F. Gary Gray’s follow up to Barry Sonnenfeld’s Get Shorty, Be Cool is an adaptation of yet another Elmore Leonard novel. Continuing the story of Chili Palmer, Gray’s film lacks much of the black humor and slick charm of the first film but still manages a few laughs.

Be CoolPicking up just after where Get Shorty left off, Chili Palmer (John Travolta) finds himself tiring of the movie business and the Hollywood machine. He decides to try his hand at the music business. In doing so, he becomes entangled with the Russian mob, rapper gangsters, and greedy promoters all out to get him. Always confident, Chili believes that has the situation under control, even though he seems to have a gun pointed at his head at every turn.

Anyway, as luck would have it, a music industry friend of Palmer’s is assassinated by Russian mobsters while the two men are at lunch. Palmer visits the man’s widow Edie (Uma Thurman). In the course of consoling the not-so-grieving widow, he offers himself up as her new business partner at her record label, bringing along a singer named Linda Moon (Christina Milian) he recently “liberated” from the control of her wannabe gangsta manager, Raji (Vince Vaughn). Edie reluctantly agrees to the proposal. Now, Chili must deal with Raji, and his gay, aspiring actor bodyguard (The Rock), a rival music producer (Harvey Keitel), and Cedric the Entertainer’s army of buff rappers out to recoup $300,000 owed him by Edie’s label.

Travolta oozes attitude, but he’s almost too cool to seem real. There’s no sense of danger; Chili is so cool, we’re sure he’ll find a way out of every situation.  The best thing about Be Cool is a trio of supporting performers. Singer/actress Christina Milian impresses with both her vocals and her acting as Linda Moon. She has a real likeability that occasionally balances out Travolta’s unbelievability. Cedric the Entertainer successfully mixes comedy with his place as a menace to society. And The Rock is simply hilarious as a gay, burly bodyguard.

There’s no denying that Be Cool isn’t nearly as tight or funny as its predecessor, but the film has worthy moments. Director Gray makes use of his music video associations, via cameos (RZA, Fred Durst), and his good sport acquaintance Seth Green, who appears as a music video director, not incidentally, Gray’s old gig. Besides the cameos—and I don’t think I’d ever thought I’d write this—Be Cool is worth picking up in the Blu-ray bargain bin just to see The Rock’s performance.

Presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio, and with vibrant color, this is a very solid transfer.. A nice amount of detail is supported by a glossy look that still retains enough filmic grain to give it depth. Be Cool is a flashy Hollywood movie that depends on a music-video look throughout, and it looks very good in HD.

The English DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio delivers enough thumping bass to make the film come to life during the gunshots and explosions. There are Spanish Dolby 2.0 Surround and French DTS 5.1 audio options, with subtitles in English SDH, French, and Spanish.

Be Cool on Blu-ray brings same special features as the DVD release. They’re pretty much a straight port, as the only thing being improved to high definition is the trailer.

  • Be Cool, Very Cool (SD): Documentary style look behind the scenes and the making of the movie.
  • Deleted Scenes (SD): 14 deleted scenes in all.
  • Gag Reel (SD): A quick gag reel.
  • Music Video (SD): ‘You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man’ by Elliot Wilhelm.
  • Close Up (SD): A set of five featurettes that take a close up look at Travolta and Thurman (Dance Partners), The Rock, Andre 3000, Cedric the Entertainer, Christina Milian.
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD): For ‘Be Cool’