Brave One HDDVD Cover Art
       
 
Brave One BRAY Cover Art
SRP $35.98 2.40:1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 WARNER BROS
 
Brave One DVD Cover Art
SRP $28.98 2.40:1(16:9) Dolby Digital 5.1 WARNER BROS
 

Jodie Foster and her fiance, are innocently walking their dog in Central park one night when they're set upon by scum, and brutally beaten. Her fiance succumbs to the trauma and dies.  Foster playing the role of "Erica Bain" has a hard time just getting by at first, but quickly finds some form of temporary escape from her pain though wreaking vengeance on evil-doers within the city, as well as returning to her job as a radio talk show host.  Decent acting, slick cinematography, and apt direction, help allow the film, for the most part, to rise above what it actually is, an exploitation film. But, whereas the very similar in theme "DEATH WISH" had one of the worst directors ever behind it, Michael Winner, "THE BRAVE ONE" has Neil Jordan! Jordan, almost single-handedly makes the audience believe it's watching art. He's great at working with subtext, as he's done so brilliantly before with the brilliant "THE CRYING GAME" and "MICHAEL COLLINS," and watching the conflict of Foster's character embracing the adrenaline rush she's getting from her increasingly violent encounters and the sober reality that she's "seeking" these confrontations, makes for great tension.  Unfortunately, Foster proves she's one of the most "over-rated" actresses working and it's hard to believe her character could ever have a career as a radio host, having less personality and charisma than a lamppost. While the script plays with some interesting ideas, it's only on the periphery and never daring enough to raise hard questions. Every violent encounter she faces is all too black and white, and things are just too convenient, so that one never has to question whether Erica could've or should've made any other choices than the ones she chooses.  Had Jordan directed Charles Bronson in "DEATH WISH," there's no doubt that would've been a superior film, as it at least didn't pretend to be anything more than what it was. Bronson's character was simple and resolute, and plainly enjoying his vengeance, purely for the sake of vengeance, rather than taking part in an arty "morality" tale, devoid of humanity. When a great actor like Terrence Howard ends up doing what his character does in the climax of the film, all concept of reality has been thrown out the window and it's excruciating to watch.

WARNER BROS. is releasing "THE BRAVE ONE" on dvd, Hd-dvd combo(with dvd on alternate side)and blu-ray.

The dvd and blu-ray offer the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio(16:9 enhanced for dvd) and 1080p/VC-1 for the blu-ray.  Both the dvd and blu-ray offer stunning detail. Director Neil Jordan's highly stylized imagery is devoid of the gritty atmosphere a film with this subject matter typically relies upon, so grain is minimal. Colors are solid although they tend to appear more subdued on dvd than the blu-ray version, wherein they veer towards a neon-like bluish/green tint in many scenes. The deep blacks and grays found on the dvd provide spectacular detail for dvd, but it pales in comparison to what's achieved in the blu-ray and hd-dvd format.  There are only a few scarce moments on the identical looking high-def formats wherein the image doesn't have the "jump off the screen" type of depth, and that's pretty impressive for a film so slick and stylized as Jordan has made "THE BRAVE ONE" to be.

WARNER BROS. has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the dvd and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix for the blu-ray and hd-dvd.  The soundmix to "THE BRAVE ONE" relies on subtlety, making the moments of violence and confrontation deliver more impact due to sudden discrete effects and bass. Both mixes walk the delicate line between being effective and overpowering. Narration, music and subtle ambient effects are perfectly balanced on the dvd, with the ever-lurking bass, slowly increasing in its intensity for great dramatic impact as Erica's actions take on more ominous overtones.  The dvd offers terrific dynamic range and the mix is perfectly balanced throughout. While still not an "aggressive" mix, as in "MATRIX," it still delivers effectively.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix of the blu-ray offers notably deeper bass and improved fidelity, allowing the softer nuances to have more presence. Both are great mixes, but Dolby TrueHD has clear advantages as demonstrated here. While we noticed better dynamic range on the hd-dvd, we have to note that our PS3 still doesn't have the firmware update(no thanks to SONY!!!)to offer Dolby TrueHD in authentic form, and our Toshiba HD-XA2, does offer this high-bit encoding ability, so it's likely due to this fact that hd-dvd sounded better.

WARNER BROS. has provided the same featurettes on both formats, including a featurette and deleted scenes(none of which enhance the plot) The extras are only available in standard resolution on both formats.