MARTIN LAWRENCE: RUNTELDAT
Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Martin Lawrence
Director: David Raynr
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 103 Minutes
Release Date: January 7, 2003
got to come out and tell MY OWN story. I ain't waitin' for the E! True
Hollywood Story to tell my s**t!”
You simply have got to hand it to Martin Lawrence. The
actor/comedian has been through some of the most trying times of any celebrity.
With his name frequently plastered on just about every tabloid news show, which
has at times very much exaggerated the story to the extreme, Martin makes a bold
choice to reveal the truth in a new funny and very personal one man comedy show
titled Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat. Lawrence has grown to become one
of the biggest stars in cinematic comedy, but stand-up is where he came from
before hitting it big, and it's neat to see him return to his roots, and he
puts on quite a show.
The movie begins with a montage of all the publicized
details of Martin's various run-ins with the law, as well as the time he came
close to buying the farm when he collapsed while jogging on a hot summer day
back in 1999, which put him in a coma. For someone who's been through so much,
especially with the entire country watching, I find Martin very courageous for
putting on this show. The presentation, filmed at Constitution Hall in
Washington D.C., is very reflective of the actor's troubled times, as well as
some very funny takes on disciplining children, childbirth, sex, civil rights,
and yes, the cha cha slide, a dance that has annoyed me very much, too.
Some of the material at hand seems like the sort of stuff
all comics touch on, but the strength is in Lawrence's performance. He is a
veteran comic with top-notch timing and consistent energy. When he delves into
his discussions of civil rights, he throws in a spin on Martin Luther King, Jr.
that is jaw-droppingly hysterical. The real energy in the performance comes when
he discusses his numerous run-ins with the law, which came as a result of crazy
behavior from smoking a certain…well…you know where I'm getting at. What
Lawrence does with this material is show that even some of the more embarrassing
aspects of someone's life, even those who happen to be famous, are the best
things to laugh at, rather than simply judging someone on.
Consistently funny and thoroughly uncompromising, Martin
Lawrence Live: Runteldat is an engaging stand up performance from one of the
top comedians of recent years. For my money, Martin Lawrence has made a bold
effort to come out and confront his misfortunes, while at the same time turning
the real life events into marvelous comedy material.
I've come to expect
nothing spectacular when watching a stand-up comedy concert, be it a videotaped
or filmed production, but Paramount makes the most of it with their anamorphic
transfer. Confined to one setting, the picture quality is mostly decent, with
the stage background turning up very nicely. But I did happen to notice some
grainy backgrounds in several close up shots, which resulted in this overall
mixed opinion. A full screen version is also available.
As for the audio department, concert movies always come to
life right in your living room, and Runteldat is no exception. Both the
performer's delivery and the reaction of the crowd are mixed in nicely with
very well done 5.1 mix. Like the material at hand, Lawrence's voice is a
powered force, and the audio presentation enhances this notion all the way.
Some decent extras here,
including a commentary track by director David Raynr, producer Michael Hubbard,
and executive producer Robert Lawrence. Also featured is a deleted scene, a
featurette titled “Backstage Pass”, and a trailer.
Runteldat is Martin Lawrence at the top of his game. Both funny and strikingly personal, this makes a perfect show offering for those in search of many good laughs.