Tag (2018) Blu-ray Review

Amusing diversion 4 Stars

Tag was something of a surprise, a ridiculous premise that claims to be based on a true story, and for the most part, pays off in some big laughs.

Tag (2018)
Released: 15 Jun 2018
Rated: R
Runtime: 100 min
Director: Jeff Tomsic
Genre: Comedy
Cast: Ed Helms, Lil Rel Howery, Jon Hamm, Annabelle Wallis
Writer(s): Rob McKittrick (screenplay by), Mark Steilen (screenplay by), Mark Steilen (screen story by), Russell Adams (based on the Wall Street Journal article entitled "It Takes Planning, Caution to Avoid Being It" by)
Plot: A small group of former classmates organize an elaborate, annual game of tag that requires some to travel all over the country.
IMDB rating: 6.6
MetaScore: 56

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, English DVS 2.0, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 40 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, UltraViolet
Case Type: 2-disc Blu-ray eco keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 08/28/2018
MSRP: $35.99

The Production: 3.5/5

Whenever I see the term Based on a True Story in the promotional materials for a movie, I often wonder if they really mean Inspired. All too often, it is that latter term that should have been used, mostly because the creative team behind the movie took the concept of that real occurrence and ran with it in their own way, taking a lot of license with the original story. Tag (not to be confused with the 2015 Japanese horror film of the same name) falls into that latter category, using an article by Russell Adams that first appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2013 about a group of men that play the childhood game for one month each year as a concept that could easily be mined for laughs. Writers Rob McKittrick (Waiting) and Mark Steilen (episodes of Shameless) run with that concept to create what quickly becomes a slapstick live action cartoon, taking an unexpected shift in tone during the last act.

Each year, during the month of May, Hogan Malloy (Ed Helms), Bob Callahan (Jon Hamm), Randy Cilliano (Jake Johnson), Kevin Sable (Hannibal Buress), and Jerry Pierce (Jeremy Renner) play a game of Tag, with the last one tagged at the end of the month having to pick up the game as “It” the following year. As this year’s game begins, Hogan sets his eyes on Bob, who is the CEO of an insurance company and is being interviewed by Rebecca Crosby (Annabelle Wallis), a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Intrigued by the idea of five grown men reuniting once a year to play a game they’ve been playing together for over 23 years, Rebecca joins Hogan and Bob on their trip back to their hometown of Spokane, Washington to cover the story. They quickly recruit Randy, the stoner of the group, with some assistance from Hogan’s wife, Anna (Isla Fisher), and then disrupt Kevin’s session with his therapist. Their plan, take down Jerry once and for all before he retires from the game after his wedding on the 31st. Jerry has never been tagged in the history of the game, partially due to his elite athleticism and quick logic (as an homage to Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films). The film features some hilarious set pieces filled with slapstick humor and double-crosses, and its talented cast works very well as an ensemble. I wasn’t expecting to like Tag based almost solely on its premise, but it was a welcome surprise.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Despite being a modest box office hit for Warner Bros., Tag receives, at best, a Blu-ray/DVD combo release on physical media (the movie is available in 4K UHD on streaming platforms Vudu, FandangoNow, Google Play Movies, and iTunes). The Blu-ray looks incredible, replicating the film’s 2.39:1 aspect ratio, so it’s hard to see where 4K UHD could improve upon. Colors are vibrant and realistic, with no visible appearance of banding or bleeding. Detail is excellent, particularly in fabric textures and facial features. Contrast is also exceptional, with deep blacks and bright whites, again with no noticeable crushing or clipping.

Audio: 4/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is your fairly standard comedy mix, front-heavy with dialogue with some occasional use of surrounds during some of the tag-chase sequences.

Special Features: 3/5

Meet the Real Tag Brothers (1080p; 5:03): Interviews and footage of the guys that the Wall Street Journal article was based on that inspired the movie.

Deleted Scenes (1080p; 6:20): Eight very brief scenes, only separated by chapter stops, that don’t really add anything to the movie.

Gag Reel (1080p; 8:50): Your typical blooper reel.

DVD Copy: The movie in 480p and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, plus the Special Feature Meet the Real Tag Brothers.

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a HD digital copy of the movie on Movies Anywhere (or UltraViolet).

Overall: 4/5

Tag was a bit of a surprise for me, a film I wasn’t exactly sure I’d enjoy, and walked away pleasantly surprised. Warner’s presentation is excellent.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

3 Comments

  1. Great review.

    I saw this in theaters with MoviePass with zero expectations and not thinking I’d like it, but came away pleasantly surprised. It’s a fun story, well told, which actors that are enjoyable to see sharing the screen.

    I also really appreciated that it felt like a complete story. So many movies today, even if they’re not part of an existing franchise, feel like they’re more like pilots for potential a series of films rather than a thing unto itself, as if they’re saying, “hey, if you like this, we’re standing at the ready to make three more of ‘em for you.” Or even worse, teasing new story threads more interesting than anything in the actual film. So “Tag” was a refreshing change of pace in that it actually had a beginning, middle and ending. It felt like the filmmakers left it all on the field – and I mean that in the best way possible.

  2. Josh Steinberg

    Great review.

    I saw this in theaters with MoviePass with zero expectations and not thinking I’d like it, but came away pleasantly surprised. It’s a fun story, well told, which actors that are enjoyable to see sharing the screen.

    I also really appreciated that it felt like a complete story. So many movies today, even if they’re not part of an existing franchise, feel like they’re more like pilots for potential a series of films rather than a thing unto itself, as if they’re saying, “hey, if you like this, we’re standing at the ready to make three more of ‘em for you.” Or even worse, teasing new story threads more interesting than anything in the actual film. So “Tag” was a refreshing change of pace in that it actually had a beginning, middle and ending. It felt like the filmmakers left it all on the field – and I mean that in the best way possible.

    Curious what your thoughts were about that third act…..

  3. Todd Erwin

    Curious what your thoughts were about that third act…..

    Do you mean… (spoilered for those who haven’t seen it)

    Spoiler

    I really didn’t see that coming, and I liked it. It reminded me a little bit of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” where you think John Candy’s character is just a one-note, can’t-take-a-hint obnoxious salesman, and then you realize his character is so much more, and that there are deeper reasons behind Candy’s outlandish behavior than just the filmmakers trying to get laughs without any consideration to the characters feeling real.

    It wasn’t the same character situation in Tag but I think the sentiment was similar. It added depth to the character and the situations and made it feel more real to me. One of the things I haven’t enjoyed with some other films made lately with some of these cast members or promoted in simular fashions is how the characters have the potential to never feel like real people. Their exploits are wacky and fun, but the characters have no inner life, and you can’t picture them existing in the real world or even picture their lives outside the scenes shown, because they just don’t seem like real people. I think “Tag” starts out potentially being too outlandish but really does ground the characters, which made them feel like real people to me.

    I really expected to not enjoy this movie, and instead left the theater thinking, “they need to make more movies like this.”

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