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Film
Grosse Pointe Blank is a black comedy written and starring John Cusack.  It follows the story of freelance hitman Martin Blank (Cusack) who is going through a midlife crisis when he gets invited to a ten year high school reunion.  He isn't exactly enamoured with the idea of meeting his old school friends ("What am I going to say?  I killed the President of Paraguay with a fork, how have you been?"), but is forced to go back to his home town to undertake a hit. As the story progresses, we learn that Blank left his high school sweetheart Debi (Minnie Driver) on Prom Night and ran away to join the army, and he has been having recurring dreams about her since. When he gets back in town, he meets up with her, and eventually, he realises he still loves her. He is pursued by rival hitman Mr Grocer (Dan Aykroyd on fine form), who is obsessed with starting a union of hitmen and isn't happy that Blank doesn't want in.

Grosse Pointe Blank
Back in Grosse Pointe, Martin goes and visits his old home, and finds, to his great distress, that it is now an Ultimart. After visiting his mother, now residing in a nondescript institution, he goes back to the Ultimart and ends up in a shootout with yet another hitman, completely destroying the shop in the process.

The finale of the film is superb, with Blank in Debi's family home protecting her and her father by having gunfights with many hitmen from Grocer's Union while simultaneously professing his love to Debi.  This makes for a funny, exciting and heartwarming ending to the film.

A big highlight of the film for me is the soundtrack - packed full of eighties hits, it suits the story down to a tee (from opening with 'I Can See Clearly Now' while Blank is looking through his sniper scope, to 'The Ace Of Spades' during the destruction of the Ultimart).

This is one film that has the right amount of everything - dark jokes, one-liners, a subtle love story, hand-to-hand combat, gun fights.... It all adds up to make a brilliant black comedy that anybody that is a fan of the genre, or indeed any fan of Cusack, should see.

Grosse Pointe Blank
Video
The film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 has been given an anamorphic transfer.

However, while the transfer is good, it lacks the definition of newer films. There are also one or two noticable spots and blemishes on the print.

The film isn't particularly old and I can't understand it when film companies release editions of films that are way below par. The picture isn't bad, but it certainly isn't as good as it could, and should, have been.

Audio
The soundtrack is a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, and is acceptable - it isn't the sort of film that needs lots of surround effects, although having said that, during the gunfights the surround is put to good use. Bass is not particularly noticeable, as there is only one explosion - but it does improve that excellent 80s soundtrack.

The DD5.1 soundtrack is the only English one on the disk, although Italian and French stereo tracks are included.

Grosse Pointe Blank
Extras
Grosse Pointe Blank has no extras on it at all, which to be honest, is not acceptable - although, to be fair, it is a fairly old release now - surely it's time there was a special edition of this film done?

Overall
Grosse Pointe Blank is a fantastic black comedy, that has something for pretty much everyone - gunplay and fist fights for the men, and a love story for the ladies!  If you are a fan of John Cusack, I would urge you to see this film if you haven't already - throughout, he does a fine job of playing a coldblooded hitman going through a midlife crisis and learning that life may just about be worth living after all.  Dan Aykroyd also deserves a mention, he plays the psychotic hitman perfectly, and provides lots of comic relief, sometimes without saying a word (witness the look on his face during the last shootout!).

All in all, get the film, it's worth it - although you should probably go for the Region 1 version, as this at least contains the theatrical trailer!


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