Fletch (Special Edition) Blu-ray Review: Chevy Chase’s Star Turn Anchors This Comic Mystery

Journalist I. M. Fletcher first appeared in Gregory Mcdonald’s novel Fletch (1974) working undercover to expose the flow of hard drugs to a local beach and working to uncover why a stranger wants to hire Fletch to kill him. That book would be adapted into a movie of the same name in 1985 starring Chevy Chase in the titular role of the wise-cracking journalist working those same cases.

Buy Fletch (Special Edition) Blu-ray

While working undercover as a junkie on the beach, Fletch meets Boyd Aviation executive Alan Stanwyk (Tim Matheson), who informs Fletch that he has a few months to live due to bone cancer. Not wanting to experience a slow, painful death, Alan offers Fletch $50,000 and a plane ticket to Brazil in exchange for killing him. Rightly suspicious, Fletch inquires about the veracity of Alan’s claim using a variety of aliases and costumes to get information from Alan’s associates and family members.

Upon learning about Fletch’s work at the beach, Police Chief Jerry Karlin (Joe Don Baker) has Fletch brought in and strongly suggests he stop because it could put his men in jeopardy. When death is the only option offered, Fletch agrees to back off. However, when Fletch sees Alan pick up a briefcase from the Chief, he wonders how big the story is that he’s working on.

The video has been given a 1080p/ MPEG-4 AVC displayed in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Sourced from an exclusive new 2K master that was struck from an interpositive, the appearance of film grain suggests little to no digital tinkering. The grain increases at exterior beach scenes. The image is clean. Colors look natural and exhibit strong hues. Blacks are inky and whites, as seen in the outdoor tennis club scenes, and bright and accurate.

The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. On the 5.1 track, the dialogue is heard in the front with slight ambiance effects and composer Harold Faltermeyer’s score heard in the surrounds.

The Special Features are:

  • Commentary – a new audio commentary by critics Bryan Reesman and Max Evry.
  • Just Charge It to the Underhills: Making and Remembering Fletch (27 min) – DVD Producer Jason Hillhouse interviews cast members, screenwriter Andrew Bergman, and producers Alan Greisman and Peter Douglas.
  • From John Cocktoastin to Harry S. Truman: The Disguises (5 min)A look at Fletch’s aliases and how they were brought to life with clothes and make-up.
  • Favorite Fletch Moments (3 min) A rather pointless collection of short clips.
  • Chevy Chase: Reba Merrill Profile (4 min) – An excerpt of Chase interviewed.
  • Trailers and TV Spots

Fletch works well on a number of fronts and has a timeless feel outside of Faltermeyer ’80s synth score. As a comedy, Chase is very funny, playing a role that seems tailor made as Fletch allows him to play characters and sling one-liners. It is one of his best performances. As a mystery, it is well written as the two storylines unite seamlessly. The one weakness in the script is that the supporting roles don’t offer much for the cast, but they do what they can to bring those characters to life. The Blu-ray delivers good high-definition video and adequate audio.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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