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Paul McGuigan
Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu
Writing Credits:
Jason Smilovic .

A case of mistaken identity lands Slevin into the middle of a war being plotted by two of the city's most rival crime bosses.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$7,031,921 on 1984 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $14.98
Release Date: 11/18/2008

• Audio Commentary with Director Paul McGuigan
• Audio Commentary with Actors Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu and Writer Jason Smilovic
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• “Making Lucky Number Slevin” Featurette
• “An Intimate Conversation” Featurette
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Lucky Number Slevin [Blu-Ray] (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 3, 2022)

Already saddled with one of the most awkward titles I’ve ever heard, 2006’s Lucky Number Slevin also comes with a dense plot. A prologue begins the movie, as an apparently wheelchair-bound man named Smith (Bruce Willis) tells a stranger (Sam Jaeger) a story in an airport.

Back in 1979, a guy called Max (Scott Gibson) bet big on a horse race that seemed to be a sure thing. He lost and the mob killed him, his wife and his son as retribution.

Oddly, when he finishes with the story, Smith snaps the stranger’s neck and we move to meet Slevin Kelevra (Josh Hartnett). After a series of unfortunate events, he stays at his buddy Nick’s apartment and encounters neighbor Lindsey (Lucy Liu). She believes Nick has gone missing and decides to investigate, all while romantic sparks ignite between her and Slevin.

He has other concerns, unfortunately, when thugs come to find Nick. They ignore Slevin’s protests and take him away in the belief that he’s Nick.

Slevin ends up in front of crime mastermind “The Boss” (Morgan Freeman), a man to whom Nick apparently owes $96,000. The Boss will cancel the debt if Slevin murders Yitzchok (Michael Rubenfeld), the son of rival “The Rabbi” (Ben Kingsley). This is an “eye for an eye” deal, as The Boss believes The Rabbi had his own son offed.

Slevin then finds out that Nick also owes $33,000 to The Rabbi and has 48 hours to produce it. In addition to these concerns, we see that Detective Brikowski (Stanley Tucci) and other cops are on Slevin’s tail.

In addition, Smith haunts the background as a hired assassin. The film follows all these plots as they intersect and intertwine.

Could films like Slevin exist without the success of 1994’s Pulp Fiction? Probably not – this kind of dark action/comedy/noir owes a massive debt to that classic.

Unfortunately, Slevin aspires to a Tarantino sensibility but comes across as Quentin Lite. It has the look, the feel and the swagger of a Tarantino product, as it just lacks the depth and true pizzazz.

Slevin isn’t too clever by half – it’s too clever by 112. The film borders on turning precious the way it dances around and stays arch.

It embraces its own quirkiness to an extreme, and this feels forced. The flick tries to walk the line between intense violent drama and comedy but never comes across as natural. Instead, it turns into a mess.

All of the plot machinations do more harm than good. These jerk us this way and that but don’t actually add up to much of anything.

It doesn’t help that the movie’s big climactic twist can be seen from a mile away. Look, I’m not one of these jokers who always claims to detect a surprise ending from the very start.

I admit that I didn’t foresee the conclusion to The Sixth Sense and similar efforts. I’m usually going with the flow too much to work out where the tale will lead.

In this case, however, there wasn’t much question about what would occur. I won’t reveal the twist, but let’s just say that the opening story about Max comes back to haunt the film.

That’s the problem with that tale: it makes no sense as a stand-alone item, so we can easily figure out that it’ll mean something else. Because of that, the climax loses any chance that it’ll surprise us.

Perhaps I could forgive the predictable ending if the other plot developments felt like they led somewhere. They don’t, and they come across as attempts to distract us from the movie’s inherent lack of substance.

The third act feels especially problematic since it does little more than try to explain what came before it. If you need to devote that much time to retroactive exposition, it’s probably not worth the effort.

What makes all of this sad is that Slevin boasts such an excellent cast. It pulls out a long roster of notables, most of whom it wastes.

Hartnett seems awfully miscast as the lead, I must say. He’s too earnest and all-American to pull off the smarmy smartass tone presented by the character.

The scene in which Freeman and Kingsley square off almost makes the movie worth my while. We get two pros, tied next to each other, working with nothing more than facial expressions and voices. The pair sum up their characters’ decades-old animosities in what becomes easily the film’s most gripping sequence.

Too bad that segment is too little to fully redeem the rest of Lucky Number Slevin. A film that worries too much about plot twists and too little about plot, it tries to dazzle us with fancy footwork.

Instead, it just spins itself dizzy and leaves us without much to make it effective. I do think the movie keeps us entertained, but it just doesn’t leave a more positive impression.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Lucky Number Slevin appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not poor, this became a lackluster presentation.

Most of the issues stemmed from sharpness, which came across as erratic. While some aspects of the movie showed pretty positive delineation, more than a few elements became oddly fuzzy. Some noise reduction appeared to become a factor here.

I noticed no signs of shimmering or jagged edges remained absent. No source defects presented themselves.

Slevin went with a stylized palette, one that favored ambers and greens. The colors felt appropriate, if not especially vivid.

Blacks were rich and tight, while shadows seemed clear and appropriately visible. Without the softness, this would’ve been a good image, but the movie felt awfully ill-defined too much of the time.

I also thought that the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Lucky Number Slevin proved effective, though much of the time the soundfield remained fairly subdued. It usually went with general environmental information and also added good stereo imaging for the music.

Occasionally it kicked into higher gear, though, and those scenes added punch. For instance, the storm segment early in the film used all five speakers well, and a few other louder pieces were successful. This wasn’t an incredibly active mix, but it spread out when necessary.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and I noticed no edginess or other problems.

Music was tight and lively, and the score also showed good range. Effects presented accurate elements that were clear and concise. Bass response appeared deep and powerful at times. This was an appropriate mix for this story.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? The lossless audio offered a bit more warmth and dimensionality.

Even with the softness, visuals offered a step, as the Blu-ray felt more stable than the DVD. This didn’t turn into a major upgrade, but despite its weaknesses, it still topped the DVD.

A mix of extras rounds out the package, and we get two separate audio commentaries. The feature offers a solo track with director Paul McGuignan as he presents a running, screen-specific chat.

He starts with notes about how he came onto the film and what he wanted to do with the opening credits. From there we hear about cast and performances, sets and locations, cinematography and visual goals, set and costume design, editing, deleted/alternate sequences and other production topics.

Though McGuigan starts off full force, he tends to drag a little as the track progresses. However, this is a minor complaint that arises more out of slight disappointment; he opens so well that it leads us to hope the commentary will be consistently excellent. It’s not, but it remains quite engaging and informative; it’s definitely an above average discussion.

For the second piece, we hear from actors Josh Hartnett and Lucy Liu and writer Jason Smilovic. Hartnett and Liu sit together for a running, screen-specific chat, while Smilovic does his own track and gets his comments edited into the actors’ piece.

The commentary looks at the goals for the script and the specificity of its language, shooting specifics, costumes and many character issues, dialogue details, story and plot aims, inspirations and influences for the movie’s events, performance reflections and a mix of general topics.

I always fear the worst from actor commentaries, as they usually tell us little. This one proves pretty good, largely due to the nice chemistry between Hartnett and Liu.

Hartnett does most of the work and provides the lion’s share of the information, but she makes things lively and adds zest to the chat. Smilovic includes many fine notes about his work, and the two commentaries mesh smoothly. This is an interesting and useful track.

Four Deleted Scenes last a total of 20 minutes, 32 seconds. These include “Elvis and Sloe” (7:13), “The Bodyguards’ Story” (4:27), “The Rabbi and the Boss – Extended Scene” (8:00) and “Alternate Ending” (0:51).

Most deleted scenes suck. Surprisingly, these do not.

All are quite interesting, though I understand why the filmmakers cut most of them. “Sloe” and “Story” are fun but would’ve really dragged in the final product.

The “Alternate Ending” is significantly darker than the actual conclusion. Only the extended “Boss” should’ve stayed because we need as much Freeman/Kingsley as possible.

Except for “Boss”, we can watch these with or without commentary from McGuignan. He covers production details and lets us know why the scenes were trimmed or cut. McGuignan gives us the appropriate info in this worthwhile chat.

In addition to the film’s trailer, a featurette called Making Lucky Number Slevin runs 13 minutes, 19 seconds and presents movie snippets, behind the scenes materials and interviews.

We hear from Hartnett, Smilovic, McGuigan, Liu, producer Tyler Mitchell, and actors Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, and Ben Kingsley. We get notes about the script’s path to the screen, the cast, the characters and the story.

For the most part, “Making” falls into the same bland category as most promotional featurettes. A few good notes emerge, but it’s pretty general.

However, some of the shots from the set redeem the piece, especially when Willis jokes with Freeman. (I especially like “You were good in Se7en - crabby, but good!”)

Finally, An Intimate Conversation goes for 14 minutes, 27 secons and offers a chat between Liu and Hartnett. They talk about how they came to the film as well as aspects of their experiences. They retain the chemistry from the commentary and make this a pretty engaging piece.

With a truly excellent cast and a potentially intriguing premise, Lucky Number Slevin could have been a winner. Unfortunately, it concerns itself with twists and turns and rarely bothers to become anything more than a Tarantino imitation. The Blu-ray presents spotty picture, good audio and some useful extras. Despite its flaws, Slevin moderately entertains – but don’t expect a lot from it.

To rate this film, visit the original review of LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN

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