Broken Lizard's Super Troopers [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Noor Razzak (7th January 2009).
The Film

"Super Troopers" is the first major feature film release for the comedy troupe Broken Lizard whose members include Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske. Having made their first feature "Puddle Cruiser" (1996) was shot while the troupe were all at college together and screened at The Sundance Film Festival, and they used that momentum to create "Super Troopers", which gained attention at that same festival some years later and was subsequently picked up by Fox's independent arm Fox Searchlight for wide theatrical release. Upon release the film garnered a mixed reception and fairly low box office takings but the film's cult status would grow on home video as it slowly found its audience. So much so that the film's director Jay Chandrasekhar and Paul Soter have confirmed work on a sequel.

"Super Troopers" is a comedy about a group of dimwitted Vermont Highway Patrol officers who stumble upon an International drug ring involving some crooked Canadians and the involvement of local Police. Facing the closure of their station the group go upon themselves to solve the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice, all while chugging maple syrup, taking top shots at metal crotch cup, and playing the 'repeat game' on traffic stops...oh and offering mustache rides.

The film is is not only written by the comedy troupe but each member plays one of the five Highway Patrol Officers, with supporting roles going to the likes of Brian Cox and guest starring comedian Jim Gaffigan in a short (but funny) scene and Wonder Woman herself Lynda Carter. The film's take on law enforcement is pretty obvious, poking fun at the Police is easy when all the characters are idiots that only take the law seriously when it matters to them (like trying to save their station from closing down) otherwise they're content in acting like morons, going on high speed pursuits to teach the 'rookie' a lesson, playing pranks on each other and getting into sexual situations with a German couple, etc. The pot shots are easy and the gags aren't really clever... but they are occasionally funny. Thorny's (Jay Chandrasekhar) "Who wants a mustache ride?" line is instantly hilarious given the circumstance, the rivalry between the local Police and Highway Patrol lends itself to often unexpected gags and the troupe plays them off with a certain degree of timing and improvisational competency.

The story isn't entirely engaging as it's predictable and simply present to provide some sort of narrative otherwise the film would just be a series of sketches, while some can forgive this shortcoming being a comedy; but in the light of recent Judd Apatow films as "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" (2005), "Knocked-up" (2007) and his producing effort "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" (2008) it has only proven that comedies can have an engaging narrative and be funny at the same time.

"Super Troopers" has some funny moments and each of the characters created and performed by the troupe are memorable in their own right... but it's not exactly a comedy that deserves re-watching, once is really enough.

Video

Presented in the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1 this transfer is delivered in high-definition 1080p 24/fps and has been mastered with AVC MPEG-4 compression. The print is fairly solid, with good color saturation, contrast is spot on and detail and textures show up well. The film's depth is decent for a low budget comedy, and aside from some specks and the occasional bit of dirt the transfer is pretty good. Blacks are bold, there's little grain, no noise amid the more dimly lit scenes and skin tones appear natural.

Audio

Three audio tracks are included in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mixed at 48kHz/24-bit as well as French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. For the purposes of this review I chose to view it with its DTS-HD track. For a comedy the film only really relies on dialogue and music cues, there's some active surround moments like the car chases or the big bust at the end of the film, otherwise it's a fairly standard audio track that doesn't really impress.
Optional subtitles are included in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean.

Extras

Fox has released this film on Blu-ray with two audio commentaries, a picture-in-picture commentary, a series of outtakes and extended scenes, a couple of featurettes, the film's theatrical trailer, bonus trailers and an interactive game. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

First up is a feature-length screen specific audio commentary with director Jay Chandrasekhar and and actor Erik Stolhanske. The tracks starts pretty slowly as they comment on the Fox logo signaling the start of "Star Wars" (1977), they provide a short background and history of the comedy troupe, as well as the challenges of shooting a low budget comedy, basing some of the story elements on real events like the stoner kids getting stopped at the start of the film. The also talk about working with each other and on writing the various segments of the film. There's plenty of moments where they comment on their favorite scenes and then provide some basic information, as well scenes they were not happy with and if they could would go back and reshoot them, among other things. There's very few gaps but the the track wasn't as lively or entertaining as I thought it would be, in fact it was rather mundane and dry.

There's a second feature-length audio commentary by actors Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme and Paul Soter. I was more entertained by this track than the previous, these guys do provide some of the same information as the previous track but there's plenty here that they add as well. Much like the last track it's also screen specific and the topics of conversation come up based on what's happening in the scene, whether it's casting choices, shooting locations, story elements, character moments etc. It was interesting to listen to them talking about the development of the script and characters and the studio input on the film's story.

There's a Blu-ray exclusive extras in the form of a Picture-in-Picture commentary, to access this feature you require a profile 1.1 player or greater. The five members of Broken Lizard pop up while you watch the film and provide additional information about the film.

Next up is the "Stupor Troopers: The Drinking Game" interactive game, you can choose to play with 1 or 2 teams, the game plays while you watch the film as you answer various trivia questions covering topics from the film or the comedy troupe and then you're told to drink.

Next up are the outtakes/extended scenes which can be viewed with optional audio commentary with director Jay Chandrasekhar and and actor Erik Stolhanske. These can be viewed individually or with a 'play all' option and include the following:

- "Outtakes reel" which runs for 16 minutes 14 seconds, this is the standard reel which features various takes of the chugging syrup scene, posing with the marijuana, jacking off to the billboard, the Johnny Chimpo cartoon, Rabbit humping the bear, Farva drinking at the bar, pretending to drive the camper, Farva yelling at the toilet, Farva puking and Captain O'Hagan drunk on Grady's lawn.
- "Pot outtakes and opening car chase" runs for 3 minutes 52 seconds, these are additional improvisational moments from the two scenes.
- "End of Diner Scene and Beginning of Meow Scene" which runs for 2 minutes 15 seconds, these are extended scenes which feature additional dialogue that didn't make the cut.
- "Helping out Grady's Nephew and Rabbit in Garage" runs for 2 minutes 14 seconds, an extended sequence between O'Hagan and Grady as well as Rabbit in the station garage about to set up a prank.
- "Slap a Burger Guy and Politicians Who are Donkeys" runs for 1 minute 44 seconds, the guys get high while watching the Johnny Chimpo cartoon and the German guy comments on the politicians.
- "The Enemy is Hot" runs for 43 seconds, and is additional footage from the baseball scene.
- "Winnebago Makeout" runs for 52 seconds, and is another extended scene where Foster and Ursula make out in the Winnebago.
- "Making Out Cops" runs for 1 minute 23 seconds, and is more of Ursula and Foster making out in the cop cruiser.
- "Thorny/Bobbi Sex Scene" runs for 2 minutes 26 seconds, features Foster and Ursula see Thorny and Bobbi at a restaurant and hide, later is the extended sex scene.
- "Shooting Range/Battering Ramp/Panties Exchange" runs for 1 minute 46 seconds, these are all extended moments from these scenes and feature cut dialogue and gags.
- "Kentucky Doobie" runs for 1 minute 10 seconds, and features an extended speech by Grady in support of the Governor.
- "O'Hagan's Stop" runs for 1:10, while out drinking and driving the guys make a routine stop and the Captain decides to take it.
- "Virginity Joke" runs for 1 minute 26 seconds, Foster makes a joke over the radio.
- "Nude Under Your Uniform" runs for 52 seconds, the Captain makes a drunken observation.
- "Alternate Ending" runs for 2 minutes 58 seconds, the guys are undercover at a meat factory after the station is closed down rather than busting up the stoner party.

A standard "Making-of" featurette is next and runs for 6 minutes 8 seconds, and is an EPK clip that covers the basics of the film's story and looks at moments from the film. It's nothing worth repeat viewing as it's a promotional clip that doesn't delve any deeper than the surface and also includes an annoyingly intense narrator.

"Road Trip News Wrap" featurette runs for 1 minute 58 seconds, takes a look at Broken Lizard's national tour promoting the release of their film at the Fox lot, colleges and universities etc.

There's also the film's original theatrical trailers on this disc of which there are two, you can view these individually or with a 'play all' option, they include:

- Theatrical trailer A which runs for 1 minute 44 seconds.
- Theatrical trailer B which runs for 1 minute 59 seconds.

Rounding out the extras are a series of bonus trailers, you can view these individually or with a 'play all' option, they include:

- "Juno" which runs for 2 minutes 26 seconds.
- "Me, Myself & Irene" which runs for 2 minutes 17 seconds.
- "There's Something About Mary" which runs for 2 minutes 31 seconds.

Overall

The Film: C Video: B+ Audio: B- Extras: C+ Overall: C

 


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