“You’re the first friend I ever had,” grins flamboyant mercenary Burt Lancaster to lean, laconic Gary Cooper with a smile that suggests that he may be the last. They’re a pair of Americans abroad looking to cash in on the Mexican revolution by selling their services to the highest bidder in this energetically cynical south-of-the-border Western. They meet cute, conning, robbing, and out-witting one another in a bit of one-upmanship that bonds the men in mutual admiration, and then team up to escort a royal convoy through revolutionary country. When they discover its secret stash of gold bullion, they revert to their old way, selling out anyone it takes to get the treasure for themselves, even each other. Played out as a seat-of-the-pants con game of shifting alliances and double crosses, this is a cheerfully ruthless tale that served as a veritable blueprint for the Italian spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s. Director Robert Aldrich has a real flair for turning rogues and opportunists into deviously riveting characters, and went on to work the same sort of magic on Kiss Me Deadly and The Dirty Dozen. The cast of character actors features Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, and Jack Elam in the gang, George Macready as Emperor Maximilian, and Henry Brandon as the martinet German captain Danette.

Studio: MGM
Year: 2005
Release Date: June 5, 2011
Run time: 94 minutes
Rating: NR

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD
Region: A

You know there’s something not quite right with a movie when it boasts actors the calibre of John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, James Woods, and Vince Vaughan….yet the most memorable roles are those by ex-wrestler The Rock and singer Andre-3000. Unfortunately, despite its cast, ‘Be Cool’ ends up being much less than the some of its parts.

In this sort-of-sequel to ‘Get Shorty’, we follow Chili Palmer moving out of the movie business and into the music industry. What follows is a convoluted plot involving Russian mobsters, a widowed record company owner, try-hard gangstas, a promising young singer, gay bodyguards, and a Vanilla Ice-like white boy who acts black.

Many people bag the performances of the main cast, especailly Travolta and Thurman. It’s true they do phone in their efforts for this movie, but the script doesn’t really give them alot of material to work with. In fact, despite all the characters and confusion, the central story is quite simple and not really that interesting. It is mostly the side plots and minor characters, not the central players, that are more entertaining.

The bigger problem with this movie is that, for a comedy, it’s not really that funny. It relies very heavily on “irony” and in-jokes that too often fall flat. For example, Aerosmith singer Steve Tyler (in one of the most cringeworthy cameos ever seen) proclaims “I’m not one of those singers who appear in movies!”. Geddit??? He’s a singer, and he’s appearing in a movie, claiming he doesn’t appear in movies. Yep, this is the sort of thing you’re forced to suffer through in the name of “humour”.
Movie Quality: 7/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2:40:1 aspect ratio. Picture quality for the film is absolutely vibrant. There are plenty of colors seen through the film but also detail galore. Skin tones are natural, black levels are nice and deep. I didn’t notice any blemishes, artifacting or any problems with the film whatsoever. The film looks great on Blu-ray!
Print Quality: 9/10

The audio is presented in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. While the film is dialogue-driven, it’s also musically driven and from scenes with Linda Moon singing, to ambiance of hip-hop playing in Dabu and friend’s Humvee’s, Aerosmith playing live in concert to the Black Eyed Peas playing at club, music is what envelops the soundscape and utilizes the surround channels. There are action sequences with gun shots or an aluminum bat coming into play and other ambiance as Chili and Edie going to a Lakers games but the film will be recognized for its music soundtrack and there is plenty of music being played throughout the film.
Print Quality: 9/10

Special Features

  • Be Cool, Very Cool Making-Of Documentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Music Video” The Rock as Elliot Wilhelm, “You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man”
  • John and Uma’s Dance Sequence
  • Close Up: The Rock
  • Close Up: Andre 3000
  • Close Up: Cedric the Entertainer
  • Close Up: Christina Milian
  • Theatrical Trailer

Special Features: 7/10

Final Thoughts

Not the same snap and fizz the first one, “Get Shorty”, had but still well worth a look. The casting is great but the story about the record industry although adequate doesn’t seem as edgy and believable. I don’t know if that is because Gene Hackman was more believable or the story was better in the first. Maybe this felt to much like the first ones overall premise of wiseguys being outdone by Chili Palmer, played by John Travolta again. Certainly worth seeing but I would recommend renting before buying.
Overall Rating: 8/10