THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS (1987) – Can a kid from Kansas come to New York to conquer the business world and maneuver his way from the mailroom to the boardroom in a matter of weeks? Michael J. Fox proves it can be done in this very funny lampoon of corporate business life. Fresh out of college, Brantley Foster (Fox) is determined to climb New York’s corporate ladder in record time by masquerading as an up-and-coming executive, even though he’s really the new mail boy. However, Brantley’s plans begin to go awry when the boss’s wife falls in love with him and he falls in love with a junior executive, who also happens to be the boss’s mistress.
THE HARD WAY (1991) – Michael J. Fox and James Woods team up for a hilarious action-adventure from director John Badham. Nick Lang (Fox) is a popular movie star who joins forces with a tough New York detective (Woods) in order to break out of his “nice guy” screen image. On the trail of a ruthless serial killer, the last thing Moss needs is a pampered Hollywood sidekick.
FOR LOVE OR MONEY (1993) – Douglas Ireland is in one heck of a bind. While he caters to the whims of the super-rich, Ireland (Fox) dreams of building his own luxury hotel and hopes that a wealthy but unscrupulous investor will help. There’s one condition: Ireland must “babysit” the investor’s beautiful young mistress (Gabrielle Anwar). But soon, he must decide whether the love of his life is worth more than the dream of his life.
For in-depth thoughts on For Love or Money, please check out our previous Blu-Ray review here.
For thoughts on the Michael J. Fox Film Collection [The Secret of My Success/The Hard Way/For Love or Money], please check out our discussion on The Video Attic:
The Secret of My Success, The Hard Way and For Love or Money arrive on Blu-Ray courtesy of Via Vision Entertainment with a digital AVC encoded 1080p transfers in their original aspect ratios. This label is based out of Australia, but these discs will play in all Blu-Ray players including those in the United States. These three titles have been released individually in the U.S. courtesy of Kino Classics, but we only have For Love or Money to compare. Based on what we see when comparing the two and seeing the verbiage of the release, it appears this collection utilizes the same perfectly solid older masters that get the job done.
These three films share a lot of the same qualities, so we will mostly be talking about them as a group while pointing out any notable differences. The strongest element to these transfers is the vibrant colors that are pleasantly saturated throughout. There are numerous splashes of color in some of the clothing choices and within the production design. There are also various bright exteriors that have fairly firm highlights that do not veer into blooming. Black levels do experience some instances of crush in some of the darker footage. Skin tones are natural and consistent with subtle facial features easily noticeable in closeup.
Of the three films, The Secret of My Success holds up as the most consistently pleasant, while The Hard Way leans toward the weaker side of the spectrum. This can be attributed to the degree of natural film grain retained within the picture. The Hard Way appears to be the title hit hardest with DNR, which can make some moments look a bit unnatural. The other two fare better in this respect, retaining a sheen of lovely film grain. This grain resolves well a lot of the time, but some of it can become a bit loose. Instances of print damage such as white specks occasionally pop up, but overall clarity and detail is satisfying. The presentation is enjoyable throughout most of the runtime with image stability and delineation achieving what you would hope. These presentations are a really nice effort that should please fans.
These new Blu-Ray releases come with an LPCM 2.0 track for The Secret of My Success, a DTS-HD 2.0 Master audio track for The Hard Way, and both a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 and 2.0 Master Audio mix for For Love or Money, all of which feature the sounds of these films quite well. Dialogue holds up favorably, coming through crisp and clear without being overshadowed by the music or sound effects. The environmental effects are delineated nicely with most of these stories taking place in urban jungles featuring noise radiating from every direction. The surround sound track for For Love or Money is most successful in this respect, but all three films live up to their sonic capabilities.
These films showcase music effectively, including numerous infectious tunes that really come alive in the mix. This and all of the other music is presented with great clarity and a pleasing fidelity as they come through the room. The track avoids almost all instances of age related wear and tear or distortion. None of these narratives are really pushing things to the extreme, but these presentations more than prove their worth at every turn. Optional English SDH subtitles are provided on each disc.
- Trailers: There are trailers provided for The Secret Of My Success (2:09), The Hard Way (2:04) and For Love Or Money (1:41, 2:04).
The Michael J. Fox Film Collection contains three very entertaining comedic efforts from one of the most lovable stars of our lifetime. The recent release of the documentary Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie has made us especially nostalgic and grateful to have such a talent on screen for so many years. While not the absolute height of his popularity. All three of these efforts capture what made him such a captivating presence, and with these films comes a great comfort. You can throw on any one of these films and have a good time. Via Vision Entertainment has released a new Blu-Ray collection featuring a really solid A/V presentation but barely anything in the way of special features. The release is affordably priced and comes in shelf-friendly packaging for those who need to conserve space. If you love Fox as much as we do, you will not be disappointed. Recommended
The Michael J. Fox Film Collection is currently available to purchase on Blu-Ray.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Note #2: This release is an Australian import which can be played in Blu-Ray players worldwide.
Disclaimer: Via Vision Entertainment has supplied a copy of this set free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.