Starsky & Hutch appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a surprisingly erratic affair.
Sharpness became the main culprit, as definition could veer toward the soft side of the street. While much of the film showed nice delineation, more than a few iffy shots occurred.
Given the movie’s vintage and budget, I wondered if these soft spots popped up intentionally, as a nod toward the story’s 1970s setting. However, I found no rhyme or reason to explain the softness as a photographic decision.
Jagged edges and moiré effects caused no issues, and edge haloes remained absent. No examples of source defects popped up during the movie, as it always remained clean.
To match the 1970s setting, Hutch used a lot of earth tones, so we mostly saw forms of brown and orange. The colors appeared fairly well replicated and firm.
Black levels came across as deep and solid, while shadow detail looked appropriately dense but not too thick. Outside of the softness, this was an appealing presentation, but the inconsistent definition dropped my grade to “B-“ territory.
While not overwhelmingly active, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundfield provided a nice setting for the material. The front spectrum featured most of the information and created a great sense of place.
The elements moved cleanly across the speakers and meshed well to form a vivid and lively foundation. The surrounds mostly supported that, but they also kicked in a fair amount of independent information when necessary, and they added a good boost to the package.
Across the board, audio quality worked well. Speech always remained natural and distinctive, with no signs of edginess or problems with intelligibility.
Music was bright and vibrant, especially in the reproduction of period songs; those sounded quite dynamic and clear. Effects seemed vivid and accurate, with strong range and no distortion on display. The soundfield wasn’t quite ambitious enough to enter “A” territory, but I still felt satisfied with the audio of Hutch.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD version? Audio showed a bit more range and impact, while visuals looked tighter and smoother.
If you look at my DVD review, you’ll see higher praise for the picture quality, but that screening took place on a 36-inch tube TV and was based on 2004 standards for DVDs. Given 2019 expectations, the Blu-ray became an obvious upgrade, even with its inconsistencies.
A smattering of extras round out the disc, and we begin with an audio commentary from director Todd Phillips, who offers a running, screen-specific chat. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly interesting.
Phillips gets into subjects like visual design, sets and locations, improvisation, and the tone of the movie. However, much of the time he largely just tells us the names of actors and semi-narrates the story. We don’t learn a lot about the flick in this mediocre commentary.
Next we find a featurette called Fashion Fa Shizzle With Huggy Bizzle. In this two-minute, 42-second piece, Snoop Dogg leads us through a tour of the outfits designed for his character. It’s superficial but cute.
A twist on the traditional “making of” program appears via the Last Look special. This runs nine minutes, 20 seconds and includes comments from Phillips, producers Alan Riche and Stuart Cornfeld, and actors Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Snoop Dogg, Jason Bateman, Carmen Electra, Amy Smart, Molly Sims, David Soul, Paul Michael Glaser and Juliette Lewis.
A parody of the usual happy talk featurette, in this one everyone badmouths each other in a comedic manner. This makes it amusingly different but it doesn’t act as informative.
Six Deleted Scenes run a total of six minutes, 31 seconds and provide some minor gags. A few funny bits appear, but nothing that expanded on the story, especially since many of them just reiterate the early tension between the partners. Probably the most interesting one is the final clip, as it shows an alternate concept for the ending.
In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, we get a Gag Reel. It fills five minutes and it presents the usual assortment of goofs and giggles.
Given the overabundance of bad movies adapted from TV shows, I didn’t expect much from Starsky & Hutch. However, the film offered a refreshingly charming and amusing affair that consistently entertains. The Blu-ray brings very good audio along with erratic visuals and supplements. I can’t say this turns into a great Blu-ray, but the movie’s still funny after 15 years.
To rate this film visit the prior review of STARSKY AND HUTCH