The Longest Yard DVD: Review By justincase

  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
Bon Jovi sings... It's all the same... only the names are changed...

Only in this case, not even the names are changed.

An update to the 1974 favorite, The Longest Yard, which starred Burt Reynolds as former pro quarterback, Paul Crewe, this 2005 version plays right down the 50-yard line with its namesake.

In the original, Reynolds was joined on the field by Eddie Albert, Michael Conrad, James Hampton, Harry Caesar and John Steadman.

In this update, Sandler's team includes Chris Rock, Nelly, and Goldberg. Pro footballers and wrestlers, alike (actually -- anyone who is just damned huge), fill out both teams. This roster includes Boz (Brian Bosworth), Stone-Cold Steve Austin, Michael Irvin, Kevin Nash and a gang of other earth-bound giants. The guards and inmates are definitely bigger and more intense than we saw in the Reynolds flick.

Basically, the story is as simple as it is implausible. Our quarterback, Crewe (Sandler) is sent to prison. He's a point-shaver...booted from his leage for throwing a game. In prison, he's seen as an asset to be deployed to improve the warden's prison-guard leage football team. Crewe and the warden agree that Crewe will assemble and inmate team to face-off against the guard team for an easy, morale-boosting ass-kickin' pre-season game.

As Crewe works with his coaching staff (Rock and Reynolds), they begin to gather a rather able gang of misfits. This hard-hitting crew (the "Mean Machine") starts to look really good on the field... a little too good. As the warden begins to worry, he tries to set several roadblocks in the inmates' way. In classic, if not downright violent, style -- they tromp right over the warden's obstacles.

When we finally arrive at game day, we've been through trials and tragedy. The warden will take one last shot at Crewe, giving him a "no-brainer" decision leading him to fall back on his previously exhibited morals (or lack thereof) and throw the game.

How does it play out? You'll have to play it to find out. If you've seen the original, you already know.

As do most remakes these days, this one hits harder (and louder) than the original. In the end, though, this flick sticks too close to the previous to ever grab its own sense of self. What we get is an entertaining cinematic diversion that's suitably updated and won't disappoint... but that doesn't quite live up to the legacy of the former. If you want the full-meal-deal, you gotta go check out Burt's 1974 performance.
The disc features a pretty pedestrian line-up of special features that are, nonetheless, worth checking out, including:

  • First Down and Twenty-Five to Life A making-of featurette that shows us where and how the movie was filmed. We get a look inside the west-Texas prison and what changes were made to the institution to make it even more intense.

  • The Care & Feeding of Pro Athletes A look at what Boz, Stone Cold, Goldberg and all the rest consumed during the filming... DAMN!

  • Lights, Camera, Touchdown! Filming cinematic football requires a lot of very real hits and exceptional camera work to fool all the hard-core NFL fans used to 40 cameras covering that Sunday NFL game. Get it all here. How they did it.

  • Extra Points A group of FX shots and how/why they were done. VERY brief cuts, but decent viewing.

  • Deleted Scenes Decent, and with commentary by our director, we get a good look at what was pulled and why.

  • Music Video "Errtime" by Nelly Yo... MTV Raps. Um... you get the idea. Nelly, Snoop, some ho's... Cool.

  • Here Comes the Boom This is a hard-hitting playback of the hardest hits from the film set to the hard-jammin' sound of the P.O.D. song, Boom which is a way harder rockin' version than Nelly's cover from the film's credit sequence.

  • Fumbles & Stumbles Great blooper reel footage. Some classic stuff from Sandler, Reynolds, Rock and the band of giants.

  • Previews Um... DAMN!. As if I hadn't seen enough previews, I'm gonna watch them on my DVD. NOPE!

Presented in 16:9widescreen, the transfer is seamless and, other than some layer-switching skip, I didn't notice any artifacts or defects. The color is very dark and washed-out in the beginning, but once we get to prison, it seems to brighten-up. Perhaps we're getting director Peter Segal's take on Crewe's mood before he gets sent-up, but it is a bit annoying, even on a well above average HD LCD.
With Dolby Digital 5.1, the soundtrack won't disappoint. We get some great music, including some Errtime with Nelly. Through your system or through a solid set with simu-surround, I'm certain you'll feel the pain of the hard hits as it all gets left out on the field. I swear I even heard the ref's nuts crunch... twice.
A standard keepcase gets spruced-up with the Mean Machine's team photo... Sandler, Reynolds and Rock mugging right up front.

On the back, the roster of special features joins the films quick synopsis and some film stills.
The Longest Yard pays respectable homage to the original, while making for an entertaining viewing.

If you're a Sandler fan, you won't be disappointed. If you are in love with the original, you probably will be.

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