The Mule (Blu-ray Review)

MuleA naïve man transporting lethal narcotics in his stomach is detained by the police. Alone and afraid, the mule makes a desperate choice — to defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence…literally. By doing so becomes a human time-bomb, dragging cops, criminals. lawyers and his mother into his impossible escapade. Inspired by true events, THE MULE is a comic nightmare of stomach-churning suspense and belly laughs. 


The Mule


This latest Blu-ray review for The Mule may or may not be interesting due to the level of unintentional puns that may be spread out through it. I will try my best to not laugh or chuckle my way through it and I will not indicate where these puns will be listed. You may take that job on yourself if you like. The Mule is a dramatized account of what happened in South Australia back in 1983. Ray (Angus Sampson), a not-so-bright young man was taken advantage of by his friend Gavin (Leigh Wannell) into being a drug mule for the local drug kingpin played by the dangerous looking John Noble (Return of the King, Running Scared).

Ray is a bit of an outcast due to his upbringing and disposition. His folks have had money problems and dealings with Pat (John Noble) and Ray has been taken advantage of his entire life. He’s not very quick if you get my meaning. He does have a mean streak, though, so you never want to corner him, because he will lay you out if need be. Gavin seems to be the only one that can talk sense into the lad and convinces him to be a drug mule after visiting Thailand and making a deal brokered by the aforementioned Pat.

Everything is all fun and games until you get caught at customs before being promptly stripped searched, probed, and spread. This brings in the authorities led by Detective Tom Croft (Hugo Weaving) and they whisk Ray to a hotel and place him on hold for 10-days. I guess back in those days a suspected criminal could refuse and x-ray and the police would hold them until they dropped a deuce to gather up the contraband. Croft and company did exactly that and has a round-the-clock team keeping track of Ray and his contents.

This is the main gist of thstory in Mule. Law enforcement wants the contents of Ray’s guts so as to prosecute Pat, or Ray goes to prison, or dies either by Pat’s henchmen, or the implosion of Ray’s said guts. The Mule is not for the squeamish as there is a lot of potty humor and the sound effects are edited in a way that you can hear people and their insides churn and gurgle. It’s quite disgusting. It’s also quite hilarious. I was surprised to see Leigh Wannell involved and even more surprised to see Angus Sampson, who I did not recognize as Tucker (Insidious & Insidious 2), co-direct & co-write the film. It’s Specs and Tucker, ya’ll! Anyways, it was a real neat reunion.

Everyone else involved in this filthy endeavor also seemed to have a good time and Hugo Weaving really chew up the scenery in a very amusing fashion. This being a Wannell project of sorts you can very well expect a twist or two throughout the film. However, since some of what’s in the film is downright disgusting, you will probably turn away or miss some key information. Don’t be alarmed as I have a feeling it’s done on purpose. There are several scenes featuring a sleight of hand, so try to pay attention, if you can.

The Mule is an above average picture and Sampson and Wannell do a great job collaborating in front and behind the camera, as does the rest of the cast. The film is being released in the USA via the “Macabre” banner of XLRator Media’s subgenre imprint. No, The Mule is not a horror movie per se; it’s the situation Ray finds himself in that’s the horror. Ewwwww.


The Mule


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: The Mule looks terrific on Blu-ray. The overall presentation of the film is refined – but it’s also very reserved. The low-lit interiors look great but the outside exterior and even the airport location look bright and bubbly. One could go on holiday almost.

Depth: The scenes taking place outside of Australia were the highlight as it made you think you were accompanying Ray and Gavin to the pick up location in Thailand.

Black Levels: Black levels are pristine and crush was not a factor.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is terrific especially during some of the brighter outdoor spots. They filmed in Australia and the wardrobes of some of the characters have a very pastel quality to them. Granted, it’s supposed to be 1983, but the colorful flair comes through via the Blu-ray presentation.

Flesh Tones: Everyone outside of our man Ray looked spot on. Ray, on the other hand, looked like he hadn’t evacuated in a few days, which shot his complexion all to hell.

Noise/Artifacts: Noise and debris were not a problem.  A speckle here and there added texture to the whole thing.


The Mule


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

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics: The Mule on Blu-ray sounds great. It’s parts gangster-drug trafficking film, with tons of comedy and gross outs. The lossless surround track does the job without blinking twice.

Low Frequency Extension: There is some LFE bass thrown into some of the more action oriented scenes of the film but it keeps it on the down low a bit when nothing to rambunctious is going on.

Surround Sound Presentation: The rear channels do their job nicely as they’re mainly used for ambience, crowd, meeting, and during action and chase scenes. Nothing from the back ever comes drowns out what’s coming from the front – if you get my meaning.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is crystal clear – accents and all.


The Mule


The Mule is stuffed with a fairly low amount of extras that will make for easy passing of. Deleted scenes and four featurettes are included, which look like they were cut into 4 from a much larger program. They’re both presented in high definition.

  • Deleted Scenes (HD) – The deleted scenes run a tad over 10-minutes in length and are presented in HD. These scenes and extensions were trimmed for pacing, tone, and length. Rightfully so.
  • 4 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes (HD) – These 4 behind-the scenes featurettes are your standard talking head interview/making-of segments with the cast and crew. They are nothing remarkable in terms of content but everyone is sort of curious as to how the final product will turn out due to the gooey subject matter.



The Mule


The Mule was an interesting exercise in grotesque caper that didn’t set the world on fire as it did my guts. Horror icon Leigh Wannell and actor-co-director Angus Sampson craft an intense and quite disgusting at times film. Does it always work out? No, but the finished product is fun if you can stomach it. The Blu-ray itself has great audio and video specs but the extras on the disc are slim. Overall, The Mule is worth checking out, but be warned, there’s some nasty shit throughout. 😉




Order The Mule on Blu-ray!



Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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