Playing With Fire – Blu-ray Review

Playing with Fire

When I reviewed Playing With Fire back in November, I called it a film that’s “fun for the whole family.” Upon a second viewing, my thoughts on the film haven’t changed. If you couldn’t already tell, Playing With Fire is a film that’s aimed directly towards children. Children indeed have better options when it comes to children’s films but sometimes what they want isn’t always the best thing to watch. In the case of Playing With Fire, there are a lot of gags and jokes that children will enjoy. They’re dumb but fun. But surprisingly, there are a lot of slapstick moments that’ll get adults laughing too.

But as adults, we have more of a refined taste. So we’ll notice the Fire’s thin plotline or the flimsy character development. Not to mention, we may roll our eyes at the cheesy moments or forced gags. Yet despite these issues, it’s the kind of silly film that you and your children will enjoy.

Thanks to the comedic prowess of the cast, parents might overlook the glaring fundamental issues and simply enjoy it for what it is: A film made for the whole family to enjoy. The film just has a lot of heartfelt and sweet moments. With all of these elements, parents who grew up in the 90s may even be reminded of all the great family comedies of that time. Films that they grew up with as a kid. A lot of the same elements are there.

That includes a wide array of interesting and captivating characters. Chief among them is Keegan-Michael Key who steals the show with his amazing comedic abilities. His chemistry with John Cena fantastic too. When it comes to John Cena, he’s an actor that isn’t afraid to poke fun at himself. That’s why he’s perfect for this family-friendly kind of film.

Overall, Playing With Fire is a fun, heartfelt film that’s great for the whole family. It’s a throwback to the great string of family comedies in the 90s. Playing With Fire is not a perfect film by any means, but it may be a film that your kids will enjoy over and over again.

Movie Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Video

Playing with Fire - John Leguizamo, Finley Rose Slater, John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, and Tyler Mane

Playing With Fire hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The brightness level is high but there isn’t any noticeable bloom in the bright areas at all. Thankfully, the medium contrast levels out the high brightness which in turn gives depth to the picture. You’ll also find that the shadows have a lighter shade of black as well. Also, a lot of details are lost in these shadowy areas too. The colors themselves are bold but it’s the warm colors—such as red and gold—that simply pop off the screen. The details are incredibly clear as well. You can visibly see all of the hair and skin texture from far away. Overall, this is a great video transfer.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Audio

Playing with Fire - John Cena and Christian Convery

Playing With Fire hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The audio mix uses a lot of accurately placed sound effects that fill up the soundstage. It adds to the immersion of a scene. At the same time, the atmospherics also fill up the soundstage as well—something that you can hear in the opening scene. The score and soundtrack sound static across all channels since you can’t hear the instruments in individual channels. They do, however, envelop you with their sweet sounds. Unfortunately, some of the dialogue is slightly on the low side, but you can still hear the dialogue. Overall, this is a pretty standard mix.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Special Features

Playing with Fire - Keegan-Michael Key, Christian Convery, Tyler Mane, John Cena, Brianna Hildebrand, Finley Rose Slater, and John Leguizamo

Playing With Fire has the following special features on the Blu-ray disc:

  • Deleted Scenes
    • Get This Depot Ready
    • Don’t Take It Personal
    • You Should Be the Next Division Commander
    • Starboard Side
    • Let’s Try This Again
    • We Gotta Find a Way Outta Here
    • Please Stop Crying
    • Is That Your Girlfriend?
    • You’re a Real Hero
    • ATV Escape
    • Jalapeño Chocolate Cake
    • This is a FUPA
    • I Got You Something Too
  • Bloopers
  • Storytime with John Cena
  • Lighting Up The Laughs
  • The Director’s Diaries: Read By Star Cast
  • What It Means To Be A Family
  • The Real Smokejumpers: This Is Their Story

A majority of the deleted scenes are alternate versions of scenes are that are in the theatrical edit. You can also see Joe Manganiello’s scene that was cut from the theatrical edit as well. Considering how much improvisation is in the film, it only makes sense that the bloopers are so damn funny. Also, Keegan-Michael Key steals the blooper reel as much as he does the film itself. “Storytime” doesn’t have anything to do with the film but it does have John Cena telling the story of the “Three Little Pigs”. “Lighting Up” is a featurette that asks the cast random questions about the making of the film. Questions such as “what’s your favorite scene to film?” or “who laughs the most on set?”

“The Director’s Diaries” showcases the hilarious e-mails that director Andy Fickman sent to the cast and crew after each day of shooting as told by the equally hilarious Keegan-Michael Key and John Cena. “What It Means” is the behind-the-scenes featurette that you’re probably looking for. It’s not in-depth by any means but it does have a similar heartfelt vibe that you get while watching the film itself. Finally, “Real Smokejumpers” puts the spotlight on the incredible people that are the California smokejumpers.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms


Overall, Playing With Fire is an entertaining film that feels like a throwback to the classic family comedies of the 90s. Both the picture quality and audio mix are great and the special features are simply fun to watch. Sure, they’re not your traditional behind-the-scenes style of bonus features, but you’ll still put on a smile nonetheless while watching these features.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1539 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.