Hot Pursuit (Blu-ray Review)

Hot Pursuit Blu-ray ReviewOfficer Rose Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) is assigned the task of escorting cartel informant Daniella Riva (Sofia Vergara).  The two must team up against the cartel members and corrupt policemen as they travel across Texas.  The film received a wide release in the United States on May 8th, 2015.

Hot Pursuit


Career choices are an interesting thing in Hollywood.  Take for instance Reese Witherspoon, who had quite the year in 2014, co-producing David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, and giving perhaps the best performance of her career in Wild, which earned her an Academy Award nomination.  Somehow she follows all that up with Hot Pursuit, an inept action-comedy that has virtually nothing going for it.  Perhaps behind-the-scenes Witherspoon made a deal that she would agree to do Hot Pursuit if Gone Girl and Wild were in the cards.  If that’s the case, perhaps it was worth it, as no one will remember Hot Pursuit five minutes from now.

Hot Pursuit takes several cues from Martin Brest’s 1988 movie Midnight Run, which also featured an unlikely pair traveling together, in the form of a bounty hunter and an embezzling accountant.  Midnight Run had good characters, an intriguing plot, and jokes that worked, while Hot Pursuit has none of this, making for an unentertaining mess that labors from plot point to plot point before giving us yet another gag reel over the credits, which is hardly the mark of quality.  Unless of course it’s in an inspired form when Pixar does it, which, by the way, whatever happened to those?

It’s hard to know whether to blame or thank editor Priscilla Nedd-Friendly.  The film moves from scene to scene without any reflection or consideration for the scenes proceeding.  She’s worked with director Anne Fletcher before, but perhaps she or the two of them both knew that they had a stinker on their hands, and decided to make the film as short as possible while still making sense.  It does make sense, but that’s faint praise to say the least.

Vergara is essentially just taking advantage of the big screen to showcase a very similar personality to what she has in Modern Family, but it’s a real shame to see Witherspoon reduced to having to try and play her character.  Officer Cooper is just shrill, and none of Witherspoon’s likable qualities that have been seen in things like Legally Blonde come through.  Her accent and her lack of knowledge about things like the phrase “I’ll take shotgun” just make for lazy and unfunny gags.

There’s a pretty large emphasis now on female driven comedies, and Hollywood seems to be finally realizing there’s a market out there for films like Hot Pursuit.  But this one seems to just realize that market exists rather than trying to tap into it.  The female characters are dull and unintelligent, and there’s a forced romance between Cooper and a fugitive (Robert Kazinsky) that is completely unnecessary.   Hot Pursuit is a cold fish.

Hot Pursuit


The movie has little to offer, but Blu-ray has a lot to offer the movie.  The video transfer of Hot Pursuit is nicely done.

  • Encoding: AVC MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: Excellent, with close-ups and wider shots featuring plenty of terrific details in this encoding.
  • Depth: Depth and dimensionality is well on display.
  • Black Levels:  No issue; good shadow detail
  • Color Reproduction: Vivid color reproduction throughout, bright and clear.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones are all natural and authentic looking throughout.
  • Noise/Artifacts: Some noise during night time scenes

Hot Pursuit


Solid reproduction for disc here as well.

  • Audio Format(s): English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Dynamics: Well balanced between clean audio and score tracks.
  • Low Frequency Extension: LFE is utilized to bring balance to the presentation.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The movie is mostly dialogue, but features some gun fire and car chases which are well balanced here.
  • Dialogue Reproduction:  Spoken words were clear and intelligible

Hot Pursuit


Warner Brothers and MGM’s Blu-ray contains a redemption code for an Ultraviolet Digital Download, and a DVD version of the film is included.  The DVD has the feature The Womance, while the Blu-Ray contains the following extras:

  • The Womance (1080p, 3:05): Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara discuss working together, complete with behind-the-scenes footage featuring their comedic stylings.
  • Hot Pursuit: Say What? (1080p, 3:46):  More or less a gag reel, featuring Vergara having challenges speaking English and Witherspoon having trouble speaking Spanish.
  • Action Like a Lady (1080p, 2:26): More behind-the-scenes antics featuring gags and actors messing up their lines.
  • Alternate Ending (1080p, 1:28):  This alternate conclusion catches up with all of the supporting cast, though it’s difficult to see where it would have fit in with the actual film.

Hot Pursuit


The final score gets bumped up from the score of the film, due to a very good video and audio reproduction on this Blu-ray, but the disc’s technical aspects are the best part about this release.  Witherspoon has a lot better in her, as we saw only a few months ago, and Vergara might have some charm, but she’ll have to steer clear of scripts like these.  There are other female driven comedies that are worth more of your time.  This is one you shouldn’t pursue.



Hot Pursuit

on Blu-ray Combo Pack

August 11th



Hot Pursuit Blu-ray Cover Art


Reviewer/Actor/Director/Screenwriter, former film critic for PBS' nationally televised series Just Seen It, and an MFA graduate of USC's School of Cinematic Arts. Favorite films include ROCKY, DIE HARD, GHOSTBUSTERS, THE GODFATHER, and television shows such as TWIN PEAKS, THE X-FILES, and THE TWILIGHT ZONE.

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