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The star studded courtroom drama,  A Few Good Men – Special Edition has made its way to DVD with a new special edition treatment. Previously, there was a bare bones only edition of this film. Now A Few Good Men has returned with a fantastic special edition, packed with some great extras!

Movie
A Few Good Men begins when solider William T. Santiago is killed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba during a hazing ritual. The two men accused of the killing are put to trial with Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore) and Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) set to defend them. With a rocky start Galloway and Kaffee are completely different personalities, she’s by the book and he knows everyone, which makes it difficult for Galloway to get him dismissed from the case.

Some believe the case is an open and shut case, however, once Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson), is questioned, suspicions arise as to whether or not he had a role in the hazing. Tom Cruise turns in a great performance as the defense lawyer who flies by the seat of his pants and practices law in somewhat of an unconventional manner. Equally strong is Moore’s portrayal as the other half of the defense team seeking justice. I was grateful that this film did not fall into the trap of romantically linking Galloway and Kaffee in the story. It was nice to see two members of the opposite sex be able to spend large amounts of time together without having to deal with the challenges of a romantic relationship. Kevin Pollack, J.T. Walsh, Kiefer Sutherland and Kevin Bacon also exhibit fantastic performances.

This film was adapted from Aaron Sorkin’s play, writer on television’s “West Wing” and the film “The American President”. None the less, the dialogue is strong and what could have turned into a slow moving courtroom drama is actually quite compelling.

Video
This is a fabulous 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer from Columbia-Tristar. The picture is extremely sharp and the detail shown in scenes is outstanding. I hardly noticed any print flaws either. I think given to the age of the film a few speckles are noticeable, but it isn’t anything that ruined the presentation of this 1992 film.

The colors also appear very sharp and right on.

Audio
The studio has presented this film in Dolby Digital 5.1, a fantastic addition since the original release on DVD featured Dolby 2.0. With a dialogue driven film such as this, the majority of the sound was focused in the front speakers however; occasionally there was sound that exited from the rear speakers. Obviously this wouldn’t be a film in which to demonstrate your surround sound system to someone, but overall the sound was audible, crisp and clear.

Extras  
Columbia-Tristar originally released this film as a bare bones edition and finally, the studio has listened to fans demanding special editions. Well this edition is indeed special and it does not lack the special features either!

A commentary track from director Rob Reiner present which gives some interesting facts about the behind-the-scenes happenings or working with the number of movie stars within this film.

Reiner seems to enjoy doing commentary tracks, however he is famous in the DVD world for not talking throughout the film. Fortunately though, the sound does come in within the movie when Reiner is speechless. I enjoyed listening to Reiner give his ideas about the film and its stars. But be warned there is a lot of time throughout the film that Reiner remains silent.

Also featured is a 34-minute documentary, “Code of Conduct.” It shows the journey of the production from the concept to the true events that actually inspired Sorkin to write the play. Members of the cast and crew reminisce about working on the film and tell stories about the production.  I found this documentary to be extremely interesting, unlike those that are more like five minute marketing campaigns showing just clips of the film.

“Stage to Screen” is a 13-minute documentary that mainly focuses on Sorkin. He discusses working on the play version and then moving to a major motion picture version. Reiner is also present throughout this presentation, however, Sorkin is actually given the opportunity to discuss how the play to film process was made. I enjoyed this documentary as well, however I would have liked to have seen some scene stills from the play. I think it would have made an interesting play to screen comparison.

And of course, the usual trailers and filmographies are included. The trailers are for “A Few Good Men”, “Juror” and “Jerry Maguire”.

I remember seeing this film in the theater when it was released in 1992 and I loved it. The entire cast turns in spectacular performances and the climactic ending is as intense as any I have ever seen in a courtroom drama! Reiner knows how to pick his projects. With this being Sorkin’s first foray into writing for the silver screen he succeeded and he will be around for years to come.

Columbia-Tristar has turned out a version packed with features that were very interesting and eye opening on the production of this film. The video and audio were also very good.


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