New on Blu-ray: Scarface

By Robert B. DeSalvo

Al Pacino's gangster classic has been reissued with tons of new extras and a limited edition custom humidor.

Director: Brian De Palma Rating: R Studio: Universal

It’s time to “say hello” on Blu-ray to Scarface—a now-iconic gangster movie that was lambasted when it was released in 1983 for its over-the-top violence and pervasive profanity, which are the very qualities that helped make it an enduring cult classic revered by rappers everywhere. Directed by Brian De Palma with a script by Oliver Stone, this remake of the 1932 film of the same name is a twisted look at the American Dream and how unchallenged greed and corruption pervert that dream into a waking nightmare.

Al Pacino plays Cuban refugee Tony Montana who, along with his best friend Manny (Steven Bauer), arrives in Miami during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. After a brief stint washing dishes, the duo begins working for wealthy drug dealer Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia) to get their green cards. Tony—who impresses Frank with his fearlessness—quickly develops an unhealthy attraction to Frank’s live-in girlfriend, Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfeiffer), an icily beautiful disco goddess who drifts towards the wealthiest man in the room when she’s not busy powdering the inside of her nose.

Tony becomes so powerful so fast that he quickly surpasses and disposes of Frank, taking his place as Miami’s drug kingpin. Soon Tony has a fortress-like mansion, Elvira as his plaything wife, and a mountain of cocaine on his desk that he sits at in an initialized chair that looks like a throne. Inhaling too much blow has made Tony a little insane in the membrane, which leads to disaster with his overprotectiveness towards his sister (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) and when he enrages a Bolivian drug lord. When an army of the Bolivian’s “cockroaches” storms Tony’s mansion to take him out, Tony and his “little friend"—an M16 with an under-barrel grenade launcher—makes his legendary last stand.

Nothing epitomizes the hollowness of the Me Decade quite like Scarface, and this Blu-ray captures every detail of the guns and toys in Tony’s tricked-out world. Pfeiffer drifts past expensive restaurants and gilded mansions with dead eyes and utterly bored even as she sips the finest champagne, snorts a small fortune of cocaine and is driven around in luxury cars. Tony, who only wants the respect of his family and peers, is so driven to obtain more and more that he eventually succumbs to paranoia and, well, madness.

Viewing Scarface in high definition 28 years after its release, it’s now even clearer why the hip-hop community views this as a combination cautionary tale/career template. Tony Montana escaped from the prison system, scored the bling, bedded the sexy girl, and launched himself into the stratosphere so fast that he only had one place to land—face down in his own fountain.

Best extras: This Blu-ray debut comes packaged in a handsome limited edition steelbook case that holds 10 cards of fan-created artwork. Many of the special features on the BD are ported over from the DVD edition, including deleted scenes, the "Scarface Scorecard” that keeps track of the F-word while you watch, several making-of featurettes and a hilarious look at how some scenes were edited for television. What’s new is a 39-minute documentary titled “The Scarface Phenomenon” in which the cast, filmmakers and other celebrities talk extensively about their love of the film with a focus on the public reaction and its cult status. The steelbook also comes with a DVD copy of Howard Hawks’s classic Scarface from 1932.

If you really want to take it to a Tony Montana level, you can buy this Blu-ray packaged with a limited edition custom humidor (only 1,000 worldwide) that will set you back $700 on Amazon. Buy it HERE.


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