Tag Blu-ray Review

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Stephen King’s It, but a Different It

Tag is filled with outright idiocy. Most of what happens is implausible. In order to avoid being “it,” a group of middle age friends smash windows, bump into bystanders, leap from unsafe heights, and tear up a golf course. It seem like, at some point, the police need called.

Police (or laws) might break the fantasy and the lunacy though. Tag loves that stuff, and if going to absolute extremes, never is it too far. After this group spent 30 years playing this game, it’s reasonable to assume tag has come to invading AA meetings and faking a pregnancy crisis.

As dishonest as the antics seem, Tag isn’t without a point. The purpose isn’t to avoid being “it,” rather to ensure there’s a reason to get together. Friends drift away, but not if each is out to tag the other. Breaking through the usual life roadblocks – jobs, marriages, location – inspires. None of these friends will give up, but that’s nothing to do with the game.

All of the shattered glass, ludicrous fake-outs, and preposterous pre-planning is almost enough to catch on the film’s heart

Before the final credits, video footage rolls of the men Tag is based on. They sneak around cars, dress up as old women, or take a small stroll through an airport. It’s not quite as maniacal as Tag’s movie adaptation. The script’s escalation plays for the laughs of adults acting like kids, then justifying the whole thing through a haze of thoughtfulness. “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” Might as well add that to the poster given the number of times characters use that quoted line.

It’s an absurd notion that there’s any morality at play, but that’s acknowledged. No one here thinks what they do is sensible; rather, tag is purposeful. Hollywood-ized up, the guys turn into action stars. Jeremy Renner recalls his stint in the Bourne series or as Marvel’s Hawkeye. He’s impossibly slick. Everyone else plays their roles to a dorky if funny extreme. The R-rating is beneficial to the stupidity, particularly with a visit to a gym manager. That’s gold.

Taking Tag at face value – and there’s no other way, really – finds an entertaining, hyper-real studio comedy about over-competitive dudes keeping their friendship alive. Trying to suss out anything else, even as Tag begs for such attention, overrides good sense. All of the shattered glass, ludicrous fake-outs, and preposterous pre-planning is almost enough to catch on the film’s heart. Almost. It’s more like heart attack, but a funny one. Or just one that finds a way to be funny.

Video

Shifted to a generally colorful palette, Tag delivers accurate flesh tones with a touch of comfortable warmth. Rich primaries bump up reds and blues appropriately, adding to the abundance of saturation without overstepping.

A pleasing level of texture keeps close-ups defined. Medium shots likewise perform, maintaining sharpness. Exteriors skew soft, but that’s inherent in the cinematography. They still look great, thanks to the color bump.

Stable, consistent black levels provide depth without crush. Heavy contrast likewise helps keep dimension firm. Tag likes cheery brightness, especially sunlit locations. Even when in a bar, interior lighting keeps things vibrant.

Warner’s encode keeps noise away. In flashbacks, a grain filter is used. Compression work keeps things natural.

Audio

A hip-hop filled soundtrack definitely helps liven up this audio mix. There’s a ton of power being pushed from the subwoofer. Even when the music is intended to be coming from an ‘80s boombox, there’s no loss of clarity. Tag keeps everything even.

A few action scenes do utilize the soundstage. Renner tosses golf balls at his opponents at one point. They bounce around the fronts and rears convincingly. Broken glass or shattering tables will spread debris around. That’s effective, and all Tag needs from this DTS-HD track.

Extras

A short featurette (5:23) on the guys who inspired the film comes up first. After that, six minutes of deleted scenes and an eight minute gag reel fill up space in this lean offering.

Tag
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
3

Movie

A strong cast is able to stabilize the mayhem of Tag, flush with ludicrous action scenes but paired with enough humor to forgive them.

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