Blu-ray Tuesday: ‘Lone Survivor’ and ‘RoboCop’ – Rent, Buy or Skip?

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It’s Blu-ray Tuesday and we have two big films on store shelves: “RoboCop” and “Lone Survivor.”

Below are the disc details and our reviews.

304034c1_2dLone Survivor” | 121 min. | Rated R | Director: Peter Berg | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana

Rating: 2.5/4
Overall: Rent

From news stories and the spoiling title, audiences may already know what the inevitable ending of “Lone Survivor” will be, but does that change how gripping and remarkable the journey is?

Based on the harrowing true story and novel of the same name by Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the film recounts a failed 2005 mission where four SEALs (Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster) were deployed to the Afghan mountains as a surveillance team for “Operation Red Wings,” a mission to take out Taliban commander Ahmad Shah (Yousuf Azami) plus his crew.
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Back in January, many critics compared “Lone Survivor” to the likes of 1998’s “Saving Private Ryan.” This is not a fair comparison. While  the film is far better than the majority of Mark Wahlberg’s recent works, it doesn’t come without its flaws and it’s certainly not on the same level as Steven Spielberg’s war epic.

After its cliché opening in establishing the camaraderie among these SEALs during training, the film packs the action when the SEALs’ mission is compromised. Director Peter Berg (“The Kingdom”) provides some of the most well-shot and choreographed battle sequences in quite some time, especially one where the SEALs have to decide whether to be shot and killed or take their chances surviving by jumping and rolling down the mountain’s side.

While “Lone Survivor” is often cheesy (with typical, bad war dialogue) and manipulative, it’s an intense, brutal journey that may cause you to cringe, tear up and walk away satisfied.

The Blu-ray Combo Pack will include:

  • DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/DVS2 Dolby Digital 2.0 English; DTS Digital Surround 5.1 Spanish Audio
  • English SDH and Spanish Subtitles
  • Will of the Warrior: An in-depth look at Marcus Luttrell, the real-life Navy SEAL who received the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions in Operation Red Wings.
  • Recreating the Firefight: Reveals how Lone Survivor’s action-packed stunts were choreographed and shot. This featurette includes interviews with Director Peter Berg, Actors Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch and stunt coordinator and 2nd unit director Kevin Scott.
  • Learning the Basics: Watch as Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch and Ben Foster go through rigorous SEAL training in weapons handling, communication/patrolling and simulated attack drills. Along with Marcus Luttrell, Peter Berg enlisted the help of active Navy SEALS to help the actors accurately portray the fallen soldiers of Operation Red Wings.
  • The Pashtun Code of Life: Learn why Marcus Luttrell’s rescuer, Mohammad Gulab, risked his life and the lives of everyone in his village in order to save Marcus.
  • Bringing the Story to Light: Marcus Luttrell’s story of survival under extremely dire circumstances is an inspiration to anyone who hears it. Director, producer and writer Peter Berg, Producer Sarah Aubrey, and the four lead actors (Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch and Ben Foster) reveal their passion for the project and why it was so important to them to tell this story.
  • The Fallen Heroes of Operation Red Wings: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch profile the real-life heroes who inspired their characters: Marcus Luttrell, Michael Murphy, Daniel Dietz and Matthew Axelson. Family members provide intimate accounts of what these brave men were like in their private lives, as well as perspective on their decisions to join the military and make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Also included is a tribute to the team of Operation Red Wings, using personal photos.

The single disc DVD will include:

  • Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish Audio
  • English SDH, Spanish Subtitles
  • Bringing the Story to Light
  • The Fallen Heroes of Operation Red Wings

robocopblurayRoboCop” | 117 min. | Rated R | Director: José Padilha | Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael KeatonAbbie CornishJackie Earle Haley, Michael K. WilliamsJay Baruchel and Samuel L. Jackson

Rating: 3/4
Overall: Rent

In 1987, “RoboCop,” starring Peter Weller as the titular hero, was more than just your average B-movie. Director Paul Verhoeven (“Total Recall”) put his special touch of violence and social satire, and made a movie that rose above its simple story and characters. Now, “RoboCop” has been given a new spin, with a story that pays proper tribute to the beloved original and manages to be fresh and new on its own.

Set in 2028 Detroit, Joel Kinnaman (“The Killing”) dons the robotic armor and plays police officer Alex Murphy. When Murphy – a loving husband and father – is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp CEO, Raymond Sellars (a devilishly good Michael Keaton), sees an opportunity to create a robotic cop with a human conscience after an attempt to mass-produce mechanized law enforcement goes astray.

It is too few and far between that Hollywood produces a solid rebooted franchise. More often than not re-imaginings become carbon copies of the original with no sense of real purpose, or they steer so far off in the wrong direction that they wind up getting lost in oblivion, such as 2010’s “The Nightmare on Elm Street,” a repulsive throwback to Robert Englund and Johnny Depp’s original 1984 slasher flick.

Luckily, Hollywood newbie , director José Padilha (“Elite Squad”), makes this retooled “RoboCop” cool and accessible to non-fans while also respecting the source material. While it may not have the original’s grittiness, wit and sharp social satire, it is certain to make “RoboCop” relevant and popular again. It takes a whole new audience to the streets of Detroit, thereby granting a new lease on life for Weller’s decades-old creation.

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Filling in the heavy metal boots of Weller is Kinnaman, who pulls off a difficult job of making audiences care for a guy who is mostly made of hardware and plates. But what really makes his RoboCop stand out is the emotion that he brings to the character. For someone who is supposed to be serious and all about his job, Kinnaman gives the iconic role a human touch. Even his voice, compared to the original, feels organic. This addition makes it easier for audiences to sympathize with RoboCop and ride along through his sufferings and emotional spirals.

In one remarkable and poignant scene, filmgoers get to see what Murphy looks like without all his mechanical limbs, as displayed by Dr. Dennett Norton (a moving Gary Oldman), the scientist who built RoboCop for OmniCorp. Murphy’s sense of bewilderment and Norton’s comprehension may produce a few tears among theater occupants. What follows is more affecting scenes, as the audience begins to understand Murphy’s turmoil.

But the movie doesn’t come without all its stunning visuals and scenes of action. Audiences will get a kick out of the training sequences and grand finale. It will hold your attention until the end credits roll.

“RoboCop” was released at a time of the year when studios tend to release misfires; however, the film was a surprising feat. The blockbuster is far from being deemed a disaster-piece and is an enjoyable experience that is worth “more than a dollar.”

The Blu-ray Combo Pack will include:

  • 1080p, 2.35:1 Video
  • DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, DTS 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 French Audio
  • English SDH, Spanish, and French Subtitles
  • Deleted Scenes
  • OmniCorp Product Announcement
  • Robocop: Engineered for the 21st Century
  • The Illusion of Free Will: A New Vision
  • To Serve and Protect: Robocop’s Weapons
  • The Robocop Suit: Form and Function

The single disc DVD will include:

  • Anamorphic 2.35:1 Video
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 2.0 Spanish and French Audio
  • English SDH, Spanish, and French Subtitles

Other available Blu-rays:

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.