If you haven’t bothered upgrading to 4K UHD yet, or have but don’t pay it much attention, this film alone in its new remastered release might catch your attention once again. The film needs scant introduction, but it is a remake of the 1932 original, a rare version that betters its ancestor and is so good that no-one (yet) has dared to remake it.
The film sees Cuban immigrant Tony Montana (Al Pacino) enter the United States and elevate himself to a position of criminal ‘power’, too much power as it transpired, only to be gunned down in a blaze of snow-fueled glory.
It is a cult classic that demonstrates how Al Pacino is probably the best actor ever; if you watch The Godfather II and this movie in one weekend, you’ll see that two characters played by one man are polar opposite human beings, despite being quite similar. Robert De Niro could not have pulled that off, in my opinion. The film is fun to watch now, more than ever, even though all lines can be recited from memory, we’re looking at art driven by beautiful synth! Montana is the progenitor of probably every violent wise guy asshole you’ve enjoyed on screen, or in video games (Vice City!) since. Often ripped off, never equaled, let alone beaten.
The film gets its new remaster via 4K intermediate and I’m glad to say that it’s a refreshing watch. Although not perfect, not even by the standards of older 4K remasters of a similar age, Scarface throws some new wonder at viewers. New, small details are found and appreciated especially in close ups. Wider shots have more clarity and life too.
Scarface is a colorful film, with its beautiful Miami vegetation and sun to the 1980’s excess of neon… HDR really puts it to work here, but never crushing or imposing on the viewer. And let’s not forget red alongside Miami’s orange (blood).
The release also comes with plenty of extras. Around two and a half hours, including a 35th Anniversary Reunion panel with the original cast and director, 22 minutes of deleted scenes and a bevy of HD/SD featurettes, although hardcore fans might find most of those to be old viewing.