Sacha Baron Cohen is an comedian that loves to push boundaries, but in the process manages to offend pretty much every (minority or majority) group on this planet. Over the course of his TV and film career (which includes Ali G Indahouse, Borat and Brüno) he has offended parliaments, gays, the nation of Kazakhstan, vegetarians, victims of rape, victims of terrorism, Jews, African Americans, Muslims, the American National Anthem, women, politician Ron Paul, Palestinians, hunters, and swingers. That's only naming a few with easily that many again with other groups I've neglected to mention. If you're easily offended, his brand of comedy probably isn't for you.
Now the British comedian has turned to the theme of dictators and terrorism with his latest film, The Dictator. Has it been long enough since September 11? Apparently so...
Directed by Larry Charles (who previously directed Borat and Brüno) this film has actually been scripted so there's no setup moments like those previous two films. To us, this meant the film lost some of the wit and edge, but also meant a little more coherent storyline, better production values and bigger and better sets. There really are some fantastic moments in this film - from a scene in a helicopter over New York which is mistaken for a planned terrorism attack, the numerous orders to "assassinate" various citizens of Wadiya, the "trophy wall" after he beds Megan Fox, the way in which many popular Western songs are converted to Wadiyan, Aladeen learning about masturbation, and his treatment of Zoey (Anna Faris) to manage to the store.
The Dictator probably doesn't have the constant laughs of some of the Sacha Baron Cohen's other films, but it still has plenty of moments that will have you in stitches. Fans of his other works would do well to check this latest film out.
Encoded at the film’s original 2.40:1 aspect ratio and using the AVC MPEG-4 codec at Blu-Ray's usual 1080p resolution, this is a film which struggles to retain a consistent look from start to finish - but that's a fault of the filming, not the actual transfer to Blu-Ray. Having said that this transfer does exhibit, for the most part, plenty of fine detail in the scenes as well as vibrant colours but at times appear a little too warm with many scenes taking on an orange hue. Then again, I guess most of this film is set in a hot, desert-like country.
Beyond the English track the disc includes French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks encoded at 640kbps. Naturally these tracks aren't as impressive as the English lossless track, but they seem to get the job done from our samplings. An English Audio Descriptive track also encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1 is included. Subtitles are provided in English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. We sampled the English subtitles which were accurate to the dialogue.
Unfortunately the extras on this disc are really quite light-on which is disappointing as we would loved to have seen some of Sacha's creative process in writing and starring in the film.
Deleted and Extended Scenes (33:43/HD): There are 15 deleted and extended scenes presented here, some are superb, some are quite disappointing. Some of these appeared in the extended cut of the film, and while their quality is variable (in terms of content, the video and audio quality is superb), they are definitely worth checking out.
Music Video - Best Love Song "Your Money is on the Dresser" (1:35/HD): A funny clip where Aladeen wins the best video award for his song which is then shown, and starring Baron Cohen's real-world wife, and Aussie, Isla Fisher.
Review By: Dave Warner