Starring: Robert De Niro, Kevin Corrigan, Paul Herman, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kevin Costner, Al Pacino
Directors: Martin Scorsese, Michael Mann, Brian De Palma
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Release Date: May 21, 2013
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Running Time: 697 minutes
Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Who doesn’t love a good kick-ass gangster film? “Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Contemporary” includes a collection of gangster films from the early 1970’s through 2000’s including “Mean Streets (1973)”, “The Untouchables (1987)”, “Goodfellas (1990)”, “Heat (1995)”, “The Departed (2006)”. In the last couple of decades they are definitely some of the best. I am also a big fan of films like “Casino”, which was not included. I thought that “Heat” was good but a little overrated, but maybe that is from my dislike of Michael Mann. “Goodfellas” is one of my all-time favorites. This release is great if you do not own these films prior since there is nothing new here in terms of content besides a 32-page book featuring images and facts about each film.
These five films all comes with impressive 1080p transfers. Since “The Departed” is the most recent, it also looks and sounds the best with its PCM 5.1 audio track. “Mean Streets” comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track, which is great, while “Goodfellas” comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 track which is the worst of the bunch. They both come with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. “The Untouchables” has a kicking DTS Digital Surround 6.1 track, as well as a Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track. “Heat” comes with a nice Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track and also a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. So these films range all over the place. All deliver for each film though, nothing terrible.
“The Untouchables” Official Premise: The critics and public agree. Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables is a must-see masterpiece – glorious, fierce, larger-than-life depiction of the mob warlord who ruled Prohibition-era Chicago… and the law enforcer who vowed to bring him down. This classic confrontation between good and evil and stars Kevin Costner as federal agent Eliot Ness, Robert De Niro as gangland kingpin Al Capone and Sean Connery as Malone, the cop who teaches Ness how to beat the mob: shoot fast and shoot first.
“Mean Streets” Official Premise: The future is set for Tony and Michael, owning a neighborhood bar and making deals in the mean streets of New York city’s Little Italy. For Charlie, the future is less clearly defined. A small-time hood, he works for his uncle making collections and reclaiming bad debts. He’s probably too nice to succeed. In love with a woman his uncle disapproves of (because of her epilepsy) and a friend of her cousin, Johnny Boy, a near psychotic whose trouble-making threatens them all, he can’t reconcile opposing values. A failed attempt to escape (to Brooklyn) moves them all a step closer to a bitter, almost preordained future.
“Goodfellas” Official Premise: Henry Hill is a small time gangster, who takes part in a robbery with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito, two other gangsters who have set their sights a bit higher. His two partners kill off everyone else involved in the robbery, and slowly start to climb up through the hierarchy of the Mob. Henry, however, is badly affected by his partners success, but will he stoop low enough to bring about the downfall of Jimmy and Tommy?
“Heat” Official Premise: Neil McCauley is a thief — an expert thief. His philosophy in life – become attached to nothing in life that you can’t walk away from in 30 seconds if you spot the “Heat” around the corner. His crew of criminals is a high-tech outfit pulling off professional jobs that impress even the likes of Detective Vincent Hanna. But Hanna, a man driven through life only by his work, becomes obsessed, at the expense of his private life, with bringing McCauley down. As McCauley’s crew prepare for the score of a lifetime, and Hanna’s team tries to bring him in, the two find that they are challenged by the greatest minds on the opposite side of the law that either one has ever encountered.
“The Departed” Official Premise: Two just-graduated officers from Massachusetts State Police Academy follow opposite sides of the law: Billy Costigan is assigned to work undercover with the Irish mobster Frank Costello to get evidences to arrest him. His true identity is only known by his superiors Dignam and Oliver Queenan. The protégée of Costello, Colin Sullivan, is promoted in the Massachusetts State Police and is the informer of Costello. Each police officer gives his best effort trying to disclose the identity of the other “rat”.
The special features are not as impressive as the “Ultimate Gangsters Collection: Classics” release since these films have been released on Blu-ray prior and are missing quite a bit of there previously released extras. “Mean Streets” comes with a vintage featurette “Back on the Block”. “The Untouchables” comes with an extra called “The Script, The Cast”. “Goodfellas” comes with two commentary tracks with cast and crew and a featurette “Cop and Crook”. “Heat” comes with eleven additional scenes. Lastly “The Departed” also comes with nine additional scenes with intros by director Marty Scorsese.
The “Ultimate Gangster Collection: Classics” and “Ultimate Gangster Collection: Contemporary” are available on Blu-ray 5/21