Three new DVDs -- We review DVD versions of ''Fight Club,'' ''Cliffhanger,'' and ''Shaft''

By Marc Bernardin
June 16, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Three new DVDs

From the very beginning of this two-disc set — when, strung after the red-screen antipiracy warnings, a red-screen Tyler Durden live-your-life rant almost slips by unnoticed — there’s a pervasive aura of loving subversiveness. Director David Fincher pulls out every single stop at his disposal, not only taking you behind the scenes of his angst-fantasy manifesto, but actually bringing you within the process of making Fight Club. The first disc includes the film itself (the transfer is so pristine that the subliminal Brad Pitts peppered throughout all but pop off the screen), an audio-video calibration feature that allows you to tweak your system for optimum impact, and four separate commentaries that boast Fincher, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Pitt, novelist Chuck Palahniuk, and screenwriter Jim Uhls among the participants. Disc No. 2 is for supplement super-freaks: from location scouts and special effects tests (complete with corresponding commentaries) to a complete set of storyboards and what seems like every promotional spot (including Internet-only trailers, PSAs, and a few ads with Spanish subtitles). It’s like a guided tour through the film’s evolution. The set’s true highlights are the deleted/alternate scenes; learning the hows and whys behind the decisions — and the effect of those decisions on the final product — is like going to Fincher’s private film school. If you are one of the many who left the theater flabbergasted or just plain enraged, this set will, at the very least, help you understand the methods behind the madness. A

Even though Sylvester Stallone’s career has gone a bit cold lately, this mountainous thriller offers plenty of heyday chills. Features: Commentary by director Renny Harlin and Stallone, theatrical trailers, a making-of featurette, three deleted scenes with director’s commentary, two special effects documentaries, anamorphic wide-screen, Dolby Digital 5.1

Before Samuel L. Jackson walks the walk as the black private dick who’s a sex machine with all the chicks, check out Richard Roundtree’s strut in the original. Features: Behind-the-scenes footage, theatrical trailer, wide-screen, Dolby Digital mono.