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MPAA Rated: R (For Strong Crude Sexual Dialogue and Perverse Language)
Running Time: 103 minutes
Starring: Martin Lawrence
Directed by: David Rayner
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Audio Commentary with Director David Rayner, Producer Michael Hubbard and Executive Producer Robert Lawrence, Deleted Scene, Backstage Pass: The Making Of "RunTelDat", Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (14 Scenes)
Released: January 7th, 2003
Let's face it: as well known as Martin Lawrence is for his comedy and his comedic roles, he's just as infamous for what has happened to him in the public eye. To his credit, Lawrence has always been an energetic and outspoken personality - be it for his views in his stand-up comedy, some lawsuits and some other crazy incidents which really make you wonder about the guy. Of course, most - if not all - of those controversies are long gone, so what else is there to do but look upon those incidents and just laugh now.
The root of "Martin Lawrence Live: RunTelDat" is what has happened to Lawrence during the past few years and for him to set the record straight himself, rather than all the rumors and various media coverage on him. It's a concert film and a pretty good one at that. Lawrence certainly has a load of energy, is forceful, is funny and shows what a knack he has as a stand-up performer. While I'm sure most of us are familiar with Lawrence through his films, he used to be rather avid of stand-up. So if you're not familiar with the man's roots, this film is a good - and certainly interesting - way to start.
Through the film Lawrence tackles his own life and in-between a host of other timely subjects. Be it from the coma he suffered from after working out, the crazy Ventura Blvd. incident or topics such as violence and kids, Lawrence seems to have a good handle on things. The concert film definitely shows a true side of Lawrence that many may not exactly be aware of, and that's what probably makes this so compelling. While I think the film is more hit than miss for the most part, and there are some somber moments, it does have some fine comedic moments. I also personally enjoyed the film's opening montage, which summarizes his career and recaps some of his infamous events in the past.
While I never got the feeling that Lawrence was holding back or lying or anything like that throughout his routine, I suppose I was expecting more from him. While I wouldn't exactly call this movie a love letter to Martin Lawrence's fans or a highly-romanticized version of his life, given how outrageous the man can be and what he has gone through, I felt that there were a few gaps here and there that were being left out of all the details. Of course, for all I know, this simply could have been the film's editing as if they only put in the most concise bit. Of course, that might not be the case at all. Anywho, "Martin Lawrence Live: RunTelDat" is a pretty intriguing, interesting and rather funny concert film that his fans - and maybe the casual Lawrence fan - should enjoy. It's not the best comedy concert film out there nor is it for everyone, but it certainly is far from the worst and has a lot of nice moments.
Being released in two versions (a widescreen and full screen one), this full screen version in the 1.33:1 aspect ratio looks pretty good The film, while cropped, does lose something here because of the size of the stage... it's as if there's something no all in focus, which I found annoying. The opening montage also doesn't look as well here, so if you can, go with the widescreen version. Other than that, things are good here. Color saturation and fleshtones look nice, detail is good and in all, everything looks well balanced. Still, dirt pieces and blemishes pop up here and there, the film is grainy and there is some shimmering. Despite all of that though and the cropping, the transfer remains strong.
The DVD features an English 5.1 Dolby Digital track that is quite nice. The acoustics of where Lawrence is performing is well-replicated on this track. Lawrence is clear and easy to hear, and there are some nice surrounds when it comes to the audience laughing, cheering and applausing. There is a very nice ambiance here that suits the movie well. Unfortuantely, since it's dialogue based the whole way through more or less, there's really not much else to say. This 5.1 mix certainly won't blow your speakers away or anything like that, but it fits the film nicely and should satisfy you. Also included is an English Dolby Surround track, English subtitles and English closed captions.
Believe it or not, the film gets some pretty nice treatment on DVD. There is an Audio Commentary with Director David Rayner, Producer Michael Hubbard and Executive Producer Robert Lawrence which is definitely worth a listen if you really enjoyed the movie. For those of you who think there isn't much to a concert film and doubt what input the filmmakers have, you'll be rather surprised with what this track offers. They give some nice background info as far as how Martin Lawrence developed his material, editing and getting the technical stuff just right as far as the cameramen and setting the stage. There is a load of interesting stories, enthusiasm and depth to this track as it gives a very interesting perspective as far as how what is a rather simple movie was put together. It's a lot harder than it looks! Very well done.
There is a five minute (yes, exactly five minutes!) Deleted Scene entitled "Boxing." Here, Lawrence talks about his favorite sport and has some fun stuff to say on it. Sadly though, it's presented in non-anamorphic widescreen and English Dolby Surround. There is also the nifty, if somewhat promotional Backstage Pass: The Making Of "RunTelDat". Martin Lawrence, director Rayner, producer Michael Hubbard and executive producer Robert Lawrence talk about making the movie, the importance of it and offer praise for Martin (except Martin himself). They offer some nice tidbits here... even if you hear some of the same stuff in the commentary. Clips from the movie and some footage of Lawrence performing in clubs is dispensed throughout. And while this featurette overlaps with the commentary a bit, it is still worth checking out. It lasts a little under fourteen minutes. Both of these video-based featurettes offer English subtitles - a Paramount DVD trademark.
Also included before the main menu is a trailer for the upcoming Paramount film "The Hunted" while on the special features menu there is the Theatrical Trailer in non-anamorphic widescreen and English Dolby Surround.
"Martin Lawrence Live: RunTelDat" is another nice showcase for Lawrence's stand-up talents. If you're interested in the actor and his input on what has happened to him, then this DVD is worth checking out. With very nice supplements, a strong 5.1 Dolby Digital mix and a very nice transfer, than this package is worth looking into.