SRP $14.99 1.85:1(16:9) DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 PARAMOUNT

Why this one wasn't released ahead of some of the mediocre titles from PARAMOUNT until now is mystifying. "BLUE CHIPS" is one of those rare dramas around sports. One doesn't have to know basketball to appreciate the great performances and compelling drama at hand here. Director William Friedkin is one of those guys who either hits(Exorcist, French Connection) or misses(Cruising, rampage)but when he's good, he's great. "BLUE CHIPS" is great entertainment.

Nolte plays a coach who is willing to promise "anything" to prospective ball players to get them on his team to win! But, he actually has a moral crisis and there are some important lessons learned as the story plays out. Most surprising is a fine performance from Shaquille O'Neal! It almost makes up for his genie film!

PARAMOUNT has presented a fine transfer. The 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced)image is excellent, offering fine detail throughout. There's better contrast here than on the laserdisc version and darker scenes offer great clarity. Fleshtones appear natural throughout. It's often a vibrant looking transfer, especially during game sequences.

PARAMOUNT has presented a DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 mix. While not overly aggressive, there are plenty of surround moments during the game sequences. Most of the film rear effects are restrained. The front soundstage, particularly during the opening coaching sequence, is active and impressive. Dialogue is alweays intelligible and free from distortion.