MGM has slowly been working their way through the back catalog of one Paul Verhoeven. The DVDs have ranged from great to good to just okay. Spetters, the latest Verhoeven film to make its way to DVD, tends to fall in the just okay section.
Spetters focuses on three working class buddies who see motocross racing as their ticket to fame and fortune. Things start off well for the trio, but the introduction of beautiful Renee Soutendijk throws a wrench to two into the works. Spetters is excessively sexual and explicit, something Verhoeven has never shied away from. Fans of the man definitely should pick this title up to see just how far he can take you into a world of brash honesty and desire.
Spetters is presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. The print used is fairly clean with only a light amount of grain evident. Doesn't look though like MGM spent too much in restoring the film has a rather drab appearance. Detail is good at times and brightness and contrast levels seem okay, but it all has a rather washed out look. Blacks are okay and shadow detail is about as good as to be expected considering the rest of the package. The overall lack of consistent detail and color reproduction take the overall presentation down a notch or two. Too bad as Verhoeven films really deserve much better treatment.
Included audio is the film's original Dutch mono track. Nothing exceptional about the track, but it gets the job done in a clean and distortion free fashion.
Two extras are included on the Spetters DVD. One is a trailer for the film and the other is an audio commentary track by director Paul Verhoeven. While not the best of his tracks, this is just as refreshing. Verhoeven discusses all sorts of topics involved with the film. The production, the controversial scenes, what was going on in his life at the time, etc. It certainly makes for a good listen and should please his fans very much.
Spetters isn't really a landmark film by any means but it is a visual treat nonetheless. Verhoeven is a highly gifted director whose no holds barred attitude to filmmaking is just as impressive today after thirty years or so in the business. Jan de Bont's cinematography is just as startling and alluring. The man might not have made great films himself, but he certainly knows how film shots with some fantastic style. The DVD of Spetters is little disappointing in terms of audio and video. It isn't a bad DVD, just a rather average effort of film that probably deserved a bit better treatment. In all honestly though, it really is great to finally have this film on DVD regardless of any faults.