Directed by Alex De la Iglesia
Produced by Juanma Pagazautundua
Written by Alex De la Iglesia & Jorgue Guerricaechevarria
Director of Photograpy Flavio Labiano
Music by Roque Banos
Cast: Sancho Gracia, Angel De Andres Lopez, Carmen Maura, Eusebio Poncela, Luis Castro, Manuel Tallaf?, Enrique Martinez & Eduardo Gomez
2002/124 mins/Color/5.1 Dolby Digitial
2.35:1/Spanish/Spain/PAL Region 2
Review from the Sogepaq DVD
For years, Laura (the ever charming Carmen Maura) has hidden to her son the identity of his father. One day, while opening some boxes young Carlos (Luis Castro) finds a picture of his father... in a cowboy suit! Thanks to his grandmother, he learns that his father used to be a stunt double in Western productions filmed in Spain. His grandfather was also in this business but something terrible happened...
Without his mother knowning about it, on a trip in the outskirt of Madrid, young Carlos seeks the truth and decides to go to Almeria.... the desert town his father and grandfather used to work. What he finds there is also called "Texas Hollywood", a dusty town where Julian (Sancho Gracia as the grandfather) and other clowns are "recreating" some action scenes from old Westerns... to the pleasure of a few tourists who more then anything seem to have lost themselves in this desert!
Along with Carlos, we soon discover that greats like Sergio Leone and John Sturges supposedly directed some of their films in Texas Hollywood. Julian was the stunt double and good friend of Clint Eastwood. But now he and his friends are nothing more then washed out, old and living in a dream of the past without any responsabilities or future...
When Laura finds out where her son has gone to, she must face the ghost of her past oncee and for all. In doing so she also set to destroy Almeria and build a place for tourists. Julian decides to take matters in his own hands... 800 bullets is what he has to protect what he loves.
Make no mistake about it, while the film might at first seem like a spaghetti western it isn't. De la Iglesia pays homage to this genre but 800 BALAS is more of the typical humour we've come to expect, and love, from the director of such great films like EL DIA DE LA BESTIA (DAY OF THE BEAST) and LA COMMUNIDAD. Still there's some very western-ish camera shots, plenty of actions, nudity, loads of laugh and a great performance by the cast. Highly recommended.
Like most of the director's film to one has yet to get any NTSC Region 1 release so this is the edition to get. Sogepaq have done a great job on the transfer, the film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the image is flawless. The colors are rich, well saturated and vibrants. There is no noise, compression, artifacts or shadows of any form. The 5.1 Dolby Digital Spanish track is loud and clear and really comes alive during the action sequences. It is nicely mixed and well balanced making good use of the 5.1 directional fx. We get easy to read and well translated English removable subtitles. There's also a commentary track by Alex De la Iglesia but only in Spanish... and with a 5.1 DD mix?!
There's plenty of extras like the trailer, teaser trailer, tv spots and international promos for the Cannes festival, MIFED and the one taking place in Milan. 'Como Se Rodo' is a documentary taking us behind-the-scenes on the film, the shooting, storyboards, interview with the director and most of the principal cast, the history of the film and more. 'Informativo' features a report woman talking about?! ... i have no idea since its in Spanish only but only about 2 minutes long. 'Escenas Eliminadas' features 6 deleted scenes. 'Final Alternativo' is an alternate ending which i'm glad they cut out of the final version. In 'El Museo Del Oeste' we see a little more of the real life museum that is in the film. There's a storyboards to film comparaison of the beginning of the film in 'Storyboards'. In 'Comose hizoel DVD' we get a quick look at how the menus for the DVD were created. There's some stills gallery featuring some behind-the-scenes photos but there aren't that many. 'Disenos; is a look at some of the artwork used for the film and finally we get some filmographies for the cast and director. Please take note that all the extras are in Spanish only and without any subs.
The menus are nicely designed, features animation and music. They have a very western cartoonish feel which I really like. We get a 4 pages booklet and a catalogue of other films released by Sogepaq. The film is separated in 18 chapters and comes in a keep case.
This Film Features:
Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2004. ©
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