20th Century Fox | 1999 | 139 mins. | Rated R

With its kinetic style, powerful storyline and powerful social message, Fight Club isn’t a movie likely to be forgotten by those who see it. At a time when a majority of films fail to leave a lasting impact, Fight Club simply refuses to be ignored; demanding analysis. Based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk, directed by David Fincher (Zodiac), from a screenplay by Jim Uhls (Jumper), Fight Club has been described as a coming of age story, a romantic comedy, and a black comedy. Some viewers may see it as one or the other, while some may see the film as a mix of all of them. Whatever the case may be, one thing is certain: Fight Club will make you think.

Fight ClubThings begin innocently enough. Jack, our narrator (Edward Norton), has had insomnia for weeks, and finds a cure by attending support group meetings. He may not have testicular cancer or tuberculosis, but by pretending that he does, he can receive both free coffee and faux intimacy. The problems begin when jaded chain-smoker Marla (Helena Bonham Carter), also joins the various therapy sessions. Since she is a ‘faker’, he feels like a faker, and begins having insomnia again.

On a flight for business, Jack meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a soap salesman with a very different view of life from his own. Since Jack is in need of a place to live after his apartment is destroyed in an explosion, Tyler invites him to move in, and the two share a “dilapidated house in a toxic waste part of town.” One night, the two meet at a bar and get drunk together, after which Tyler picks a fight that seals their unbreakable bond. Out of this comes ‘Fight Club,’ a phenomena that attracts new people each week, but swears its members to secrecy. Jack continues his day job as an auto safety checker; anxiously awaiting each Saturday night, and the tremendous surge of power and energy he gets from participating in Fight Club.

Cool and persuasive, Tyler has little difficulty convincing lost, disaffected young men to use pain as a remedy to combat their anger and frustration at society. Before long, Tyler’s notoriety grows and Fight Club chapters begin to spring up across the country. Like a lot of things that grow very quickly, the activities of Fight Club, once carefully contained to controlled, secret indoor environments, begins to seep into the outside world. Members expose their aggressive behavior to the wider populace; with acts of violence and vandalism. Tyler’s followers begin turning up at his house/Fight Club looking to enlist in an army for Project Mayhem, the full extent of which is only gradually revealed.

Director David Fincher and screenwriter Jim Uhls did a great job of translating Chuck Palahniuk’s muscular prose to the screen; its thought provoking script and viscerally powerful images, were at times so disturbing I was forced to look away. While it could be argued that the final act meanders a bit and loses touch with any sense of reality, I have always felt that Fight Club represented the strongest performances of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton’s careers, up until that point. The film also features solid supporting performances from Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf and Jared Leto.

Fight Club is presented in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec, in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio. This contains a perfectly solid black level, which is important, since this is obviously such a dark film. The amount of film grain is perfect. Fox has cleaned up the film print, removing any noticeable scratches, dirt or other digital anomalies. Compared to any of the previous DVD transfers, the detail available on the Blu-ray is outstanding. You can clearly see the gashes and cuts on the faces of the members of Fight Club, and you can really see the slow degradation of Edward Norton’s character as he begins to fade away. Fleshtones appear accurate in the close-up shots, and I didn’t notice any use of DNR or edge enhancement. Fox has done a solid job with the video transfer of this popular catalog title.

The audio is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and it sounds stunning.  The music, dialogue, and sound effects get a great amount of rear channel usage throughout and contain a good amount of LFE, resulting in some loud thunderous bass. One great example of the 5.1 mix and its rear channel presence can be found when Edward Norton’s character is finding his power animal in his cave. You’ll hear the echoes from the cave, giving you the feeling you’re in there with him. When the penguin whispers “slide” you’ll hear it pan across the rear channels. Nearly every scene has the perfect environment effects and you’ll hear echoes of sound effects, crowds roaring, loud punches with a thunderous crunch and more, all of which are getting great use in the 5.1 soundscape. The audio mix is truly reference quality stuff

Fight Club comes with the following special features:

The features listed below are exclusive to the Blu-ray release, and use Bonus View, which requires the user to be using a “Profile 1.1” capable Blu-ray Disc Player.

  • A Hit In The Ear: Ren Klyce and the Sound Design of Fight Club” (HD)  It contains the following four scenes which you can remix with the help of this Oscar-winning Sound Designer who offers introductions as you remix the scenes. This also includes an introduction by sound designer Ren Klyce.
    • “Welcome to Fight Club”
    • Angel Face’s Beating
    • The Crash
    • Tyler’s Goodbye
    • Insomniac Mode: I Am Jack’s Search Index, Commentary Log, Topic Search: This lets you search the topics of the film in a very intense alphabetical order of words and then skip to those scenes mentioning that in the film. Also you’ll be able to activate a pop-up menu that will display real-time information about the topics being discussed in the 4 different Audio Commentaries included.
    • Flogging Fight Club (10 minutes – HD) A combination of excerpts from a series of lesser award shows. We get to watch Pitt and Norton work on their speeches, and see them afterward.

The following are DVD ports:

  • Behind the Scenes Vignettes: Production, Visual Effects, On Location
  • Audio Commentary by David Fincher
  • Audio Commentary by David Fincher, Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter
  • Audio Commentary by Chuck Palahniuk and Jim Uhls
  • Audio Commentary by Alex McDowell, Jeff Cronenweth, Michael Kaplan and Kevin Haug
  • Deleted Scenes and Alternate Scenes” includes:

Chloe and Rupert” (0:53 – SD)

Marla’s Pillow Talk” (0:35 – SD)

Copier Abuse” (3:15 – SD)

Tyler Quits Smoking” / “Jack Quits Work” (1:28 – SD)

Angel Face’s Beating” (3:14 – SD)

Walter” (1:39 – SD)

Tyler’s Goodbye” (1:55 – SD)

  • Trailers” includes:

Theatrical Teaser” (0:47 – SD)

Theatrical Trailer” (2:26 – SD) features 5.1 sound.

The Eight Rules of Fight Club” (0:46 – SD)

  • TV Spots
  • Public Service Announcements” include “Jack’s” (0:29 – SD) and “Tyler’s” (0:37 – SD).
  • Music Video” (3:32 – SD)
  • Internet Spots” are hosted by “Jack” (Edward Norton) and include:

I Know You” (0:33 – SD)

Deliver Me” (0:30 – SD)

Change Your Life” (0:25) – SD)

Football” (0:29 – SD)

Mona Lisa/Rel” (0:35 – SD)

  • Promotional Gallery
  • Art Gallery
  • Edward Norton Interview” is in text.

Overall, fans should be pleased with this package as well as the little bit of fun that David Fincher has added. You’ll understand what I’m talking about there when you get your hands on a copy come November 17th.

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