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MAFIA! ($30) does for the Cosa Nostra what AIRPLANE did for flying the friendly skies... MAFIA! comes from some of the same parties that were responsible for the afore mentioned AIRPLANE, as well as THE NAKED GUN and HOT SHOTS. So anyone sitting down to watch MAFIA! has to expect unbridled hilarity mixed with bad puns and throwaway gags. This merciless spoof of the entire gangster genre (amongst other things) takes one funny potshot after another. Sure, some of the jokes are groaners, but most of them hit the intended targets.

MAFIA! (a.k.a. JANE AUSTEN'S MAFIA!) stars Lloyd Bridges as Vincenzo Cortino, the godfather of godfathers. Bridges affinity for the film's verbal and physical humor made him the perfect person to portray a man who rose to the top of his profession by being a danger to everyone around, including himself. The plot of MAFIA! finds follows Don Cortino from his youth in Sicily to the day he is gunned down at his eldest son Joey's wedding. However, it is the Don's younger son Anthony (Jay Mohr) takes it upon himself to avenge his father. On the run from the law, Anthony relocates to Las Vegas where he is put in charge of the mob's casino operation. If the plot sounds like it were lifted from THE GODFATHER and CASINO, it was. But don't worry, parts of SHOWGIRLS, FORREST GUMP and about a dozen other movies have been thrown into the mix as well. The cast of MAFIA! also includes Olympia Dukakis, Christina Applegate, Billy Burke, Pamela Gidley and Tony Lo Bianco.

MAFIA! comes to DVD in a wide screen presentation via Touchstone Home Video. Unfortunately, in keeping with Buena Vista's established policy, this DVD lacks the 16:9 anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. However, the presentation does restore the film's 1.85:1 theatrical framing and is quite pleasing. MAFIA! has a sharp, nicely detailed image that really can't be faulted when played back on a 4:3 television. Colors reproduce with high saturation and not a bit of chroma noise. Shadow detail ranks right up there with most new studio films; blacks are respectable and contrast is pretty good throughout the transfer. Digital compression artifacts never became overt during the presentation.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is great. Channel separation on the track is outstanding, with sound effects jumping out from every channel. The track has a clear and precise sound that allows one to appreciate every spoken joke, as well as every audio joke contained in the mix. Bass reproduction is full and deep, while the dialogue always sounds natural. English captioning is provided on the DVD.

The interactive menus provide the standard scene selection feature, plus access to a brief production featurette.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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