DOBERMANN dvd review

Russia NTSC Region-free DVD

Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1

DD 5.1 French and DD 5.1 Russian (dub)

Subtitles: English









Is anyone here in denial that their “guilty pleasure” movies may actually be their favorite movies of all time? I like some movies which may be considered bad or not so critically acclaimed, but no matter how much I think that I like my more respectable films, I can’t stop thinking about or watching my guilty pleasure movies. Does anyone ever come home, stare at your video collection, try to figure out which movie to watch, and all that you can think of is your guilty pleasure movie that you may have watched a couple weeks ago? I feel bad that guilty pleasure films are more like “appetizers” – just something to watch until you figure out the “real film” you want to watch.  While trying to frustratingly decide which film to watch or which film is due to watch according to the rotation, I always go back to my guilty pleasures. No matter how many times I watch them – such as Army of Darkness, Point Break, 300, Return of the Jedi, Temple of Doom, Chasing Amy, DeNiro’s The Fan, The Rock, Knocked Up, or Roberto Benigni’s Johnny Stecchino. I never really thought of these films so much. If someone talks about them, I would just refer them to as “entertaining”, but in actuality, they are better than the films I consider the best films ever. No matter how much you tell yourself that a film may be “mixed reviewed, having no substance, having no story,” you really can’t acknowledge those facts when it comes to a guilty pleasure film.

DOBERMANN is probably my favorite guilty pleasure film from France. I think there are tons of French films which are better – such as Amelie, Jean de Florette/Manon of the Spring, Camille Claudel, Queen Margot, French Cancan, L’Appartement, La Femme Nikita, Belle De Jour, Boudu Saved From Drowning – but they need your attention and one is not always in the mood for them. I am always in the mood for DOBERMANN.

DOBERMANN is nothing more than a live-action, ultra-violent anime cartoon. It’s just a cops-versus-criminals action movie. There isn’t any character development and there isn’t much story, but that’s not what the film is about. It’s not trying to be something it’s not – it’s just a cartoon with some extremely entertaining characters and amazingly filmed action, whether it be cliched or not. I don’t even know if the director is trying to spoof this genre of film. It doesn’t matter, because it’s just so entertaining. Jan Kounen is a such a great creative director. I think he’s France’s second most creative, eye candy-type director after Jean-Pierre Jeunet. If you love Vincent Cassell, Monica Bellucci,  Tcheky Karyo, and Romain Duris, then you have to see them in this film!

DOBERMANN came out in 1997 and has been entertaining for as long as I’ve seen it. It’s not dated, and in fact, it’s a lot better than recent action movies which rely heavily on CGI, as it is currently known to hurt most new action movies. People want to see action movies with real sets and less CGI. That’s the thing nowadays. This movie is not only one of the best action movies I’ve ever seen, it’s also the shortest. It’s clocked at 103 minutes, but if you like this type of ultra-violent film, then it feels like a 30 minute movie. One of these days I’m going to list movies in which the actual time of the film feels shorter. DOBERMANN moves along at such a fast pace and intensity that it ends too quickly. It doesn’t feel incomplete – it’s just such a fast, entertaining flick. I would love to see Vincent Cassell and Monica Bellucci team up again for a sequel with Jan Kounen for the future.

DOBERMANN is like France’s FAST & THE FURIOUS, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, THE PATRIOT, MATRIX RELOADED or A KNIGHT’S TALE in the sense that it’s the action movie that France likes to release on multiple DVD releases throughout the years and on different formats. In France, it’s had about three special edition DVD releases, It’s been released on French Sony UMD for the PSP, and released on French Blu-Ray (no English subtitles though). This film is like their “sampler” action movie. If you want to test a movie on some new home theater in France, DOBERMANN is that type of film. And finally, I can enjoy this movie with this new DVD release.

As I’ve collected DVDs and blu-rays for some time now, I always fantasize about finding that unreleased, awesome quality DVD in some other country. I still can’t believe that there is no anamorphic DVD or blu-ray version of THE ABYSS. I really feel that there must be one country in the world that has that anamorphic version. So, as I’ve traveled around the world and researched online, I’m surprised to find certain DVDs that have better quality than their native country DVDs.

This NTSC Region-Free DVD is the real deal. It’s not a bootleg – it’s an official DVD from the Ukrainian DVD company AMALGAMA that is distributed for the Russian folk that live in North America. If you ever go to Russian neighborhoods in USA, such as in Brooklyn for me, you will find legitimate NTSC Region-Free DVDs as plentiful as their PAL DVD counterparts.

This DVD just has the basics but the basics are pretty much perfect. And I just want to remind others of all the other poor DVD versions of DOBERMANN over the years:

1. Hong Kong/Taiwanese NTSC DVD: awful full screen video with bad English subtitles.

2. United Kingdom PAL DVD: worse than VHS video quality, awful sound, fair English titles that I could barely read.

3. old Russian PAL DVD: interlaced anamorphic video quality was fair, sound was great, but NO ENGLISH SUBTITLES.

4. French PAL DVDs: great quality video and audio, but NO ENGLISH SUBTITLES.

I’ve got to say that this new DVD of DOBERMANN looks the same as the French anamorphic DVD counterparts. The progressive anamorphic 2.35:1 video quality is pretty damn awesome! The colors pop, the darks in the movie seem fine, the video shines and is crisp. This DVD looks amazing after what I’ve seen over the years with this DVD.

The DVD has the original French audio in Dolby Digital 5.1. It’s a great mix for home theaters. Like I said before, this is a French DVD sampler movie. Wait till you play the ass-kicking shoot-outs in this film. The surround sounds and subwoofer get a good work-out! This DOBERMANN DVD is my new home theater audio sampler that I will use along with GLADIATOR, MATRIX RELOADED, and KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. There is also a Russian DD 5.1 dub which I didn’t listen to.

The English subtitles on the Hong Kong/Taiwan and UK DVDs were awful and I remember being pissed off with them, either due to hardly being able to see them and/or because they just sucked. All that has changed with the English subtitles on this DVD – The English subtitles are clear to see, grammatically correct, and are not an issue as on the previous poor quality DVDs. The reason that the English subtitles are so good on this DVD is because I translated and edited the English subtitles for this company.

The extra is only a letterboxed non-anamorphic trailer of the movie (non-subtitled).

Upon starting the DVD, you have the choice of a Russian menu or an English menu which is nice.

Finally, finally, finally! An awesome movie finally released on a great DVD! An impressive DVD mastering by DVD company AMALGAMA! This movie ain’t THE DEPARTED or HEAT – It’s not trying to be that type of film. DOBERMANN is basically one of the best live-action cartoon movies I have ever seen. If you are grossed out by extreme cartoonish violence, then don’t watch this film! If you like watching movies that glorifies brutality in a stylishly-filmed way, then this DVD is an easy buy!

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