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Keith Truesdell
Chris Rock
Writing Credits:
Chris Rock

Not Rated.

Standard 1.33:1
English Dolby Digital 2.0

Runtime: 80 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 10/1/2002

• Exclusive Chris Rock Interview by Award Winning Nelson George
• "No Sex" Music Video
• "Bad Phone Sex" Animated Video
• "Champagne" Music Video


Search Products:

TV - Mitsubishi CS-32310 32"; Subwoofer - JBL PB12; DVD Player - Toshiba SD-4700; Receiver - Sony STR-DE845; Center - Polk Audio CS175i; Front Channels - Polk Audio; Rear Channels - Polk Audio.


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Chris Rock: Bring the Pain (1996)

Reviewed by David Williams

I have been a Chris Rock fan from the first time I saw him onstage, as well as during his short-lived stint on SNL. However, in the early to mid-nineties, Rock began believing his own hype and to his own detriment, almost ruined a promising career in the process. However, in 1996, something happened – something big happened – Rock re-emerged in an HBO comedy special filmed in Washington, DC and announced his return to the limelight in a big way. I remember seeing the special when it first aired on HBO back in ’96 and then multiple times since on HBO Comedy and in edited form on Comedy Central. I’ve probably watched this particular stand-up a dozen times since 1996 and I still find myself laughing … and laughing a lot … and therefore, it was a pleasant surprise to see this act released back in October from the DVD arm of Dreamworks Records.

As a warning (Listen up parents!), if you’re not familiar with Rock’s brand of humor, you might want to look into him a bit more in-depth before you go all out watching his feature-length performance of Bring The Pain. Hold off on buying it for your kids for Christmas because they thought Osmosis Jones or Down To Earth was funny. There’s no such thing as an “edited” version of a Chris Rock show, as his language is quite salty and his subject material, for the most part, is rather salty as well. However, for those of you ready, willing, and able to digest a little “mature” subject matter – prepare to laugh. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

For viewers familiar with Rock’s stand-up, with verbal and cultural assaults on pretty much everything and everyone, the DVD release of this incredible performance is a long time coming. In Bring The Pain, Rock is provocatively and insightfully funny, as he takes his turn at playing the raconteur of black pain and reality with an updated 1990’s twist. With tons of energy, profanity, and humanity, Rock delivers a top-notch performance. He literally stalks the stage with a hectic, but well-honed style that commands the stage, as well as your attention. Watching Rock work the audience is part of the fun, as he is constantly on the move, his body language almost important as his mouth.

Chris Rock, like most of his contemporaries, is an equal-opportunity offender. No one and nothing escapes his verbal abuse and he vigorously lashes out on a multitude of subjects. Rock’s bits pretty much stick to social commentary and he unleashes on topics such as Marion Barry, Colin Powell, having your “salad tossed” in prison, drugs, going back to school, understanding OJ’s dilemma, relationships, and the differences between “niggas and black people” (Rock’s words, not mine). Are you offended yet or simply interested?

Chris Rock and Bring The Pain, while not quite as groundbreaking as Eddie Murphy’s Delirious or anything Richard Pryor did on his worst day, is still a funny and entertaining ride worth checking out – especially for the low-entry price that Dreamworks Records is asking. With his foul-mouthed act and racially charged humor, Rock exudes confidence and energy as he smiles infectiously delivering line after line of profanity-laced jokes. His energy translates well to film, and watching Bring The Pain again just reinforces why Rock was able to re-emerge as the comedic force he is today.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+ / Audio C+ / Bonus D+

The video transfer for Bring The Pain was very pleasant from beginning to end. Being a somewhat recent affair, HBO and Dreamworks made sure that the transfer was at least as good as what you would see from any sort of digital cable/satellite service. The transfer looks great and in my opinion, Bring The Pain has never looked better.

The picture was surprisingly sharp and defined, with a wonderfully brilliant image. While the palette could be considered rather generic since it contains nothing more than Rock in a black suit standing in front of a glittery curtain, the image still remains very sharp and intact with minimal disturbance. There was some slight shimmer and grain noted during the show, although they were very negligible in nature and caused no major concerns. Black levels were very solid throughout and allowed for excellent shadow detail and delineation. Fleshtones are accurate and consistent throughout the film, as everything seemed perfectly balanced and pleasing to the eye.

The picture, while it does contain a few small flaws and a slightly overt shimmer, still manages to look incredible. Dreamworks has done an excellent job on the transfer for Bring The Pain and fans of Chris Rock and his stand-up have every reason to be excited.

Dreamworks Records has done an admirable job of reproducing the act’s audio and unfortunately, there’s really not a whole lot to say about it. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track that’s provided sounds quite nice and while Dreamworks does absolutely nothing to screw things up, they don’t do anything to set it apart from other transfers in the “stand-up” genre either. (And who can blame them?)

Rock is easily understood throughout his entire act, as he remains firmly anchored in the center channel. Panning and ambience are non-existent, as the only surround usage is the audience and crowd noise filling the left and right front channels. While it’s not an overly impressive transfer, it’s totally adequate for the material at hand and fans of Bring The Pain will have absolutely nothing to complain about.

Surprisingly enough, Dreamworks Records provides us with a few supplements on the disc to keep us busy after we’re done with the concert itself.

Starting things off is an Interview By George Nelson (27:35). In the intimate one-on-one setting, Nelson is able to get Rock to open up on a multitude of subjects such as his comeback, the evolution of his career, how he creates and works out new bits, influences on his career, where material came from for Bring The Pain, and so on. Rock waxes poetic on a ton of different subjects and is very open and honest throughout the interview. Ultimately, this was a very engaging and interesting interview about Rock and was easily the best of the supplements provided on the DVD.

Next up is an Animated Short: Bad Phone Sex (1:59) - a skit taken from the highly successful and hugely popular “Chris Rock Show” on HBO. The skit is pretty funny and was a welcome addition to the DVD. I don’t think I need to tell you what it’s about.

Closing out the disc are two Music Videos - one for “No Sex” (4:29) and one for “Champagne” (4:21) – both from Rock’s Bigger and Blacker CD. The videos ran on MTV for some time and “No Sex” is edited and bleeped, while “Champagne” is not.

Usually when a DVD is the stand-up comedy genre is released, any extra should be appreciated, as the DVDs are usually as bare bones as they come. Luckily, for Bring The Pain, we’re given a few (albeit paltry) extras from Dreamworks and while none of them will more than likely ever be visited more than once, they were breezy and fun enough to check out the first time through.

There’s nothing real special about the way the film was shot or filmed. We pretty much get the standard-fare “stand-up cinematography” that you’ve seen a million times over on HBO and Comedy Central specials. However, the film does a good job of capturing Rock’s enthusiastic performance, as well as the passionate feedback from the audience.

As far as the DVD is concerned, we pretty much get the typical package for stand-up concert films. We get some good audio, superb video, and some rather useless supplements for good measure. As I said before, the asking price for the DVD is dead-on and Chris Rock fans will happily shell it out in order to own this hilarious concert to view over and over again on DVD.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 21
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