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Here Comes The Boom (Blu-ray Review)

Some may have not seen this coming, but I really enjoyed Here Comes the Boom, starring Kevin James, who takes on the role of a teacher trying to save the school’s music program by becoming an MMA fighter.  I will say this, I may not be a big fan of what has come out of Happy Madison productions lately, but I was strangely intrigued by this film.  Maybe it’s because it looked like a more lighthearted version of the great film Warrior from 2011, but something about the trailer made me want to see it.  Of course, no one wanted to go with me, so I didn’t get a chance to check it out theatrically.  I am aware that the movie follows a very tried and true formula, but dammit, I wanted to see it anyway, and I was happy to have done so.  Continue on to read more about my thoughts on the film and the Blu-ray presentation as a whole.

Film: 

The film stars Kevin James as Scott Voss, a 42-year-old high school biology teacher, who has resigned to just not caring about his job.  He arrives late and barely attempts teaching his students.  During a teacher’s meeting, it is revealed that the high school is going to have to go through with severe budget cutbacks, which would mean cancelling the music program altogether.  This is devastating news for the music teacher, Marty (Henry Winkler), who is a nice man and really cares for the students.  Scott also understands that it would be a shame for all the extracurriculars, such as Music, to be cut and decides that he’ll raise the money needed to keep the music program alive.  His first plan is to work as a night instructor for a citizenship class, but this proves to be underwhelming, as the cash needed is not nearly going to be raised in time.  However, Scott does come up with another option, based on the hobbies of one of his students.

This student is Niko (MMA fighter Bas Rutten), who needs some outside tutoring, but also provides Scott with the idea that he could become an MMA fighter and quickly make the money he needs.  Scott was once a wrestler, so he figures that this can’t be too hard, because even the losers of the match make a good amount of money.  Of course, things become more difficult than expected, but with training from Niko, support from Marty, and pain management from the high school nurse, Bella (Salma Hayek), whom Scott continues to make passes at, Scott does eventually gain more traction as an MMA fighter, gradually making more and more money to help his cause.  As all of this is going on, Scott also becomes more motivated as a teacher and even reaches a point where he can compete in a real UFC fight.  Not bad for man over forty that is also not in peak physical condition.

Speaking of physique, Kevin James, who also co-wrote the script, lost a ton of weight and looks quite fit in this film.  I was so happy to finally see him in a role that didn’t rely on his weight in order to make with the funny.  James is a person I generally like, but feel has been unfortunately saddled with roles that concentrate on fat jokes, as opposed to letting him be funny in other ways, which he is quite capable of doing.  In Here Comes the Boom, he is given that chance and while seeing him as an MMA fighter may stretch limits of plausibility in some instances, James brings a level of energy that is reflected appropriately for the type of film this is.

Now, I am not new at this, I am very aware that Here Comes the Boom is formulaic in almost every way, to the point of reaching a totally impossible finale for many reasons, but I still had a lot of fun with this film, because it has a fun spirit, tries to be sweet, and does not rely on mean-spirited jokes like many Happy Madison-produced films tend to do.  It blazes through some of the more dramatic aspects of the story and Scott, as a character, evolves pretty quickly, but it is still paced well enough to maintain its high energy throughout.  This is very clearly a film made for families and plays exactly how any kids’ sports comedy is supposed to, but with that said, given that I love films like The Sandlot and Rookie of the Year (which I will contend are films that do break out of the formula), I can imagine kids now, that are my age when I saw those films, could probably love Here Comes the Boom.

It does not hurt that the supporting cast all seem to be having fun as well, given the chemistry they share with one another and the various one-liners they get.  Henry Winkler is quite good I think and so is Bas Rutten, who may not have much acting experience, but seems like a really likable guy on camera, who know how to play up the comedy.  Salma Hayek also provides a lot of fun chemistry with James, while continuing to look amazing.  And King of Queens fans may be happy to see Gary Valentine (Kevin James’ real life brother) playing Scott’s older brother.  Again, these are not deep performances, but when you have the Fonz and some MMA fighters getting into a pie fight and it is somehow putting a smile on my face, it seems like the job is getting done.

Director Frank Coraci, who is responsible for directing some of Adam Sandler’s biggest hits (The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy) actually seems to try in this film as well.  It may not be an especially memorable feat of direction, but he gets the camera up and close for some interesting shots during Kevin James’ bouts in the ring.  Moreover, there is a significant evolution of the look of this film, as it goes from more monochromatic to much warmer, as Kevin James’ character evolves over the course of the film.  Again, not a spectacular feat to appropriately assemble a film like this, but a step in the right direction in terms of finding a way to better frame this story.

I’ve done a lot of sticking up for Here Comes the Boom and that is because I did have a lot of fun with it.  It could easily be written off as another failed Kevin James comedy, but that wouldn’t be right.  It only did decent business at the box office, compared to his lesser, but more successful films, which is unfortunate, because I would actually say this is the best film he has done.  It has a charm to it, the story is formulaic but charming in presentation, and the cast is quite likable.  It follows all the standard tropes of sports movies, but it is still a fun one to watch.

Video: 

Here Comes the Boom arrives on Blu-ray with a pretty great 1080p HD transfer that really emphasizes the visual style of this film, which I mentioned briefly already.  Given that there is a gradual shift in the color palette, it seems notable that the quality of the image throughout the film is very clear.  Textures register quite well, colors pop, especially as more and more colors become apparent in the visual evolution of the film, and the darker scenes register very appropriately as well.  On the whole, this is another film that Sony has really done a good job on when it comes to its presentation on Blu-ray, which is of course also reflected on its…

Audio: 

The audio transfer for this film is quite good as well.  Fitted with a fantastic lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, the Blu-ray provides for great sounds in every category.  The dialogue is loud and clear, the audio selections are appropriately clear as well (and you have plenty of chances to listen to the song, “Here Comes the Boom”), and of course, the sounds of the MMA matches feature plenty of action that is quite prominent in the right moments.  There are plenty of “booms” during the actual matches, which sound really great and do a good job of immersing the viewer.  It is a solid mix that benefits from a quality Blu-ray.

Extras: 

There are a few extras here, but unfortunately nothing too substantial.  A commentary track with Kevin James, given that he co-wrote the film, would have been nice, as I could have learned more about the origins of this film, but as it stands, there are just featurettes and a handful of deleted scenes.

Features Include:

Deleted Scenes – 16 minutes worth of extra material here that is really just unneeded padding for the film that was appropriately cut.

Gag Reel – Just some fun with the cast cracking up.

Here Comes the Cast – Some brief interviews with all the cast members.

Gino Vs. Ritchie – A challenge caught on camera.

Back to School – A look at how the crew found one of the locations for the film.

Learning How to Fight – A brief look at Kevin James’ training for the film.

Three Amigos – Behind-the-scenes fun with Bas Rutten, Henry Winkler and kickboxer Mark DellaGrotte.

The Pros – The actual MMA fighters involved with the film chime in.

Disco Street Fighting – A small training video

Trailers

UltraViolet Copy of the film

Summary:  

Here Comes the Boom delivers what I expected in a good way.  It is a film that relies on a certain formula in order to reach its finish line, but does so in a fun enough way to make me look past obvious faults.  It is light stuff, but Kevin James did a good job this time around and I appreciated that.  With that said, the Blu-ray presentation is very strong.  It features great video and audio, plus a selection of extras, which may not bring a whole lot of depth, but at least provides a little bit more perspective about the film.  Here Comes the Broom brought it.

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Aaron is a writer/reviewer for WhySoBlu.com.  Follow him on Twitter @AaronsPS3.
He also co-hosts a podcast,
Out Now with Aaron and Abe, available via iTunes or at HHWLOD.com.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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