Hustle & Flow (Blu-Ray & HD DVD)

Blu-Ray & HD DVD Covered In Review

Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
I really liked the cover of this HD DVD. The cover is a very artistic collection of shots of the main stars, with a symmetric set-up. It ties in the feel of the film, which deals with hustling and making it in the Southern hip-hop game. The menu again was stylish and well done. My only issue with the menu is that the background music, taken from the film, did get a bit repetitive as I worked my way through the options.

Features: 8/10
Hustle and Flow has quite a few extras that are noteworthy. The audio commentary was good, and Craig Brewer goes into good detail about the music, his ideas, and his influences. There is also a good short entitled “Behind the Hustle” that goes into the making of the film. There are several other bits and pieces that really go into detail on the film, and the difficulty in getting it made. There are also a few extended scenes, as well as the audition of Paula Jai Parker, who was great as Lexus, one of DJay’s (Terrance Howard) prostitutes/strippers. There is also a somewhat country version of “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp,” one of the songs from the film.

The Movie: 8/10
I really thought this was a good film. Terrence Howard, and the rest of the cast really did an amazing job of transporting me to a place where I have never been. The performances were really great, and really gritty and believable. Who would have thought that the heavy guy from Kangaroo Jack (Anthony Anderson) and the skinny guy from the New Guy (DJ Qualls) would be able to pull off such intriguing roles? Add to this Taryn Manning from Britney Spear’s train wreck Crossroads, who play a prostitute, and you have what looks on paper to be a potential Razzy award winner, but this crew really delivers.

The story revolves around DJay, played by Terrance Howard. DJay is a hustler in Memphis who sells weed and pimps out few prostitutes to earn him a living. He works out of an old model car with expensive looking rims, but a mismatched paint job and no air conditioning. DJay is not living the “bling” lifestyle, even though he dreams of making it, just like Skinny Black (Ludacris), a Memphis rapper who had made it big.

DJay sees his chance of making it big by being invited to a Fourth of July party at a local bar, where his friend has agreed to get him in, so that he can sell quality weed to Skinny Black and his private party. DJay hooks up with a friend from back in school, Key (Anthony Anderson) who now is a sound technician. DJay, known back in school for his lyrical abilities, lays down several tracks in the small house that he calls home, with the help of his entire crew, with the hope that he can present the demo tape to Skinny Black, who will help him make it big.

The film takes a different view on the lifestyle of hustling and pimping than we get to see from the rap videos of today. It presents a gritty, unflattering view of how life can be in the South. While the story of a guy dreaming of making it big and getting out seems a bit cliché, it really works in this film. Again, I really thought the movie was well done, and the performances were solid.

Video & Audio: 8/10
I initially had an issue with the fact that the film was a bit grainy, but then it became obvious that it was planned. It really adds to the flavor of the film – the gritty, hot, sweaty feel of Memphis. I know that this is a high definition movie, and it took me a bit, but I think it added to the experience of the movie.

The audio was crisp and really seemed to work with the film. I guess I was expecting a bit more bass, especially when the crew was recording the tracks in the make shift studio, but overall it was quite good.

Value: 8/10
I thought this was a great film, and there were quite a few extras to keep you coming back for more. This was a good film to add to the collection, and I highly recommend buying the Hustle and Flow HD DVD or Blu-Ray disc.

Overall Score 8/10