The Blues Brothers (DVD)

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The Blues Brothers (DVD)

In roles made famous by their famed SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi star as Ellwood and Jake Blues in this extremely entertaini...

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Review of "The Blues Brothers (DVD)"

published 14/09/2014 | IzzyS
Member since : 27/07/2006
Reviews : 691
Members who trust : 190
About me :
Thanks for all rates. Let me know if I dont re-rate you. Roll on the summer. My thoughts go to all affected by the Manchester tragedy.
Pro Entertaining, great music, characters, celebrity cameos, action scenes/car chases, stylish
Cons Plot a little thin on the ground?
Did you enjoy it?
Characters / Performances
Special Effects

"A truly fun cult film of its time"

- Story -

After Jake Blues is released from prison, he and his brother Elwood visit a nun who helped to raise the two of them in a boarding school. However, the school is struggling, with support soon to be taken away and its due to be sold on in order to pay off large tax debts, so the two of them decide to hold a benefit concert to raise funds in hopes of helping to pay off said debt and redeem themselves in the eyes of the strict nun, who was disappointed by Jake having been incarcerated.

- Plot Pace -

This film moves at a decent enough pace, even though its perhaps slightly long overall at just over two hours running time, depending on how much the length of a film bothers you. There aren't too many 'stale scenes' really - there's plenty of action to keep you entertained throughout and other scenes with slapstick comedic elements but few with pure dialogue and little context, if that makes sense.

The only thing I might add is that the plot, generally speaking, seemed perhaps a little thin on the ground and its not really a film thats all about the story as such - this is more a series of live music performances, with some enjoyable action scenes (particularly car chases) interspersed.

- Genre(s)/Theme(s) -

This is an action film, wth a heavy musical element or influence to it, of course. I'd say it covers the themes of redemption, forgiveness and perhaps rebellion, as well as it having an underdog theme (Its ironic they end up being pursued by the authorities, given essentially their trying to do a good thing by raising money to pay off the schools tax bill).

- Cast -

The late John Belushi plays Jake Blues and Dan Ackroyd plays Elwood Blues, in this film. Both actors gave good performances, portraying very smooth, cool and yet still somewhat comic and entertaining characters - its easy to see how this has become quite a cult film, as the two main characters come across as quite enigmatic figures, people younger people might well look up to and picture themselves as.

The other well known actor (or actress) that features in this film is Carrie Fisher, who plays Jakes slightly derranged girlfriend, who feels hard done by. She's certainly someone you don't want to mess with, put it that way! her character is quite animated and provides a shock or two for the viewer.

As well as them, there are numerous cameos from various well known singers and musical artists, including James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and (composer/songwriter) Cab Calloway, all of which breath a bit of extra life to the film, giving if but brief performances or contributions. Knowing there are various celebrity cameos makes you keep your eyes peeled to see how many people you may recognise from scene to scene.

- Content and Rating -

This film features a sort of exaggerated, almost cartoon style (although its all live action, there's no actual animation present) violence - there's no real graphic detail shown, its a rather comical, almost slapstick style of violence but in a way maybe that could be a worry for younger kids who may view this, in terms of the consequences of various shoot outs seeming fairly low?. There are many gunshots and lots of cars smashed up but there isn't much shown in terms of the people injured due to that and that sort of thing. Characters are shown smoking at times, if that might be an issue? but other than that, the main objectionable, or potentially somewhat offensive, content would be the strong language used at times throughout, including the 'f' word. Its due to the strong language that this film was given the 15 rating.

- Score/Use of Music -

Obviously this film is very music centric (if you know what I mean), with music featuring heavily throughout. Even in the action based scenes, tracks can at times be heard in the background and it all adds to the lively, fun feeling this film gives out. Some of the tunes performed are really quite catchy, there's some pretty recognisable music (of its time, baring in mind this film dates from 1980), including I Can't Turn You Loose, written by Otis Redding, Soothe Me performed by Sam and Dave and Boogie Chillun by John Lee Hooker. For a full list of credited and uncredited tracks featured, see:-

As the title of this film may allude, its mostly blues music that features - rhythm and blues, to be precise. There are some scenes set inside a church, with gospel based music, where James Brown sings/performs. The music has quite a jazzy, uplifting feel to it, as you may expect and certainly adds to the sort of comic, light heartedness the film seems to have. There are one or two scenes with less obvious music tracks or sounds present in the background, during more tense moments, which add emphasis to them, or otherwise help create a bit more atmosphere to it.

- Any Other Info./Thoughts? -

For anyone who doesn't know, this film is based on the characters (said brothers) who were first introduced by way of comedy sketches on the popular US show 'Saturday Night Live'. It has quite an irreverent, madcap feel to it and indeed its become quite a cult film (probably partly, sadly partly, due to John Belushis death a couple of years after it was released) and I can understand why. It doesn't take itself too seriously, I'd say, if that makes any sense. Its quite entertaining, with obviously a good number of upbeat, fun rhythm and blues based songs shown performed live, plus some really quite exciting car chase scenes and other action scenes.

The story has a real comic book feel to it and there is a comedic element to it, making this a fun watch. Of course, you could argue that its not very believable in terms of the turn of events but this isn't exactly a film where that greatly matters - its a good bit of fun really. I felt, for what it was, it was quite entertaining, if not slightly dated now but it does, of course, date back from 1980 (before I was born(!)), so thats very much to be expected. One thing I would say is this is perhaps not advisable as a film to show to any budding car thiefs or boy racers, as very reckless driving features in it quite heavily!.

It has a real 'feel good factor' evident - the various live performance scenes are quite engaging and the characters are fun to follow throughout, even though the plot may be slightly thin on the ground perhaps. The various cameos by well known, highly regarded singers make it worth seeing for that alone but I reckon if your a fan of action films, or even just films with car chases and you like rhythm and blues (perhaps moreso than more modern 'R&B') music, then you should quite enjoy this, although quite frankly I'd be surprised if you hadn't already come across it, given its age and status as a cult film (understandably attained). I should also perhaps add that I was quite surprised by some of the more elaborate scenes involving cars, there's at least one quite shocking stunt thats pulled towards the end and which I was quite impressed with, given the fact it must have been genuine, being a film released in 1980, thus before CGI was really in use.

This is really quite a stylised film, with said brothers dressed in suit, tie and hat and 'patrolling' in rather beaten old police cruiser (car). There's quite a feeling throughout that the two brothers are somewhat underdogs, whereby large crowds of people flock to them and not always in a positive way(!), plus their chased by the authorities after some unfortunate happenings(!). The way some pileups are shown to occur is quite comical. Speaking of comics, I believe there was an animated series made, as well as a sequel entitled 'Blues Brothers 2000' in the late 90s, although this wasn't very popular.

- Would I Recommend It? -

This is a very enjoyable film, with some great music and good performances, as well as a nice mix of action scenes and a comedic element to it. It features a large cast, with some very well known people and I'd say is worth watching for that along - thus on that basis, yes I'd recommend it.

Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for all rates and comments.

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Comments on this review

  • 2mennycds published 10/01/2016
    well reviewed
  • anwar published 25/09/2014
    E ! Ann x
  • sweetdaisy published 20/09/2014
    Great review xx
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Product Information : The Blues Brothers (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

In roles made famous by their famed SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi star as Ellwood and Jake Blues in this extremely entertaining and successful comedy. Upon Jake's release from prison, the brothers are reunited and visit the orphanage they grew up in--only to discover that it is in danger of being shut down by the county for failure to pay taxes. With a little help from James Brown as a revival preacher, the Blues Brothers are divinely inspired to raise the $5,000 that the orphanage needs to stay open. On their mission from God, they must reunite their old band and raise the money by playing various gigs around town. The wild adventures of the band include dodging evil neo-Nazis, playing in a rowdy redneck bar, and narrowly escaping the crazed Carrie Fisher as Jake's ex-fiancee, who is out to see him dead. Finally, the boys have to get to a gig at the Palace Hotel Ballroom and deliver the $5,000 to the county assessor's office--leading to one of the most wild and hysterical car-chase smashups in film history. John Landis has spiced this wonderful romp with fabulous rhythm-and-blues numbers from such greats as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Cab Calloway, and Ray Charles.


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