Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Sons of Anarchy: Season One

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Theo Rossi as Jean Carlos 'Juice' Ortiz
Mark Boone Junior as Robert 'Bobby' Munson
Kim Coates as Alex 'Tig' Trager
Charlie Hunnam as Jackson 'Jax' Teller
Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller Morrow
Johnny Lewis as Kip 'Half Sack' Epps
Ron Perlman as Clarence 'Clay' Morrow
Maggie Siff as Tara Knowles
Tommy Flanagan as Filip 'Chibs' Telford
Dayton Callie as Chief Wayne Unser
Taylor Sheridan as Deputy Chief David Hale
Ryan Hurst as Harry 'Opie' Winston

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary on Selected Episodes
- The Making of Sons of Anarchy, Season 1 Featurette
- Additional Featurettes: Casting Sons of Anarchy, The Ink, The Bikes
- Deleted Scenes
- Anarchy on the Set

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language
English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Mandarin, Korean, and Cantonese Subtitles
Running Time: 594 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the series:

"From an executive producer of 'The Shield,' comes a gripping drama that takes you into the ruthless underworld of outlaw bikers. The Sons of Anarchy live, ride and die for brotherhood. But as the club's leader (Ron Perlman) and his wife (Katey Segal) steer them in an increasingly lawless direction, her son Jax (Charlie Hunnam) is torn between loyalty and the legacy in this adrenaline-charged first season."

"Sons of Anarchy: Season One" is not rated.

Mini-Review:
If I had to describe "Sons of Anarchy" to someone who had never seen it before, I'd call it "Sopranos with a biker gang." It's almost Shakespearean in a way. Jax, the young son of the dead gang leader, is trying to lead the gang away from criminal activities. Meanwhile his mother Gemma wants him to take over the gang one day from the club's current leader, Clay. She's rather brutal in her actions and will step on anyone's neck to not only ensure her son takes over but the gang continues making their illegal deals. It would be very easy to substitute the bikers for knights and the club leaders for kings and you quickly see the Shakespeare comparisons.

Despite the lofty similarities, I didn't care for "Sons of Anarchy." First of all, it's a bit dull for my tastes. There are a lot of redundant, dialogue heavy scenes that give each episode a sleepy, slow pace. Each show could easily be 15 minutes shorter. Second, bikers are still bikers and they aren't all that much fun to spend time watching. They bribe police, they illegally run guns, they murder people, they're racist, and they're basically scum. No matter how much they're romanticized here, they're still thugs. There are other characters I'd rather spend time watching.

That being said, this show has a pretty strong cast. I opted to watch it because of Ron Perlman as Clarence 'Clay' Morrow. If anyone can pull off the biker stereotype, it's him. But Katey Sagal soon stole the show as Gemma Teller Morrow. She's such a dark and manipulative character here. Gemma isn't wearing leather and riding a bike, but she's definitely in control of what's going on. It's a great role for her. Charlie Hunnam as Jackson 'Jax' Teller also stands out as the hero of the story. I'm amazed the actor is British, but he pulls off the American accent. He carries the show well.

I'd say if you like "The Sopranos" or if you're a fan of the creator's other show, "The Shield," then this is something you're going to want to check out. But if you're looking for a show that isn't quite so dark or depressing, then you'll want to look elsewhere.

The bonus features have your usual offerings. There are Audio Commentaries, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes and other minor featurettes on the casting, the tattoos, and the bikes. It's really weird hearing Charlie Hunnam's real British accent after seeing him so much on the show.

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