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Cop Car (Blu-ray Review)

Cop Car Blu-rayA corrupt small-town sheriff is on the hunt for two runaway kids who took his car on a joy ride in Cop Car, an unnervingly funny thriller now available on Digital HD and On Demand, and debuting on Blu-ray and DVD on September 29, 2015, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.  Starring Golden Globe-winner Kevin Bacon (FootlooseMystic River) and directed by Jon Watts (the upcoming Untitled Spiderman Reboot), Cop Car is “A midnight movie blast!” according to Russ Fischer of Slashfilm.  Grossing a high per-theater average opening weekend, Cop Car will shift into 55 theaters in 45 U.S. markets on August 14th!

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Film 

When a pair of 10-year-olds find an abandoned cop car in a field and take it for a joyride, it seems like they could kill themselves at any moment. But things only get worse when the small-town sheriff goes looking for his missing car—and the illicit cargo he left in the trunk—and the kids find themselves at the center of a deadly game of cat and mouse they don’t understand. The only way out is to go as fast as their cop car can take them.

Cop Car relies on some simple storytelling to tell an incredibly effective thriller.  The film is pure and doesn’t need to overcomplicate anything and doesn’t even think twice about bloating itself in length.  Our protagonists are two young boys who have run away from home and steal a dirty cop’s car that they find in the woods.  The film makes the decision to truly take everything on from the boy’s point of view and is all the better for it.  The innocence of that angle helps make things all the more suspenseful from beginning to end.

As I mentioned, our protagonists are two very young boys, enough so that they aren’t even close to 16 years old and don’t know much about driving.  What I enjoy about them is how natural and true these kids feel in both their behavior and dialogue.  When we first meet them, they have run away from home and our just saying aloud obscenities and curse words because they’re on their own and just “can”.  This, along with further conversation and decision making the two had felt very relate-able to me, a 33 year old, as it felt very similar to how I can remember life in my youth.  Also, their innocence and naivety makes some rather regular situations into incredibly suspenseful ones as they just aren’t experienced in life enough to know some things.

Kevin Bacon is the cop in whose car it is.  Bacon is wonderful here as he finely balances the line of intimidation and camp throughout.  This character brings about all sorts of intrigue, uncertainty, suspense, scares and laughs.  Its an interesting character that feels like one out of a 70s or 80s low budget horror film come to the modern age.  The only other adult with real merit comes in the form of (I’m in everything) Shea Whigham.  Whigham is much more straight and lays on the intensity quite well.  He’s dickish enough that you just slightly like Bacon a hair more than him even though you assumed Bacon is worse.

Cop Car is a film I found myself enjoying the heck out of.  Nowadays, I dig something simple as this with a high level of effectiveness in what its trying to do.  I’ll definitely be revisiting this one with frequency as there was also some terrific direction and cinematography on display in the film as well (Maybe the locations, lent to some ease, but I feel it can’t be all that).  If you have not checked out Cop Car and you like A) Thrillers B) Kevin Bacon C) Both, then you should probably rectify that.  It could very well turn out to be one of my favorite films of the year when all is said and done.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: Cop Car looks perfect to me on Blu-ray.  The image is sharp, crisp and loaded with all the detail you could possibly get.  Desert grounds, road asphalt, tumbleweeds, scratched paint-you name it-comes through on your monitor like you’re looking at it through a pane of glass (through a window) or whatnot.  This video quality is top notch Blu-ray.

Depth:  The people and objects in the film look free in their respective environments.  Background imagery is as clear and discernible as focus allows.  Movements are cinematic and done smoothly with no blur.

Black Levels: Blacks are nice and accurate, not too deep, not extremely inky.  They provide terrific shading and never cover up any detail or cause any crushing.

Color Reproduction:  Colors take on a very natural and have a very sort of worn and used appearance to them.  The blood on Shea Whigham’s face comes across as very bold with different shades of red to make it look lifelike.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones take on a natural appearance with a hint of coolness to them.  Details like wrinkles, freckles, food/drink stains and lip texture all come across perfectly from any camera distance.

Noise/Artifacts: None

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: What an outstanding presentation of this 5.1 mix.  I hate to be cliche, but it really makes you feel like a part of the action.  There’s no score during the movie, so its kind of quite, but it all the more emphasizes the sound effects which sound fully formed and crafted here on this track.  Vocals also are nice a clean.  You’ll be thoroughly impressed with this outstanding 5.1 audio mix.

Low Frequency Extension:  Car engines, doors shutting and gun shots all get a pick me up from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This is front heavy picture, but that’s really what this sort of empty space film actually is.  There’s a terrific accuracy on volume placement and movement of audio from right to left and such.  Don’t count the rear speakers out though, as they do provide some terrific ambiance and when called to duty provide some spark.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp, clear and has a perfectly set volume.

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Extras 

Cop Car comes with an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Their First Ride: The Making of Cop Car (HD, 2:58) – More of a little promo video/kinda trailer thing.

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Summary 

Cop Car is an outstanding thriller, displaying some pure cinema.  The film doesn’t get more complex than it has to, and doesn’t stay longer than it need be.  Its game in both laughs and suspense/thrills.  You’re going to find its one of the most fun films you’ll see this year.  Universal delivers an outstanding and perfect presentation of the film on Blu-ray.  Unfortunately, praise for their release doesn’t go any further as the extras suck.  However, I HIGHLY recommend this title based on the film itself.  The fact that it’s got a low price point on day 1 makes that a much easier sell.

Cop Car Blu-ray Cover Art

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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