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October 5, 2008
Drillbit Taylor Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
20/3/20084/9/2008ParamountSteven Brill
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1Dolby TrueHD 5.1PGOwen Wilson

THE MOVIE
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Dewey Cox singing Starman... classic.

Owen Wilson is an actor who should need no introduction. After getting his first big break starring in Shanghai Noon alongside Jackie Chan he then turned to a more dramatic role in Behind Enemy Lines before return to his comedic roots with hits including Shanghai Knights, Starsky and Hutch, and Wedding Crashers. As many of you would be aware Owen Wilson was suffering depression in late 2007, which ultimately resulted in him taking time off to heal himself. Prior to that though he finished filming Drillbit Taylor and it saw a release in early 2008, although the box office doesn't make this one of his bigger movies. Unlike some of his other movies this is aimed at a much younger audience too.

Ryan (Troy Gentile), Wade (Nate Hartley) and Emmit (David Dorfman) attend their first day at high school and they're pumped until they meet up with Filkins (Alex Frost), a school bully who comes off like a little Hannibal Lecter. Before they become completely engulfed in Filkins' reign of terror, they seek out some protection by placing an ad in Soldier Of Fortune magazine.

Their best response and the cheapest comes from Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), a down-on-his luck soldier of fortune who lives a homeless - he likes to say "home-free"- existence on the beach. He then enrolls them in some physical and mental training.

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Dewey Cox struts his stuff.
Owen Wilson is a brilliantly funny actor, but this movie doesn't really do him justice. There are some funny moments, sure, but throughout this movie you just can't help but feel this is an adult movie being restrained by the ratings. There are some sexually suggestive scenes, and also a bit of violence - although nothing graphic we must add - so parents be warned. The acting is pretty entertaining across the board, but strangely I felt that some of the funnier moments weren't in the movie, but rather can be seen in the extras.

We must also point out that while the theatrical version ran for 102 minutes, the Blu-Ray disc includes the extended unrated version which runs for 110 minutes - although we have to point out that even as an unrated version this is still suitable for children old enough for PG rated material.

Drillbit Taylor is a slightly better then average movie which will be great for families with teenage children. As an adult it felt too childish in places, but still retains its charms. The children are pretty entertaining and I could see them moving onto bigger and better things in future. If you haven't checked this movie out yet then its worth a rental, and a purchase if you enjoyed it at cinemas.

VIDEO
As with all Blu-Ray discs the video is presented with 1080p video in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 using the VC-1 codec. According to my PS3 stats the video bitrate typically runs between 27-35Mbps but occasionally runs a bit higher or lower then this range depending on the activity on screen at the time. As you can imagine though the print used for this movie is pristine and you won't find a blemish anywhere while the encoding is also very good.

Detail levels are impressive however I did feel that colours were a little over the top at times. Detail in some of the darker scenes, or items such as dark hair or clothing, seems to disappear.

AUDIO
Drillbit Taylor comes to Blu-Ray with an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track and despite the lack of big budget effects it still sounds quite wonderful. The dialogue remains crystal clear, the music is lively and engaging and there is some, but not excessive, use of surround sound and LFE channels.

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Yes folks, that is a giraffe.
One thing I do have to question, and it really was quite amusing, was a section in the movie where Eminem's Ass Like That plays, but they simply drop the volume on the word "Ass". The song does manage to keep "my pee pee go, doing, doing, doing". If you know the song, you'll be singing along anyway, if you don't know it, this editing makes it a bit hard to understand.

There are two other languages available on this disc - French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks, each encoded at 640kbps. They don't quite have the same clarity as the English Dolby TrueHD track as one can understand, but sampling each of those tracks demonstrated that they are also very fine efforts.

Subtitles are provided in a couple of languages including English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. I watched much of the movie with the English subtitles on an they were identical to the dialogue on screen.

EXTRAS
Paramount have provided quite a few extras on this disc, although most are extremely short so there isn't a lot of content. In typical fashion Paramount have provided all the extras in High Definition.

Commentary by Steven Brill, Kristofor Brown, Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley, David Dorfman: The commentary starts off with director Steven Brill and co-producer Kristofor Brown and really starts off very slowly with large gaps between comments. When actors Troy Gentile, Nate Hartley, David Dorfman are added into the mix it actually improves and actually becomes a good listen the further you get into it.

The Writers Get a Chance to Talk: Kristofor Brown and Seth Rogen (14:00/HD): While Seth Rogan is only available via phone (and therefore the quality is a bit poor) it was great to hear the two writers talk about the creation of this movie. Seth Rogan is a comedic genius and this extra is pretty hilarious at times. While the two are talking there are a series of still images from the movies production.

Deleted & Extended Scenes (23:32/HD): A series of 19 deleted or extended scenes, some of which are quite amusing and could have stayed in the final movie. Sadly there's no directors commentary to detail why the scenes were cut.

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The Beatles scene is classic.
Line-O-Rama (4:24/HD): A short clip showing the best lines, fluffed lines and other amusing bits that didn't make it into the final film. There's some pretty funny stuff here.

Panhandle (3:07/HD): The series of conversations Drillbit Taylor has with drivers on the off ramp in the attempt to get some money.

Gag Reel (4:01/HD): Often these fall quite flat, but not this time as there are some pretty funny gags and fluffed lines here.

Kids on the Loose (2:41/HD): A small pointless clip of the kids mucking around on set.

Directing Kids (3:02/HD): Another short pointless clip with the director talking about, well, directing kids.

Super Billy (2:42/HD): Some classic lines from Billy, one of the smaller characters in the movie. Sadly most of the scenes here were cut from the movie.

Bully (2:59/HD): Meting the bullies from the movie.

Bodyguard (2:56/HD): Another all to short, and rather pointless clip with interviews with the actors playing the bodyguards interviewed by the kids.

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Talented Sarah Bolger as Mallory Grace.
Trading Punches (1:34/HD): A look at the creation of the fight scene including rehearsals.

Rap Off (3:35/HD): Rather interesting in that it looks at the rehearsals for the rap battle, and then the filming.

Sprinkler Day (3:24/HD): A look at setting off the sprinklers in the school.

Filkin's Fight (7:15/HD): One of the bigger extras on this disc looks at the main fight with Filkin's.

The Life of Don (2:14/HD): Another short clip showing the life of Don on the streets.

The Real Don: Danny McBride (5:46/HD): Actor Danny McBride talks about playing the role of Don in the movie.

Theatrical Trailers (3:23/HD): The International Trailer and Bodyguard Trailer are presented in HD with Dolby Digital 5.1 at 640kbps.

OVERALL
While not one of Owen Wilson's best movies it is enjoyable and one which families can enjoy (well, perhaps with teenage children). Paramount have present this movie on Blu-Ray disc with a decent transfer and some good extras. Worth a look.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
6/10
THE VIDEO
8/10
THE AUDIO
9/10
THE EXTRAS
5/10
OVERALL
7/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Paramount. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.