The Dictator: Banned & Unrated (Blu-ray Review)

Up next is a film that warms the spirit and enlightens the soul. Scratch that. It’s Sacha Baron Cohen’s new film The Dictator. I remember when I saw the trailers for the film and they didn’t really do anything for me, but as they kept drilling the promotional materials deep into my skull I slowly started to come around and actually anticipate its release. I missed it in theaters, and really haven’t seen a Cohen film since Borat (Bruno looked awful, so I missed that one on purpose), but I have now sat down and watched The Dictator on Blu-ray. How’d it go you ask? Well, stay tuned after the jump and find out. I give you The Dictator: Banned & Unrated on Blu-ray!


The Dictator is the story of the Great Admiral General Aladeen, Supreme Leader of the country of Wadiya. The rest of the world holds him in contempt of various war crimes and crimes of humanity. He must answer for these atrocities in front of the U.N. On his way there the General is kidnapped and stripped of his majestic beard while a double is put in place to sabotage the meeting. Aladeen must use wits to navigate through Brooklyn while teaming up with a an angry-as-hell feminist named Zoey. Oh, and he has to blend in by working at a health food store with her.

See, it’s an easy enough premise to get by, right? Who cares. No one is really here to see the thespian Sacha Baron Cohen recite Shakespeare. At least I hope not. Cohen continues the tradition of creating another iconic character thrown into the big wide world known as America. It’s a fish out of water tale, but Aladeen is a bit more brutal than the innocent Borat. Aladeen will have you killed just for the sake of having you killed.

I watched the UNRATED cut of the film, which contained 16-minutes of extra footage thrown back into the film. I’m sure one of the clips was of Aladeen’s hairy penis. You’ll know the scene that I’m talking about. Yikes. There are various cameos and one really surprising cameo that threw me off, but made me laugh out loud. It was pretty epic and random.

I really can’t pad this review with filler, because in reality, The Dictator IS filler. It’s a filler of a movie. I had a good time in its simplicity and somewhat offensive nature, but I’m already a big fan of simple and offensive humor. It works for me. It may not work for you if you’re an extremely sensitive or easily offended person. The Dictator does skewer race, gender, political standing, class status, etc. I would advise to be warned before you pop in the Blu-ray, because it’s one whacky game show at times.

Oh, and I’m a really big fan of the General’s amazonian guard brigade. These girls are fierce and could break me in half at a moment’s notice. Challenge accepted. *drools*


The Dictator is presented in 1080p, 2.40:1 widescreen. This high definition presentation looks pretty damned good on my big screen. The overindulgent use of light, dark, golds really enhance the cheesy aesthetic of Aladeen’s world. Yes, there are many shots that involve digital compositing, and these are usually the only shots in the film that suffer due to their softness. Flesh tones look natural and never flush, details are clear, and the image is stable throughout. DNR is absent for the most part, black levels are deep and never crush, and contrast is kept on the down low. I did notice a bit of boosting in those scenes of CGI, but those scenes tended to be over exaggerated hence the lens flair layering. The Dictator looks great on Blu-ray.


The Dictator is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. This soundtrack matches up nicely with its video-counterpart in that when the music starts bumpin’ the speakers start rockin’. The remixed foreign songs based off of contemporary American hits come through nice and smooth. Dialogue is crystal clear and never sounds muddled. The LFE channel gets a hefty workout, and the ambient surround channels also see a boost in activity especially in the scenes taking place in Wadiya. It’s a winah!


Such a high score for a few paltry extras? Not quite. This Blu-ray contains TWO cuts of the film. You’ve got the R-rated theatrical, which runs for 83-minutes and then you’ve got the UNRATED cut, which runs for 98-minutes. That unto itself is special enough. As far as the standard extras go – there’s more than 30-minutes of deleted scenes, a music video, and a very entertaining interview with Aladeen and Larry King.

  • R-rated theatrical and UNRATED cuts of the film
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Music Video
  • Interview with Larry King


I had a very much good time with The Dictator on Blu-ray. I thought I’d only get a chuckle, but there were a few hearty laughs in there. I watched the UNRATED version, so I can’t comment on the theatrical cut since I have not seen it yet. The technical specifications are up to snuff, and the supplements are adequate. If you’re a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen you’ll love it, if not, then you will probably hate it, or maybe like it just a bit.  There’s some good stuff here. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Hamptons party to get ready for. 😉







Order The Dictator: Banned & Unrated 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

4 Responses to “The Dictator: Banned & Unrated (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    “I’m sure one of the clips was of Aladeen’s hairy penis.” – Nope, theatrical

  2. Gerard Iribe

    Good memory, Aaron.

  3. Aaron Neuwirth

    Well Sacha Baron Cohen’s penis basically makes a cameo in all his films, it seems.

  4. melanie

    I’m really excited to see the unrated version. I went to see this in the theater with some of my co-workers and we all loved it, but the extra stuff sounds like it makes it a whole different movie. I’m definitely looking forward to settling in with my roommates to watch it as soon as it arrives.