Hollywood remakes don't always fall short of the mark, but the new take on The Longest Yard doesn't approach the 1974 film or its enduringly popular inmates-vs.-guards football story. In fact, the best thing about the original movie - its unmistakable anti-establishment spirit - has been replaced by a fairly generic tale of payback that plays more like Animal House than Cool Hand Luke. The remake does have a few belly laughs here and there, and the big game is a treat for football fans. Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and the rest of the strong cast are fine - even rapper Nelly and former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin handle their substantial roles gracefully. But they can only do so much with a woefully inept script.
The well-crafted picture and sound are at their most impressive during the climactic on-field face-off. Director Peter Segal takes a page from the NFL Films playbook, mixing extreme close-ups with slow-motion footage to make the gridiron action seem simultaneously huge and intimate. Images remain rock-solid throughout, with sharpness and detail to burn (even if, at times, color can seem a little too pumped). And the explosive Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is so convincing, it'll have you wincing at each turf-thumping hit. Extras are forgettable, though, consisting of half an hour of documentary footage (divided into three featurettes), a few choice deleted scenes with director's commentary, the "Errtime" music video by Nelly, and a blooper real. [PG-13] English, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround; French, Dolby Surround; letterboxed (2.35:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer.
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