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The Fighter (Blu-ray Review)

Paramount Pictures brings the critically acclaimed film The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg and Academy Award winning actors Christian Bale and Melissa Leo to Blu-ray. Funny enough, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo won the Oscar for their performances in The Fighter. Very cool!  This is an advance review of The Fighter.    It will be officially released March 15th, 2011.  You may pre-order your copy at the bottom of this page. 

Film  

The Fighter tells the story of Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) who yearns to be a great boxer.  Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) is Mickey’s older brother who also happens to be a drug addict, and his mother (Melissa Leo) is his overbearing  manager. Charlene (Amy Adams) is Mickey’s girlfriend, and only wants what’s best for him.  This does not bode well with Mickey’s mother, Dicky, and his many siblings. Charlene is an outsider. Mickey is one of nine.  The odds are already against Mickey, and he hasn’t even gotten in the ring yet!

After Dicky screws up one too many times, it becomes clear that Mickey will have to use what he’s learned in order to take his opponents down. I’ll be completely honest, I saw the trailer in theaters and thought it looked awful.  Haven’t we seen Mark Wahlberg play this type of character before?  It totally turned me off and I let it slide from my films to see.  The Fighter was then released to theaters and it was critically acclaimed and a financial success.  It did have a slow build and word of mouth really got out.  This was all well and good, and then it won a couple of Best Supporting Actor awards, so I knew I had to see it now.

The Fighter is an emotional powerhouse of a film.  Not only does it hit the right notes when it comes to the human drama, but it’s also a great boxing flick.  Director David O. Russell (Three Kings) lays it all on the line and makes a tight and coherent film that does not pull punches.  If I didn’t know any better one would think that Russell was channeling Martin Scorsese.  He uses music as a tool to convey emotion.  There are several scenes throughout the film where the music is blasting and everyone is either talking or yelling over it, but you totally get what’s going on.  It’s ordered chaos.

The Blu-ray came in and it was devoured.  Once Bale is on screen you are reeled in like a tuna.  His portrayal of the “crackhead” Dicky Eklund earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and he deserves it.  He plays a very dynamic character with many, many faults.  Melissa Leo also deserves accolades, because you’ve never seen a mother like the one portrayed here. The Fighter is one film that is not afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve.  It wears it on its head.  There are parts in the film that made me almost lose it.  The acting, direction, etc., is top notch.  I am confident that if I had seen The Fighter in theaters it would have made it to my top ten list.  Well, let it be known that The Fighter on Blu-ray will be going on my top ten Blu-rays of 2011.  The Fighter is a masterpiece.

Video 

The Fighter is presented in a 1080p 2.35:1 aspect ratio.  Ah, how I love 35mm shot productions!  This is one of the best looking Blu-rays that I have seen in recent memory.  I did not detect instances of dirt or scratches, or softness.  I also didn’t detect DNR or any other blemishes or manipulations.  I did detect some lovely grain and there are some great shots during scenes of low light.  It’s got a very warm color palette especially in the scenes at home, Charlene’s place, and at the gym.  The Fighter looks the way films should look.  Paramount did a great job on this transfer!

Audio 

The Fighter is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.  This completes the trifecta.  The audio quality packs a whopping punch. Dialogue is crystal clear and considering many people talk and yell over each other I had no problem listening or distinguishing what was being said.   As I said in my review, the music really comes through loud and clear. The cheers and thrill of the crowd fill the rear channels, and the low end brings out those body blow hits.  I new this was a reference quality release when I felt the bass in the Relativity Media logo before the film even started.  Strap yourself in.

Special Features 

The Fighter has a few quality special features, but unfortunately not enough for me to give it a higher score.  We have a commentary track by David O. Russell and a documentary with the real life people that The Fighter is based on.  The Fighter includes 16 deleted and alternates scenes and a short featurette.  The good news is that they are all presented in HD.  Disc number two features the standard dvd and digital copy presentation.

  • Commentary by Director David O. Russell
  • The Warrior’s Code: Filming The Fighter
  • Keeping the Faith
  • Deleted Scenes (with optional Director’s Commentary)

Disc 2

  • Feature Film in SD
  • DVD Digital Copy Combo Disc

Final Thoughts 

The Fighter is a winner and this Blu-ray knocks out the competition when it comes to content and audio/video specs.  The special features could have be better, but that’s okay.  This is one of those instances where I think the viewer will watch the film a couple of times before they even get to the special features.  The Fighter is a reference disc.  Okay, so what are you waiting for?  The FIghter gets my highest possible recommendation!

Order The Fighter on Blu-ray!

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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

6 Responses to “The Fighter (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Lauren Winston

    Wonderful Film. Every character brought something fresh to the screen. I never was bored when one character was having their moment. Everyone should see this.

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    I figured you’d like it Gerard, but I didn’t think you’d love it this much. That’s cool, it is a very good film.

  3. Brian White

    Glad to hear u liked this. I’m anxiously looking forward to watching this on the plane to FL!

  4. Gerard Iribe

    On the plane? I’d suggest you wait and watch it on your home theater.

  5. Brian White

    Because I will be in FL from the 15th to the 21st. I can’t wait that long! I will just load the digital copy on my iPad!

  6. Sean Ferguson

    This movie looks pretty good. I better add it to my queue.