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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - July, 2012

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"Born on the Fourth of July" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movies-July-2012-Born4

Synopsis

 

Tom Cruise delivers a riveting and unforgettable portrait of a Vietnam veteran. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for. Based on the true story of Ron Kovic, Stone's film shows us the darker side of an unpopular time in our military history.

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 2012, Color, Rated R, 145 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC MPEG 4
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD MasterAudio
  • Starring: Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava, Josh Evans, Jamie Talisman
  • Directed by: Oliver Stone
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

While I don't agree with Stone's politics and find that his movies usually have an axe to grind, both he and Kovic have arrived at their perspective with honesty. After all, both men fought in the war. This film serves as a fine record of a time in our country's history when we fought a very unpopular war. Cruise's portrayal is excellently done and the movie leaves the viewer angry and a bit unsettled to know how our country did a great disservice to those that gave so much in the line of duty. This was a tough movie to watch (even more so on Independence Day), but well worth the performances and the inside story that few of us have heard or seen. War certainly does a lot more than just physical damage to our soldiers. Think about that the next time you see a veteran.

Technical

Though the film is over 20 years old, it looked very good on this BD presentation. The opening scenes are a bit grainy and hazy, but this might well have been done to make the early years of Kovic's life seem like the "distant past". The movie itself was fairly sharp and detailed with only a few scenes exhibiting crushing in the darker shadows. In a few instances I saw some aliasing and banding, but it was not distracting. Dialog is clear and the music was at times powerful and then sentimental. Battle scenes sounded realistic, with weighty "booms" from mortar fire.

Extras

Not much in the "extra department": An audio commentary, featurettes , DVD Copy/ Digital Copy, news ticker and My Scenes. Still, the movie stands on its own merits in spite of the lackluster extras.