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Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Tina Fey, Billy Bob Thornton, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina
Writing Credits:
Robert Carlock

A journalist recounts her wartime coverage in Afghanistan.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$7,443,007 on 2,374 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-X
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Description
English DTS Headphone-X
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/28/2016

• “All In” Featurette
• “War Reporter” Featurette
• “Embedded in Reality” Featurette
• “Wedding Party” Featurette
• “Laughing Matters” Featurette
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 20, 2016)

After the wacky broad humor of 2015’s Sisters, Tina Fey attempts a more barbed, edgy comedy with 2016’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. In 2003, TV news producer Kim Baker (Fey) takes a risk and decides to go on an assignment in Afghanistan.

At first, Kim finds herself adrift in this war-torn environment, but she eventually gets her bearings. Though she plans to remain for just three months, Kim extends her stint. We follow her adventures as she deals with life and work in Afghanistan.

Based on memoirs by Kim Barker – whose name gets slightly modified for unclear reasons - Whiskey feels like a film adapted from a work of that sort. It lacks any real narrative and instead packages a mix of vignettes.

Not that Whiskey avoids themes, though those can become a burden. While there’s no true “plot” on display, the film does attempt to depict Kim’s growth and development. Essentially she goes to Afghanistan to “find herself” and move on with her life.

Which is fine, but as depicted here, the theme fails to coalesce. Whiskey packages its little episodes in such as a way that the overall arc feels gratuitous and ineffective.

This turns into a particular problem due to the awkward way in which the movie shifts focus. One minute we’re behind the scenes with the troops, and the next we’re in a rom-com where Kim thinks of life with combat photographer Iain (Martin Freeman), her prospective boyfriend.

Again, I get that life doesn’t follow neat and tidy narrative progressions, and a movie doesn’t need to adhere to those constructs either. However, if a film chooses to go loose ‘n’ limber, it should demonstrate purpose within those episodes, and that fails to occur in Whiskey.

Honestly, the journey never becomes compelling or intriguing, and Kim herself seems like something of a void. Whatever personality she displays comes from Fey – and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

I like Fey and enjoy her work, but she doesn’t display much range as an actor. It seems like most of her roles simply offer variations on “the Tina Fey Personality”: smart and sarcastic with an awkward edge. Kim doesn’t come with Liz Lemon’s level of imperfections, but she still seems familiar to Fey fans.

The film comes with a good cast, though they really don’t get much to do. In addition to Freeman, we find strong talents like Margot Robbie, Billy Bob Thornton and Alfred Molina. They can’t evoke a lot from their characters, largely because the parts remain so thin. They come and go with little impact.

Because I respect and enjoy so many of the film’s participants, Whiskey turns into a real disappointment. It should give us a biting war-related comedy but instead, it meanders and muddles its way on a path to nowhere.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus C

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This became a solid transfer.

Overall definition appeared good. A few slightly soft shots appeared during low-light elements, but the majority of the movie appeared accurate and well-defined. No jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes or print flaws.

Given the setting, a sandy palette dominated, though we got plenty of teal and orange as well. The Blu-ray replicated these tones appropriately. Blacks were deep and dark, and shadows usually looked fine, though as noted, some low-light moments could be a bit dense. As a package, the image worked nicely.

As for the movie’s DTS-X soundtrack – which downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1 on my system - it opened up more than expected for a comedy, largely because it incorporated so many action elements. Not surprisingly, the mix came to life best during these combat sequences. Bullets, explosions and vehicles zipped around us and made sure that we felt like we were part of the action.

Even during more passive sequences, the film offered a good soundscape. Music showed nice stereo presence, while environmental elements popped up in logical, natural locations. Although the mix only soared on occasion, it still formed a solid sense of atmosphere.

From start to finish, the flick boasted excellent audio quality. Speech was crisp and concise, with good intelligibility and no edginess. Music sounded bright and dynamic, and effects were very strong. They demonstrated fine clarity and accuracy, and the mix also featured positive bass response. This was a consistently fine track.

In terms of extras, the Blu-ray includes five featurettes. All In: The Making of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot lasts 14 minutes, 12 seconds and includes comments from directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, executive producers Eric Gurian and Charles Gogolak, producer Ian Bryce, screenwriter Robert Carlock, assistant property manager Jeffri Welsh, production designer Beth Mickle, Air Force Project Officer Lt. Col. Glen Roberts, costume designer Lisa Lovaas, Afghan consultant Mohammad Anwar Yousofy, and actors Tina Fey, Billy Bob Thornton, Alfred Molina, Martin Freeman, Margot Robbie, and Nicholas Braun.

“Making” examines story/characters, cast and performances, the directors’ approach, sets, locations, and costumes. While basic, “Making” covers various production areas in a reasonably satisfactory manner.

During the five-minute, 15-second War Reporter: The Real Kim, we hear from Fey, Carlock, Bryce, Ficarra, Requa, Gurian, author Kim Barker and actors Christopher Abbott and Stephen Peacocke. “Kim” looks at Barker’s experiences and their translation into film form. The show offers a few decent thoughts about Barker’s background, even if it doesn’t tell us why they changed her name to “Baker” in the film.

Next comes Embedded in Reality. It runs six minutes, 23 seconds and features Fey, Barker, Ficarra, Braun, Freeman, Requa, Bryce, DOD rep Philip Strub, DOD Project Officer Master Sgt. Chris Stagner, Project Officer Master Sgt. Chad Steel, USAF pararescue consultant Staff Sgt. August O’Niell, 512 Rescue Squadron’s Captain Douglas Price, and actor Evan Jonigkeit. “Embedded” views military consultants and attempts to stay realistic. It becomes another short but interesting discussion.

Wedding Party goes for five minutes, 31 seconds and includes Ficarra, Requa, Fey, Abbott, Robbie, Braun, Carlock, set decoratoor Lisa Sessions Morgan, and actor Sheila Vand. As implied by the title, “Party” looks at aspects of the movie’s wedding scene. It’s not as compelling as the other programs, but it comes with some insights.

Finally, Laughing Matters occupies four minutes, 24 seconds with info from Fey, Carlock, Requa, Freeman, Jonigkeit, Abbott, Braun, Robbie, and Ficarra. “Matters” discusses the nature of foreigners in Afghanistan. It works well enough, though like “Party”, it’s not great.

Four Deleted Scenes (5:14) and one Extended Scene (4:59) show up as well. These tend toward minor character embellishments – except for “Kabul Zoo”, which shows the bizarre murder of a lion. None of them add much.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of the film. It lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras.

A good cast bolsters Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, but they can’t overcome its flaws. The movie seems too loosely constructed and purposeless to cause us to invest in its journey. The Blu-ray presents very good picture and audio along with a smattering of supplements. Aspects of the film succeed, but it sputters as an overall package.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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