R Dir: John McNaughton | Kino Video | 1h 37min
Plot: What’s it about?
In Mad Dog and Glory, Robert De Niro plays a shy, soft-spoken Chicago detective named Wayne “Mad Dog” Dobie. He steps into a convenience store one night and inadvertently saves the life of a local gangster, Frank Milo (Bill Murray). Frank then decides to do something in return and he offers Glory (Uma Thurman) for one week as sort of a thank you gift. She’s a bartender and just has a way about her. The film keeps us a bit unsure of her motives exactly, but it takes Wayne a while to warm up to the idea. Glory insist he go along with it as Frank is not one to take no for an answer. Before long, Wayne and Glory find themselves falling in love with each other, and therein lies the trouble. When Frank learns of this, he doesn’t take it very well and even offers Wayne with ultimatums of which he declines. Things escalate rather quickly to where the two men eventually decide to duke it out on a street corner. There are a lot of smaller plot moments, such as Wayne’s lady friend played by Kathy Baker. When the man living with her is abusive, Wayne steps in, but it turns out the man is a cop as well, working on a case nearby. It’s hard to put the film in a specific category as it has moments of comedy, drama and a wee bit of suspense.
I had seen Mad Dog some years ago, but seeing it again for this review, it all seemed very fresh to me. In short: I remembered very little of the film. It’s a strange feeling, but as I found myself enjoying the film as I watched it, when it ended it seemed to all but evaporate from my memory. Really, it’s not just a pretty thin, but ultimately, very silly plot. De Niro and Murray share some scenes together and have good moments, but nothing really adds up to much. Uma Thurman is as lovely as ever, but it’s hard to figure her character out. Because of that, we’re unsure if we should care about her or not. I did like that De Niro plays against type and gives a much understated performance. It really shows what a great actor he is. He does open up to Frank in a few scenes and this gives some much needed character insight. Still, I just couldn’t help but think the whole thing is much ado about nothing.
At around 90 some odd minutes, the film knows not to overstay its welcome. I enjoyed some of the supporting characters as well, played by David Caruso and Mike Starr. It’s one of those films you will probably enjoy while you’re watching it, but it doesn’t resonate the way I wish it would. I do still feel it’s worth a viewing at some point, but it’s just too slight to be a true winner.
Video: How’s it look?
We get an AVC encoded 1.85:1 transfer that suits the film well enough. This isn’t a particularly flashy film, but the transfer does well enough for the source material. The print seemed fine overall and details strong. The big city setting also lends itself to some nice visuals from time to time. While it didn’t blow me away, the transfer worked well enough that fans of the film should be pleased.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS 2.0 HD track is ok, but sometimes the dialogue could’ve been sharper. The clarity is good enough that it’s never too problematic, but it’s just not the best around. There are some action moments where things liven up a bit. Ultimately this track works ok, but I just feel it could’ve been better.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Though the case just mentions Director John McNaughton, he is actually joined by Steven Jones who is one of the film’s producers. Sampling the track, it offered decent insight, but a few too many silent gaps.
- Making Of… – A very brief look at the making of the film that’s all too brief to offer much insight.
- Theatrical Trailers
- Interviews – Three are included, but these are very brief.
- Bill Murray, Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese – This features Murray, De Niro and producer Martin Scorsese. It too is much too brief to offer anything memorable.
- Uma Thurman – This is literally a 12 second clip featuring Uma Thurman. Why it wasn’t just combined with the others is beyond me.
- John McNaughton – McNaughton shares some more brief thoughts. His comments are repeated from the earlier interview segment, making this fairly useless.
The Bottom Line
Mad Dog and Glory is such a mixed bag of a film that I can’t say skip it nor can I flat out recommend. It. A single viewing wouldn’t hurt, but just beware that the film’s plot is rather silly when you think about it, making the film feel a bit too slight. Take that for what it is. The Blu-Ray disc is passable, but the supplements are a bit too thin.