• Urban Legend: Final Cut (Shout! Factory) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: November 20th, 2018.
    Director: John Ottman
    Cast: Jennifer Morrison, Matthew Davis, Hart Bochner, Loretta Devine, Joey Lawrence
    Year: 2000
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    Urban Legend: Final-Cut – Movie Review:

    When 1998’s Urban Legend proved a reasonable success at the box office, not surprisingly a sequel was launched and quickly put into production. The result? An engaging slasher entitled Urban Legend: Final Cut, directed in 2000 by John Ottman, a man better known as a composer and editor than a director (this remains his only feature-length directorial credit).

    The story this time revolves around Alpine University, a film school where Professor Solomon (Hart Bochner of Supergirl and Die Hard) has his class all in a tizzy to win the prestigious Hitchcock Award! Travis Stark (Matthew Davis of Bloodrayne) decides to cast Sandra (Jessica Cauffiel of Legally Blonde) in his film about a plane crash but is having trouble looking past her admittedly terrible acting. They’re in direct competition with Amy Mayfield (Jennifer Morrison) who has a conversation with Renee (Loretta Devine, reprising her role from the first film) and is in turn inspired to make a film based on urban legends. As the students start finalizing details and set out to make their films, a killer arrives and starts offing various characters in ways inspired by the various urban legends that are being bandied about in the plot.

    Oh, and Joey Laurence shows up.

    While this one exploits a premise very similar to that used in the earlier picture, Ottman gives this sequel enough of its own flavor to make it work. The gore is stronger this second go round (and, as crass as it might sound, the movie is better for it) and the humor both more prevalent and more effective. If it isn’t as ‘original’ as the film’s predecessor, in many ways it is more successful even if we don’t get the ‘name stars’ that were clearly a big part of the draw back in 1998.

    The cast are alright though. Davis, Morrison and Cauffiel, while hardly household names, handle the material without any issues. Bochner is fine as the professor in charge of the project and it’s definitely amusing to see Lorette Devine, who stole a whole lot of scenes from the first picture, show up in the film again and Joey Lawrence is genuinely funny in his supporting role.

    Production values are solid. This is a glossy, nicely shot film with the cinematography from Brian Pearson, who shot Drive Angry and a few episodes of Masters Of Horror along with a whole lot of other film and TV projects, is tight, polished and slick. Ottman’s direction demonstrates a knack for pacing and the score he contributed to the film is also pretty solid. A little more originality would have gone a long way here but this is, if nothing else, a really fun time killer with a few memorable murder set pieces and an equal number of good gags all working in its favor.

    Urban Legend: Final Cut – Blu-ray Review:

    Urban Legend: Final Cut comes to Blu-ray from Shout! Factory in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen and it looks quite nice. Detail is, for the most part, nice and strong and there’s good depth and texture to the picture throughout. The color scheme in the film is replicated nicely and the image is very clean, showing some natural film grain but nothing in the way of print damage to note. Skin tones look fine, black levels are good and the image is not only free of compression artifacts but also retains a nice film-like sheen throughout.

    DTS-HD tracks are provided in English in DTS-HD 5.1 and DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo with optional subtitles provided in English only. The 5.1 mix is the way to go if you have the hardware for it as it does a really nice job of spreading out the effects and the score throughout pretty much the entire film. It’s a very active track and a lot of fun. Dialogue stays clean and clear throughout, levels are balanced and hiss and distortion are non-issues. No problems here at all, this was a really sold mix.

    Carried over from the 2001 DVD release is the audio commentary with Director John Ottman that is both earnest and interesting. He gives a fairly scene specific talk about making the film, his directorial debut, and he does it with a sense of humor. He covers how he came on board to direct the film, working with the cast and crew, some of the problems that arose during the shoot, what he might do differently in hindsight and more. He delivers all of this with an affable and occasionally humorous tone that makes it easy and enjoyable to listen to.

    New to this release is The Legend Continues: Urban Legends: Final Cut, a seventeen-minute featurette made up of new interviews with Producers Gina Matthews and Michael McDonnell, Executive Producers Nick Osborne and Brad Luff, Chairman and CEO Of Phoenix Pictures Mike Medavoy, Writer Silvio Horta, and Actors Loretta Devine and Rebecca Gayheart. It’s a nicely put together piece that was clearly made in tandem with the similar featurette found in the extras on the Shout! Factory release of the first film. They cover wanting to strike while the iron was hot after the success of the first film, what Ottman was able to bring to the movie as a director and what they feel he was going for with the film, what it was like on set, some of the film’s more memorable moments and more.

    Shout! Factory has also included a new interview with actress Jessica Cauffiel that clocks in at seventeen-minutes. It’s an interesting and entertaining piece that sees her talking about how she wound up in the film, her experiences making the picture and the intricacies involved in shooting her rather amusing opening sequence. Fun stuff.

    The rest of the extras are also carried over from the old DVD release. These include seven reasonably interesting deleted scenes with optional genuinely interesting commentary by Ottman, a twelve-minute gag reel that isn’t all that interesting, a four-minute vintage making of featurette that feels more like an EPK, the film’s original theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection.

    Urban Legend: Final Cut – The Final Word:

    Urban Legend: Final Cut isn’t the most original picture ever made but it’s a more than decent sequel that in some ways betters the original. Shout! Factory has done a nice job bringing it to Blu-ray with a strong audio and video presentation and some decent extras too. This isn’t deep, but it’s fun.

    Click on the images below for full sized Urban Legend: Final Cut Blu-ray screen caps!