DVD REVIEWS: The Longest Yard

Paramount
Movie ••½ Picture/Sound •••• Extras ••
Hollywood remakes don't always fall short of the mark, but the new take on The Longest Yard doesn't approach the 1974 film or its enduringly popular inmates-vs.-guards football story. In fact, the best thing about the original movie - its unmistakable anti-establishment spirit - has been replaced by a fairly generic tale of payback that plays more like Animal House than Cool Hand Luke. The remake does have a few belly laughs here and there, and the big game is a treat for football fans. Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and the rest of the strong cast are fine - even rapper Nelly and former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin handle their substantial roles gracefully. But they can only do so much with a woefully inept script.

The well-crafted picture and sound are at their most impressive during the climactic on-field face-off. Director Peter Segal takes a page from the NFL Films playbook, mixing extreme close-ups with slow-motion footage to make the gridiron action seem simultaneously huge and intimate. Images remain rock-solid throughout, with sharpness and detail to burn (even if, at times, color can seem a little too pumped). And the explosive Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is so convincing, it'll have you wincing at each turf-thumping hit. Extras are forgettable, though, consisting of half an hour of documentary footage (divided into three featurettes), a few choice deleted scenes with director's commentary, the "Errtime" music video by Nelly, and a blooper real. [PG-13] English, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround; French, Dolby Surround; letterboxed (2.35:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.

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