Reservoir Dogs appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image seemed acceptable but could’ve been better.
For the most part, sharpness worked well, as much of the movie showed nice clarity and accuracy. However, edge haloes created some distractions and made the flick less precise than I’d like at times. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and source flaws were minor. I witnessed a smattering of small specks but nothing significant. I suspect some digital noise reduction affected a few scenes – primarily the opener at the diner – but most of the flick demonstrated appropriate grain.
Colors seemed positive. Dogs went with a stark palette much of the time, so it didn’t feature a lot of tones. Nonetheless, the elements we got looked solid. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows delivered smooth material. The edge haloes were the main reason this ended up as a “C+“ transfer.
The film’s DTS-HD HR 6.1 soundfield generally provided a forward emphasis and those elements were accentuated with a lot of general ambience. The audio seemed alive with a fair amount of environmental factors, such as the clatter of other diners during the opening restaurant sequence.
Music displayed some solid stereo imaging, and the tracks popped to life reasonably well during action sequences. Elements moved across the front channels smoothly and efficiently. Those also added better usage of the surrounds, which then complemented the material fairly well.
Audio quality seemed good. Speech was clear and concise, with no edginess or other issues. Effects appeared clean and accurate, and they packed a good punch when appropriate.
Music showed nice clarity and range. The songs sounded good, as they demonstrated clean highs and punchy bass response. This wasn’t a particularly ambitious track, but it worked well given the movie’s scope.
How did the Blu-ray compare with those of the 2006 15th Anniversary set? Audio showed a little more pep and range, while visuals appeared tighter and more distinctive. Though this wasn’t a great presentation, it improved on the DVD.
The Blu-ray includes some of the DVD’s extras but loses a lot of them. Called Pulp Factoid Viewer, this text commentary uses the old “Pop-Up Video” style to throw text and graphics onscreen at times. We get notes about Tarantino and his work, the film’s development and production, the cast and crew, music, influences and inspirations, the movie’s reception, connections to other Tarantino efforts, and general notes from the shoot.
The breadth of material covered in the “Viewer” makes it sound more effective than it is. In truth, it throws out only a smattering of interesting nuggets. When notes appear, they’re usually decent, but vast amounts of movie pass without information. This makes the track only occasionally involving, since we really don’t get many details across the flick’s 100 minutes.
A 2006 featurette called Playing It Fast and Loose lasts 15 minutes, 44 seconds as it features comments from Internet film critic Harry Knowles, Rebels on the Backlot author Sharon Waxman, AFI Conservatory senior lecturer Peter Markham and Loyala Marymount University’s Mark Evan Schwartz.
They discuss Tarantino’s skills and the impact Dogs had on films. We get notes about the Dogs notion of “cool” as well as Tarantino’s writing style, his use of violence, and the movie’s legacy. “Loose” offers a decent little piece but not an especially memorable one. In addition, Knowles’ constant reference to the movie as “ResDogs” gets really annoying.
For a look at the various movie characters, we head to Profiling the Reservoir Dogs. This seven-minute, five-second featurette examines Mr. Brown, Mr. Pink, Mr. White and Mr. Blond. We get psychological interpretation of the different personalities; we can also read the information via a purely text version. This is an odd but somewhat interesting take on the characters.
Five deleted scenes run a total of 12 minutes, 42 seconds. Actually, the disc includes only three true excised segments, as the fourth and fifth present alternate takes of the ear-cutting bit.
We find “Background Check” (4:41), “No Protection” (3:00), “Doing My Job” (2:34), “Cutting Off the Ear – Alternate Take A” (1:02) and “Cutting Off the Ear – Alternate Take B” (1:25). The ear-cutting bits are interesting to see but don’t add much.
The second of those presents a graphic view of the scene and comes with a warning before you view it. While the scene presents the potential to seem disgusting, in reality it comes across as goofy just because the prosthetic ear looks so fake; I’ve never seen some one slice off another guy’s ear, but I’d guess it’d look a lot scarier than this.
The other three scenes seem compelling. The first two concentrate on Mr. Orange’s background as a cop and his preparation for the undercover case, while the third shows Pink, White and Nice Guy Eddie as they drive to take Orange to a nurse. No remnants of that remain in the film.
Interestingly, this scene foreshadows Pulp Fiction. It mentions “the Bonnie situation”, which was the third vignette in that film. Indeed, the Bonnie in question clearly is the same one featured in the Pulp scenario.
Under “Also from Lions Gate”, we get some Previews. We locate ads for Crank, The Descent, and Saw III. No trailer for Dogs appears here.
And that’s not the only loss from the 2006 DVD. The Blu-ray drops a commentary as well as tons of other materials. Please consult the earlier review for a full list – the DVD provides too many now-gone extras for me to spell out all of them.
While Reservoir Dogs shows glimmers of Quentin Tarantino’s talent, it suffers from a little too much ambition and a stretched-out storyline. The movie usually remains entertaining and lively, but it seems padded at times. The Blu-ray provides mostly good picture and audio along with a handful of supplements. Although the Blu-ray brings us the highest quality version of the film to date, it doesn’t fully replace earlier DVDs because it fails to reproduce so many bonus materials.
To rate this film visit the 10th Anniversary Edition review of RESERVOIR DOGS