In this film's transport to DVD, 20th Century Fox was able to keep the enthralling lack of plot and the eye-bleeding action scenes intact. The stone-faced Jason Statham plays a driver that transports stuff. I really mean stuff; he'll drive anything anywhere. Carrying the entire movie on about 100 lines of dialogue, Statham mostly just runs around punching, kicking, and shooting. At one point, he even puts his shirt on. This isn't to say that the movie isn't entertaining; it's just as intelligent as the banjo player from Deliverance.
You can choose between a 2.35:1 anamorphic picture on one side of the DVD and a pan-and-scan version on the other. If you chose the latter, you will be put on a special list. Having the different versions on different sides allows for a sharp, detailed transfer that's bright and colorful, to boot. Dolby Digital 5.1 is the only soundtrack choice. What it lacks in bass, it makes up for in surround use, and the strong music track also helps out.
The commentary track by Statham and producer Steven Chasman is available over both versions of the film. Strangely, there's no commentary by director Corey Yuen or writer/producer Luc Besson. On the widescreen side, you get extended fight scenes with commentary (this time, it includes Yuen). On the pan-and-scan side, there's a making-of featurette that has the usual amount of behind-the-scenes clips and cast/crew interviews. Solid car chances and fight scenes make this a worthwhile rent, if you can't get Ronin or The French Connection.—Geoffrey Morrison
DVD: Young Guns Special Edition—Artisan
The Brat Pack of the wild 1980s meets the Wild West in this fact-based tale of Billy the Kid and the Regulators he rode with. Despite only modest box-office success, Young Guns spawned a sequel and a quasi-cult following, and this DVD gives the film the grudging respect that was lacking from the original DVD release.
The extras, for example, while not many, are very well done. Most worthwhile is the 30-minute documentary "Billy the Kid: The True Story," which blends historian interviews with vintage photos and reveals that Billy Bonney was less a cold-blooded outlaw than an abandoned youth who killed once in self-defense and then was forced into the circumstances that made him notorious. The trivia subtitle track delivers similar information, and it highlights the talent involved in the film and the true-life characters and events portrayed. Then there's the commentary that reunites actors Lou Diamond Phillips, Dermot Mulroney, and Casey Siemaszko, who share anecdotes during shooting, including the fact that Siemaszko tried to get "in character" by cutting wind during takes.
While the 1.85:1 anamorphic picture adequately reveals the movie's many earth-tone colors, slight grain is present throughout. The disc performs better sonically, serving up a DTS soundtrack (as well as Dolby Digital 5.1) that never misses an opportunity to envelop you in flying lead. While this isn't higher art, Young Guns is a satisfying, beautified take on the genre, and this DVD has a lot to recommend.—Gary Frisch