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August 7, 2010
Swingers Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
12/6/19974/8/2010Icon FilmsDoug Liman
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MJon Favreau

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Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn in Las Vegas.

It's probably not surprising if you haven't seen or heard of Swingers. This was a very low budget movie starring a string of newcomers including Jon Favreau, vince Vaughn, Heather Graham, Ron Livingston and director Doug Liman. Of course all those names should now be instantly recognisable after each has had a lengthy, popularity-rising, career since this film was release in 1996 (in America, Australins had to wait until June 1997 for the theatrical release). The film ended up financially successful grossing just over $US6.5 million worldwide - but that's a pittance compared to the box office of their latest movies.

Swingers follows a close group of friends looking for love in some of Hollywoods hippest back alley nightspots - where you better look 'money'.

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Swingers playing at the casino tables...
We must point out that the title Swingers refers to the music style used throughout this film, swing and jazz, rather then some sexual partner swapping. Ultimately this is a comedy but it also tells the tale of a group of mates sticking together and helping one get over the recent ending of his relationship. Despite a couple of rough edges there is plenty to like about this film, not least of which is the solid acting from this hit cast.

There really are some superbly amusing moments in this film - who can ever forget Vince Vaughn as Trent talking to a woman at the part as Jaws music starts up, or perhaps laying the Double Down bet at Vegas, seeing Mike call Nikki a leaving messages after meeting her in the bar, and so much more. It's not going to have you rolling around in laughter, but is just so likable.

Swingers is an entertaining, low budget movie, which shows glimpses of what the films stars were set to become in the following decade. The characters are raw, but real, and there are some very amusing moments making this a great sleeper comedy of the 1990's. If you have a couple of hours to speare there's a lot worse you could do with your time then check this movie out.

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Getting some news over the phone.
The Blu-Ray transfer is presented at 1.85:1 which matches the theatrical release and has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. The video bitrate generally sits above 20Mbps, so as we suspect, the majority of the video issues are to do with the original master then the actual transfer. Shot on a paltry budget it's fair to say that this isn't the best looking film with plenty of inconsistencies in the video quality, sharpness, cleanliness of the print. It's not terrible, but it certainly isn't a transfer, or movie, you would use as a demo disc.

Swingers, is released on Blu-Ray with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (16-bit/48Khz) track as well as a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track and while the original film was shown in cinemas with Dolby audio (which at the time was most likley only stereo sound), the use of surround sound channels in this film is quite limited. Indeed besides the odd music and scene the bulk of this film was front heavy, understandable given the heavy dialogue content. For the most part though this track is decent enough, especially when you consider the $US250,000 budget!

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Swingers with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau.
This disc includes a single English Hard of Hearing (HOH) subtitle track which places the text on screen, and in colours, according to who is talking on-screen. Again, it's and impressive part of Icon Films Blu-Ray release.

Sadly despite this film being a cult classic now, with so many actors that have gone on to become some of Hollywood's biggest stars, this disc is devoid of any extras.

With a stellar cast and fairly good/entertaining script Swingers is a movie well worth checking out despite the average video quality. Thankfully Icon are releasing this disc for only $24.95, but if that's still too rich for you, at the very least, make sure you rent this.

Review By: Dave Warner


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