That Man from Rio/Up to His Ears Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Servais
  • Director: Philippe de Broca
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Cohen Media Group
  • DVD Release Date: April 14, 2015



            Most American audiences are unfamiliar with the work of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, though you would be hard-pressed to find many who are unfamiliar with the Star Wars franchise. George Lucas borrowed much from Kurosawa in the creation of Star Wars, specifically The Hidden Fortress (1958). Similarly, I would assume that even fewer Americans are familiar with French filmmaker Philippe De Broca, despite the recognized and apparent influence That Man from Rio had on Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. I could use this as a platform to complain about American inability to appreciate foreign film and the influence it has on Hollywood, but the truth is that That Man from Rio was also borrowing from something; the popular Tintin books from Belgian cartoonist, Hergé. I suppose everyone borrows from everyone, and audiences everywhere reap the rewards.


            This Blu-ray two-disc collection includes That Man from Rio, along with the follow-up film, Up to His Ears. Both are available for the first time on Blu-ray, with a new 2K restoration. That Man from Rio looks especially stunning in high definition; it’s a widescreen spectacle that clearly evokes the big budget spectacle of Spielberg’s franchise.


            Jean-Paul Belmondo (Breathless) stars as a soldier named Adrien, on leave with just enough time to spend a few days with his girlfriend, Agnès (Françoise Dorléac). When she is suddenly kidnapped over the hiding place of a family heirloom in the form of a priceless Amazonian statue, Adrien sets out on a non-stop global chase to save Agnès. The chase leads to Rio, but that’s where it really begins. Slapstick humor is combined with action and adventure, hilarious one moment and suspensefully riveting the next. 


            Up to His Ears reunites De Broca and star Belmondo, this time playing an apathetic millionaire who risks his life in an attempt to find a reason to live. Arthur Lempereur (Belmondo) is sailing through Asia with his fiancé and her gold-digging mother, unimpressed with what life has to offer. Realizing that he can only enjoy the good once he has experienced the bad, Arthur continually attempts to kill himself. Helpless at accomplishing this task, Arthur takes out massive life insurance on himself, giving the recipients motive to hire assassins to kill him.


            Escaping the murder attempts from China to Tibet, Arthur meets an ambitious stripper (played by Ursula Andress) along the way. The adventures share a similarity to That Man from Rio, though Belomondo plays a completely different character in Arthur, a bumbling fool as opposed to the foolishly brave Adrien. With this difference comes a greater emphasis on comedy in Up to His Ears, despite an even wider range in globe-trotting sequences to enhance the adventurous scope.


            Both films have a handful of special features, though there are certainly more on the disc for That Man from Rio. This includes three featurettes and a two trailers, the original and the 2014 re-release. There are two additional featurettes on Up to His Ears, as well as two more trailers.


    Entertainment Value: 8.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10

    Historical Significance:  8/10

    Special Features: 7/10



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