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Bullitt (SE)
DVD disk
Jun 9, 2005 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Bullitt (SE) order
Director:
Peter Yates

Actors:
Steve McQueen
Robert Vaugh
Jacqueline Bisset

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Frank Bullitt is a cop used to playing by his own rules and when a mob-trial witness hes assigned to protect gets gunned down and left for dead, he wants to nab the shooters real bad. This becomes harder to accomplish once various political and criminal undercurrents start sweeping the case up in their currents and Bullitts no-nonsense approach is compromised.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The immediate association people make with this film is the classic car chase between McQueen Mustang GT and the ultra-cool 68 Charger the bad guys used in one of the wildest sequences Hollywood has ever delivered. Thats great and to be honest, BULLITTs car chase still puts any other films to shame but it unfortunately has come to slightly overshadow a tremendous movie fraught with tension, suspense and a plotline that may take a couple of viewings to fully grasp. Its basically full of what makes a good police drama worthwhile: ruthless mob hitmen, personal ambition gone wild, mistaken identities and salty old cops among other things. Beneath all these trappings however is a character with tremendous depth demonstrated not by ranting speeches an grandiose actions but by very subtle inward glances and an appearance of crushing fatigue slowly overpowering a very strong and determined man. McQueen was a movie star way before BULLITT but in my humble opinion, its one of the few movies which allowed us a glimpse at what was also an immensely talented actor who could put most (if not all) of todays pretty boy cross-merchandising superstars in the back pocket of his cheap-ass cop pants.

This flick also has a lot more going for it aside from all the stuff above. Never mind that reuniting two of the Magnificent Seven in Steve McQueen and Robert Vaughn is already enough to stir movement in my pants, BULLITT also looks awesome, especially if youre into cool retro stuff. The film is set in San Fran which is pretty picturesque and has some really clean cuts and action that give it a real flow. It also plays very well on tempo, going from mad action to slow conversations in dark hallways. The last fifteen minutes of the movie alone shift pace so much as to give you seizure if youre epileptic. Its not what were used to seeing on the big screen nowadays so if your idea of police drama is Beverley Hills Cop, you probably wont get past the opening credits in BULLITT but if youre looking for an intelligent film that gave the modern rogue cop his image, then travel back a few years and feast your eyes on this one.

THE EXTRAS

Full Length Audio Commentary by Director Peter Yates: Its always a nice touch to hear what people have to say about movies long after theyve been released and been termed classics. Yates yields up a lot of information both about his experience on the shoot and on working with a near mythical figure like Steve McQueen. He maintains a very good pace and never gets boring.

Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool (90 minutes): AN awesome documentary about the King of Cool featuring about a dozen different stars including Robert Vaughn, Robert Culp and LeVar Burton (?) discussing the man and the tremendous mark he left on Hollywood. Its neatly divided into sections featuring each of his major pictures and theres an extremely moving recounting of his long illness and death with input from close friends and family members. If you were a fan before, you might become obsessed and if youre already obsessed, this could very well drive you over the edge. Its a must-see for any serious movie fan.

Bullitt: Steve McQueens Commitment to Reality (10 minutes): Its sort of a making of feature with a focus on how Yates and McQueen (and in their own words) put forth every effort to give the film as much grit and realism as possible. Youll get some information about the locations and actors as well as on the preparations taken to orchestrate the now legendary car chase sequence.

The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (95 minutes): A modern feature on the history and importance of editing. The likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Marty Scorcese among others relate the weight the editor carries in the filmmaking process. There are discussions about techniques and on the changes that technological evolution has had on the profession. For those who are interested, Sharon Stones infamous bush shot from BASIC INSTINCT turns up near the 45 minutes mark.

FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This one's a strict no-brainer featuring a classic film with a package of few but valuable extras. Grab a hold of this and give it a place of honor in your collection.
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