Not the most famous of music focused movies, Drumline surprised moviegoers with its fresh take on the genre when it was originally released in 2002. Although it had a relatively small budget of $20 million, the film eventually went on to nearly triple it domestically. The film performed so well during its original DVD release that Fox subsequently released a special edition in early 2008, only to replicate the same release on Blu-ray a year later, complete with the same content but this time sporting an all-new 1080p high definition transfer.
Brace yourself for this Extended Edition of the exhilarating sensation: Drumline. This Special Edition includes additional footage not shown in theaters plus three in-depth featurettes including on-camera interviews with the director and actors Nick Cannon and Orlando Jones, and a behind-the-scenes look at a real drumline! Also including deleted scenes with optional commentary, and the director’s full-length audio commentary, this high-stepping, high-energy comedy with a pulsating hip-hop soundtrack delivers even more thrills than ever! Nick Cannon (Men in Black II) stars as Devon Miles, a gifted street drummer who snares the top spot in the marching band of a Southern university, where he quickly discovers that it takes more than talent to make it on the Drumline!
Despite an overwhelmingly positive 80% rating on RottenTomatos, I really wasn’t that impressed with the film. Out of curiosity I checked RT’s rating before I even watched the film and after watching it I saw no reason as to why it would be rated so high; then you hit IMDb and its sub-6.0, which I think is going a bit too low. I’m kind of surprised that this film rated so high and so low on two similar websites, but I suppose it’s an easy film to divide camps. If you don’t like hip-hop soundtracks, which this film is literally littered with, then you’ll likely want to blow your brains out. I fit in that camp, although I did still find parts of the film entertaining…but ultimately it wasn’t something I feel I’d ever watch again.
Part of what makes Drumline good is the actual band. The final showdown still gives me goose bumps just thinking about it and hearing it in full DTS-HD Master Audio was nothing short of amazing. However that’s where most of my enjoyment of the film was placed—right at the very, very end. The rest of the film centered on an egotistical kid (Cannon) who I didn’t relate to nor care about. We had to see him schmooze his girlfriend, go through fights with his school and estranged father, only for it to all come back to normal at the end so he can lead his band mates to complete victory. If that isn’t entirely predictable, then I don’t know what is.
Granted there are some drumline sequences peppered throughout the film, but nothing as amazing as that final act. Quite honestly I was ready to wholeheartedly recommend this film based on that final sequence alone until I remembered the near two hours of mediocrity that preceded it. I just really didn’t find anything engaging or entertaining about any of the characters in this film, which is really the crew that was supposed to carry the film on their shoulders.
Perhaps I’m just tired of these type of films where high school/college students triumph over some great evil in their life and then have another hour and a half of film that puts their poor minds in utter turmoil as they decide where their allegiances are. Even worse is that Cannon’s character basically ended up back where he began in the film, making it all feel like a pointless mess.
Overall Drumline is worth seeing for the final sequence alone and with that regard it’s worth a Rental at least. Aside from that? I don’t think there’s a single thing in this film that would make you want to watch it again aside from the ending, in which case that’s what chapter stops are for.
Fox has released Drumline in a single disc release with the usual inserts (advertisements, firmware notices, security label, etc) and disc art the mimics the cover. No slipcover is included and the menus for the film are simple and easy to navigate.
Video for the film arrives in an AVC (@34mbps) encoded transfer that is really quite beautiful. I especially found the on-field practices sequences to pop visually, notably when it was nighttime. Again I’ll pinpoint the finale as the most engaging, with plenty of colorful outfits to accompany each one of the band members as they beat their little hearts out on that field. Fantastic lighting provided by the stadium lights and just an overall great level of depth make this film visually appealing. The aforementioned 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is absolutely fantastic as well and shines, again, in the final sequence. Not only are all of the surrounds utilized, but the subwoofer activity from the drums is worth the rental price of this alone to experience. Also included are Spanish and French DD5.1 mixes, as well as English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Thai subtitles.
Extras for this release are the same as the 2008 DVD edition and include:
• Commentary by Director Charles Stone III
• Half-Time Heroes Featurette
• The Real Battle of the Bands Featurette
• Anatomy of a Drumline Featurette
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Director’s Commentary
Since nothing is new, one has to ask themselves just how badly they need to upgrade to this disc to have the film in 1080p with DTS-HD audio. Yes, the film looks fantastic and sounds wonderful (almost all Fox titles do), but other than that there is nothing new here. Still worth a Rental for those who haven’t seen it, but previous owners can Skip this release unless they have lots of money to burn. Perhaps worth a rental for that final sequence (last time I’ll mention it, I swear!) to hear in DTS-HD, but since I haven’t heard the original DD5.1 mix, I can’t really comment on how much better it sounds…although it almost certainly does.
Drumline: Special Edition is now available on Blu-ray.