"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
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"
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.