In 1992 Kevin Costner was arguably the biggest actor in Hollywood with a resume that included the aforementioned and Oscar winning Dances With Wolves, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Field of Dreams, Bull Durham and The Untouchables in the few years prior, and Whitney Houston was the biggest female pop star in the world who even managed to turn her rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" into a Top 20 Hit on the Billboard Hot 100 a year earlier in 1991. Taking these facts into consideration it isn't surprising that The Bodyguard was a major hit that made over $400 million at the worldwide box office and the soundtrack is the best selling soundtrack of all-time with over 44 million copies sold.

Of course The Bodyguard is more than just what most people remember it for--if it were all flash and no substance and a product of featuring the right stars at the right time it wouldn't have nearly the following it still does to this day. In truth it's a bit clunky in places, but it's a fairly decent romantic thriller when you get right down to it. Costner's charm and laid back, rugged manner works really well here, but Houston's natural and charming portrayal as the glamorous star is a real surprise to anyone whose seen a lot of films centered around a pop star. Their easy chemistry really holds the film together during the moments when it leaves the action behind and veers off into more romantic territory where Lawrence Kasdan's script seems to have most of its problems. All in all it's a much better movie than I remember it being, so I guess I'll have to lay off my father-in-law a little bit in the future, though I won't outright defend him to avoid being included in the joke. He's on his own there, though he's also likely to kill me for discussing it here.

Bodyguard, The
Video
Warner Home Video's 1080p, 1.85:1, AVC encoded video transfer found on the Blu-ray is a very solid effort and represents the best the film has looked on home video in a few respects. It's a given that the high definition transfer yields a much greater degree of detail that the previously released DVD, but it's the color and black levels where the differences are most easily apparent. The transfer also hasn't had too much in the way of digital noise reduction applied, leaving the resulting picture with a nice grain structure and film like appearance. The video does tend to appear soft in many areas, but it's just a product of the stylistic choices made during production and not a problem with the transfer. I couldn't detect any aliasing, banding, artifacting or any other such anomalies that would hamper the video, and the source print used is largely free of any defects such as dirt or debris that might blemish the picture. Overall this is a very good looking catalog title that Warner has released on Blu-ray.

Audio
Like the video on the disc, Warner's Blu-ray features an audio track that fans will be generally pleased with. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is solid throughout, and while the surround channels are never driven into overdrive the track makes good use of directional effects during crowded scenes, some of the more action oriented set pieces and the musical numbers all while keeping dialogue clear coming from the front channel for the majority of the running time. Overall this is a very nice audio track that does the movie justice.

Bodyguard, The
Extras
Warner's Blu-ray release of The Bodyguard features a few extras that have been ported over from the previously released DVD. First up is the 27-minute, standard definition featurette "Memories of The Bodyguard", which features Lawrence Kasdan on bringing the story to the screen after years of development and stars Costner and Houston reflecting on the picture. It's little more than an elongated EPK feature, but it's nice and the interviews are pleasant enough. Also included are the music video for the song "I Will Always Love You" and the film's theatrical trailer, both in standard definition.

Bodyguard, The
Overall
The Bodyguard is a better film than what I remembered and even if it's still a bit flimsy in places its two stars make it work. Warner Home Video's Blu-ray release features better than expected audio and video, but not a whole lot in the features department. Overall, longtime fans of the picture will be pleased with the presentation here save for the lack of many extras, and it's worth a shot for those just discovering it for the first time.

* The above images are not representative of the Blu-ray disc.

Bodyguard, The - Frank Protects Rachel
More clips are available here.

* Special Note: Warner Brothers will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of The Bodyguard with a special one-night in-theater event on Wednesday, March 28 at 7:30 p.m. local time.  For more information visit www.fathomevents.com


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