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Tropic Thunder (Blu-ray Review)

7 Dec, 2008 By: John Gaudiosi

Tropic Thunder

Box Office $110.5 million
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 two-DVD set, $39.99 Blu-ray
Available in ‘R’ and Unrated editions.
Stars Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Danny McBride, Nick Nolte, Steve Coogan, Jay Baruchel, Tom Cruise.

As hilarious as the ‘R’-rated theatrical version of Tropic Thunder was, the unrated Blu-ray Disc offers even more over-the-top violence, gore and laughs. From the film’s opening fictional trailers, the laughs never stop.

This inside look at filming a tentpole Vietnam movie on location with a collection of colorful actors has been crafted by someone who knows Hollywood well — Ben Stiller. It’s refreshing to see Stiller behind the camera again and back in control of the comedy after last year’s dismal The Heartbreak Kid.

The great thing about Tropic Thunder is that it’s funny for all audiences (over 17, that is) and it offers an added layer of comedy for those who are familiar with the Hollywood machine.

Most people have heard about Tom Cruise’s bald, dancing studio exec, and this performance alone is worth repeat viewing. But Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of a white actor in black face truly steals the show.

This Blu-ray Disc brings the jungles to life with lush foliage and azure skies with its 1080p HD picture and 2.35:1-framed transfer. All the explosions, gunfights and blood come to life in dynamic colors on BD. Every one-liner and curse word comes across crystal clear with this BD’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack.

The Blu-ray offers a great collection of HD bonus material, some of which offers as many laughs as the film itself. I recommend every fan listen to the commentary with Stiller, Black and Downey (who stays in character the entire time). This is one of the funniest commentaries ever.

Another hilarious offering is the 30-minute mockumentary Rain of Madness, a parody of the Heart of Darkness documentary about Apocalypse Now. This making-of backstory is filled with more of Tropic Thunder’s inside-Hollywood, mainstream humor.

Rounding out the extras are more featurettes, Tom Cruise’s makeup test, some BD Live features, and some deleted scenes fans will want to check out.

It all adds up to the greatest made-up “true” story movie about the Vietnam War ever made. It’s a must-have for any BD library.

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