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Pump Up The Volume Blu-ray Review

“Pump Up The Volume” is much more than a mere teen movie.

In 1990’s “Pump Up The Volume,” the suburban Arizona set high school story revolves around a new to town student (Mark) who moonlights as an anonymous pirate radio DJ known as Happy Harry Hard On. Harry plays hip tunes, takes calls, makes calls, reads letters, and vents frustrations (sexual or otherwise). Harry becomes a hit with the high school students so much so that his popularity begins to become an issue with the school and the authorities (who are both trying to discover Harry’s identity). While all of this is going on, a student (Nora) finds herself infatuated with Harry and winds up discovering that Harry is Mark. 

Some things never change. 31 years after its release, writer/director Alan Moyle’s coming-of-age film tackles still relevant subjects such as mental health, mob mentality, corrupt and broken school systems, communication, and free speech (and the consequences of it). Now, I’ve always been a fan of”Pump Up The Volume” ever since I first saw it, but it’s interesting to see just how topical the movie is in this day and age. Sure, ‘Volume’ is a teen movie at heart that deals with standard teen movie content about teen angst, disillusionment, rebellion, insecurities and so forth, but Moyle has so much more to say about education and society at large. The film’s depth and ambitions makes this particular 90’s gem stick out from the rest. 

There are two stand-out performances here from Christian Slater and Samantha Mathis. Slater gives one of his most nuanced and best performances as a shy teen who comes alive through his radio persona. Mathis (in her film debut) makes a big impression as the quirky and impassioned Nora.


Presentation: 1.85:1 1080p. How does it look? It’s time to ditch the lackluster DVD as this Blu-ray gives the film a proper hi-def transfer that the film deserves. 

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? From the killer soundtrack featuring everything from Beastie Boys to The Pixies to the radio broadcasts, this 5.1 track delivers.  

The lone extra is a “Pump Up The Volume” trailer.

February 4, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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