High Resolution Blu-ray Cover art for Notorious
SRP $39.99 2.35:1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 FOX
 

"NOTORIOUS: COLLECTOR'S EDITION" is now available on blu-ray from FOX. There have been so many bio-pics on film, and most have been awful. One would hope that any bio-pic would offer a fresh, new perspective on its subject, revealing facts otherwise not known, or at least showing a side that is intriguing in some manner.  Unfortunately, while "NOTORIOUS" has some energetic moments, mostly built around staged concert scenes, there is nothing at all new offered here about the rapper known as "Biggie Smalls," or even fresh in its style of filmmaking. 
 
As played out in the script here, the strong personality of Christopher Smalls, serves as the impetus for him to try finding his own identity by dealing drugs. This ends up in him being arrested, and going to jail. However, again, as played out here, jail seems to be the perfect setting, with time on Small's hands, for him to try writing rap lyrics. Of course, soon enough his writing impresses Sean Puffy Combs, a quickly rising recording artist and producer. Soon after Smalls is released, he records and releases an album, which becomes a huge success and marks him as the newest, rap star, and the first big rap star from the East Coast, something annoying to the biggest rap star of the West Coast, Tupac Shakur. Although these two actually seem quite friendly at the beginning, their competitive nature takes over, and, well...most suspect the eventual killings of both, only months apart from one another, are linked to their rivalry.  While the actors are decent, they can't rise above the mediocre, paint-by-numbers script, and the voice-over narration, featuring Biggie from the grave, just doesn't work and feels adds further silliness to the film.
 
The only thoroughly engaging scenes in the film, revolve around the newly staged concert footage, so maybe Director George Tillman Jr. should be making mockumentaries?  
 
FOX has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray release.  Color levels are solid, although there are various scenes wherein they appear to be intentionally desaturated. Blacks are inky, allowing for consistently impressive depth in even the darkest scenes. It's a well-polished image, with very few scenes looking flat.
 
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix.  As with the film itself, the concert scenes are where the mix is most engaging. Bass, discrete and music effects are perfectly balanced with vocals ringing through clearly. The dynamic range is phenomenal during these scenes. However, the majority of the film's mix is unremarkable, offering some minor ambient effects, but never sounding as lively as one would hope for within its urban and often "fast-paced" environment.
 
FOX has included both the theatrical and director's cut, running only a few minutes longer and comprised mostly of extended concert footage. 
 
A lot of extras are offered, including two commentaries. One features the director, writers and editor, offering the majority of discussion around the actual production itself. The 2nd commentary features Biggie's real mother, Voletta Walace(an actual producer on the film, as well as other producers. Their commentary, while questionable in its candor at times, is at least engaging, and much more than the 1st commentary proves to be.
 
Various featurettes, in either 1080p or 1080i, are included. They look at the training session for endured by some cast, as well as auditions, preparation for concert filming and more.
 
A deleted scenes option offers about 12 minutes of footage, none of it adding to the film's betterment.