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Kevin Smith’s second feature Mallrats follows best friends T.S Quint (Jeremy London) and Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee) through a series of ‘whacky’ escapades at the Eden Prairie Mall. The previous DVD release left a lot to be desired in terms of both presentation and supplemental material, but Universal hope to right these wrongs with their release of this all-new Enhanced Edition of the film.

Mallrats: Enhanced Edition

Feature


Mallrats takes place the day before the events seen in Smith’s first feature, Clerks. T.S Quint (Jeremy London) is planning a weekend getaway to Florida with his beautiful girlfriend, Brandi Svenning (Claire Forlani). Unfortunately certain events, for which T.S. isn’t entirely blameless, prompt a huge argument that leads to the pair breaking up (which comes as a great relief to Brandi’s father). Mr Svenning is an aspiring television producer who just happens to want his darling daughter to appear on his tacky 'Blind Date' style game show.

T.S. is understandably bummed at being dumped, and so he heads off to visit his best friend Brodie Bruce (Jason Lee), a guy whose purpose in life is to have no purpose. Brodie has also been dumped by his girlfriend Rene (Shannen Doherty), but is far less concerned by this than his friend, preferring instead to read his vast comic book collection and play Sega Hockey. In the interests of cheering T.S. up, the pair head to the local shopping mall where they discover that Brandi’s father is planning to host his game show. This spurs the not-so-dynamic duo into hatching a plan to sabotage the proceedings, enlisting the help of uber-slackers Jay and Silent Bob along the way.

Mallrats: Enhanced Edition
As events unfold we get to meet an assortment of outcasts and misfits who inhabit the mall, including the sexually deviant owner of ‘Fashionable Male’ (Ben Affleck in a small role), who just happens to be hitting on Brodie’s girl, Willam Black (Ethan Suplee), who has more than a little trouble with magic eye posters, Steve Dave, Walt the Fanboy and Marvel Comics' legend Stan Lee in a small cameo.

For me Mallrats is the weakest of Kevin Smith’s films, but that’s not to say it is as bad as the critics make out. The biggest problem with the film is that it doesn’t have quite the same ‘feel’ as the other Viewaskew movies. However, a lot of this can probably be attributed to studio involvement (there’s more info about this one the disc). The standard of the acting is also highly variable, and London is simply unable to carry the role of leading man. Fortunately Jason Lee is at his acerbic best here, and while Robert De Niro is in no danger of being toppled, Lee has the perfect voice and delivery for Smith’s razor sharp dialogue.

Mallrats: Enhanced Edition
Claire Forlani and Shannen Doherty are mostly fine as the female leads, although Forlani’s American accent leaves a lot to be desired on occasion. Both Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith have a lot more to do in Mallrats than in Clerks, and the film is all the better for this. Special mention goes to Marvel legend Stan Lee, who shows up in a small cameo and delivers a performance that is on a par with anyone else in the film (although some would argue that this is not a difficult thing).

Video


Resolution issues aside, the 1.85:1 anamorphic video is a definite improvement over the quality of the region one release. The framing is slightly different (it’s not as wide), but the palette is more vibrant, and colour rendition is far more accurate. The region one transfer also suffered from contrast problems that caused the image to look slightly grey throughout, but once again the region two is a marked improvement in this area. I’m not saying the transfer is without flaws, as the image is still a little soft and suffers from some minor print damage, but on the whole this is a nice effort and I’m glad Universal took the time to spruce things up a little.

Audio


Mallrats arrives with both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks, but there’s virtually nothing to distinguish them. The quality of the audio is on a par with the region one release, which is to say that I found dialogue nice and clear but the music a little muted at times. The sub barely gets a look in, and what little surround action there is has been limited to general ambience in the mall and a few sporadic spot effects during the livelier sequences. Overall this is no worse or better than the region one disc, in spite of the DTS track.

Mallrats: Enhanced Edition
Extras
The region two disc is fairly similar to the region one in terms of extras. Obviously the standout feature is the awesome commentary track from Kevin Smith, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck, Scott Mosier and Vincent Pereira. The commentary still ranks as one of the best I’ve ever heard, and mixes interesting facts with hilarious banter (most of which is between Smith and Affleck). Unfortunately the multi-angle video commentary found on the region one disc is missing from this release…

Other interesting segments include the Viewaskew Production’s Look Back At Mallrats, in which Smith defends the film from the harsh criticism levied at it, and the extensive Deleted Scenes that clock in at over an hour in length. The Music Video for The Goop’s ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ is also present, as is the film’s original Theatrical Trailer. Unlike the region one disc the menus are fairly uninspiring, with none of the animation or music of that release.
 
Mallrats: Enhanced Edition

Overall


It’s been a long time coming, but Universal Pictures have finally delivered a version of Kevin Smith’s Mallrats that, in the words of Jason Mewes, doesn’t suck balls. Whatever your opinion of the film there’s no denying that this is a fairly respectable disc, which only just falls short of the region one release in terms of extras. However, the improved visual quality goes a fair way towards redressing the balance, making it a tough call between the two regions. For Viewaskew fans with a region two only player this is an essential purchase, but if you have access to a multi region machine and are a die-hard fan you may still want to consider the region one disc for the additional extras and superior presentation.


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