Hustle & Flow

Hustle & Flow

DVD Rating: **

Reviewed by: Paul Griffiths

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of Hustle & Flow

When Hustle & Flow came out last year it gained more success than most expected. Not a bad film at all, but certainly not great. It tries as hard as 8 Mile to be gritty, but is just as comfortably and tidily packaged. With the R2 DVD, what extra tricks does the disc have to tempt you?

Well, not much, apart from the usual. It's presented smartly enough and has an attractive mirror-morphing first menu page, but apart from that this is standard fare, unironically hustling you that it's something more important.

Copy picture

Commentary by writer/director Craig Brewer

Brewer keeps his commentary almost continuous from the very beginning. It's fairly informative stuff, with the usual on-set anecdotes. Regularly he hones in on the local element, with Hustle & Flow set in his hometown of Memphis, and how much personal knowledge he has thrown into the project. This becomes a strong theme throughout.

There are more energetic and invigorating commentaries out there and ones that are considerably less about "me", "I" and "my."

Behind The Hustle

This featurette goes on for nearly half an hour with pretty much everyone involved in the production getting ample talking heads opportunities to wax lyrical on the shoot.

Creatin' Crunk

Although it's clear from the beginning that this and Behind The Hustle are sliced from the same sets of interviewees, Creatin' Crunk is still the most interesting and informative of the extras. Various intelligent bods talk about the emergence of rap, hip hop and new crunk and also the development of blaxploitation film music. Featuring some of the same musicians who played on the original Shaft soundtrack, they offer fresh insights into the creative communal working that can eventually produce idiosyncratic and contemporary scores. Isaac Hayes chips in to bring some clout to the whole "legacy with a beat" elements in the film and director Brewer starts plugging (again) the home sound of the Memphis connection.

Memphis Hometown Premiere

In July 6th, 2005. a mediocre crowd, captured on decidedly home video footage, turned up for Brewer's Memphis premiere. Not as trite as it sounds, but everyone is earnestly bigging up the home town musical heritage.

Promotional Spots

There's a number of 30-second promo spots that did the rounds last year. Diverting fluff, but some may have found them more interesting than the usual trailers:

DJay's Front Porch: DJay talking to the camera from his sweatbox house's frontage. DJay's Car: same as, 'cept DJay's in his ... you can guess. DJay/Shug in Studio: posing as a scene from the film, DJay sermonises Shug to get her to sing with feeling Buck or Crunk: With Shelby and Key explaining both, very short How to get yourself a name: Al Kapone advising every wannabe rapper to work harder than anyone else. Of course! How to Buck or Crunk: According to Al Kapone, crunk, with its own sound and feel, came from Memphis.

Easter Egg

Head to the first special features menu, flip down to the "main menu" option at the bottom of the page and select right. This brings out DJay's eponymous necklace. Selecting this reveals the easter egg: Ludacris out in the woods with his rifle, then fishing, then flashing his cash. It hardly lasts a minute and offers nothing.

Reviewed on: 13 Mar 2006
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Hustle & Flow packshot
Niceguy pimp becomes killa streetsmart rap artist in feelgood Memphis sweetdream.
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Product Code: PHE8954

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.78 Anamorphic Wide Screen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Commentary by director/writer Craig Brewer; Behind The Hustle featurette; Creatin' Crunk featurette; Memphis Hometown Premiere; promotional spots, easter egg

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