A short time ago we posted a Blu-ray review of the Chuck Norris film Breaker! Breaker!. Basically it was an average Chuck Norris B-movie about driving trucks, kicking ass and general riffraff with no consequences. All in all a pretty forgettable 70’s movie with just a few hints of unintended humor to be found. While watching it I actually said out loud “this would have made a perfect Mystery Science Theater movie”. Well one e-mail later and my dreams have come true.
The fine folks over at Rifftrax contacted us and asked if we would like to review their streaming commentary on Breaker! Breaker!. I of course jumped at the chance to see Chuck Norris in this format.
In case you aren’t aware Rifftrax is Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy (all Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumni) once again doing what they do best, grilling cheese sandwiches. No, I’m sorry, I meant to say “writing and performing humorous movie commentary”. Unlike MST3K there are no robot characters, silhouettes or sketches cut among the films, it is simply funny audio commentary. Also the films are unedited for content or run time in this format.
On the Rifftrax website they offer feature length commentaries that can be synced up to a physical copy of a film. They also offer short subject films, DVDs, Blu-rays, streaming video and downloads. In addition they have also done a few one night only Fathom Event live shows simulcast to different movie theaters across the U.S. and Canada.
A taste of my Rifftrax collection
As much as I love physical media I think I have to be aware of the simple fact that more things are being moved to streaming services and it’s possible that some things are just going to be exclusive to this format. While I won’t actively change any of my already owned releases to be held on streaming services I am certainly not against purchasing things only available in that format.
So how did my Rifftrax experience go? I was given a Video On Demand (VOD) streaming version of the movie to watch with the commentary already added. Everything was extremely user friendly and straight forward to get started right into the movie.
Streaming Picture Quality
The streaming quality was what I expected. While not as crisp and clean as my Blu-ray copy it seemed like a typical DVD print, which, considering the age and budget of the film, isn’t bad. Obviously this movie was never intended to be a masterful display of cinematic excellence but I don’t think there is anything here to complain about. I never once had a drop in quality, buffering or freezing while streaming. I tested this both plugged directly into the modem and using a WiFi connection with the same results. I used a Chrome web browser on both Windows XP and Windows 8.1 to view the film and noticed no differences.
The download and stream file formats for Breaker! Breaker! are as follows:
Legacy devices (329.87 MB)
Download to Burn (3.95 GB)
Medium (1008.89 MB)
Low (555.27 MB)
High-TV (1.59 GB)
I copied the following directly from their website to show the different formats that they typically offer:
“With every download or stream title Rifftrax offers a base of four different MP4 files for standard definition, and three additional HD MP4 options for HD Download or Stream titles.
Legacy devices: For old devices like the iPod Classic or for people on 28.8 kbs modems.
Low: Good quality for people who prefer lower file sizes over higher quality.
Medium: Good quality and file size balance. Recommended for tablet viewing and most modern mobile devices.
High (TV): Great quality. Recommended for people wanting to stream to their TV using a media server or set-top boxes like PlayStation, WDTV and Boxee. Can also be used on most modern mobile devices and tablets.
HD Low (720p): Good quality for HD tablet users. Smallest file size of the HD options.
HD Medium (720p): Better quality for tablets, modern mobile devices and TV viewing.
HD High (1080p): Best quality, HUGE file size (~10GB). Perfect for storing on a hard drive, streaming to your TV using a media server or set-top box. This option is the largest file size and best for people with very fast and reliable internet connections.
Download to Burn (feature length B-movies only): For feature-length B-movies, we also offer an .iso file that can be downloaded and burned to a DVD-R. NOTE: Some of our Download-to-burn files require a dual-layer burner, which most modern DVD burners are.”
Streaming Audio Quality
The audio quality was quite nice, especially with the clear commentary. The movie itself seemed very similar to the Blu-ray. I watched it on my desktop computer with Harmon Kardon surround sound speakers. Nothing much really came out of the sub but the dialog was crisp and commentary was easy to hear. I basically got the same experience through laptop speakers so this is a movie that, while lacking in dynamic range, is going to be easy to listen to on pretty much any device.
I had a really good experience with streaming Breaker! Breaker! with Rifftrax! I certainly recommend watching this film on Rifftrax VOD Streaming. I laughed out loud multiple times and even when the movie dragged a bit in the 3rd act I was not bored. This movie has become much more entertaining to watch and contains just about every truck driving/Dukes of Hazzard reference you could think of.
Although I am very much into physical media the average price point of video on demand ($9.99) isn’t too prohibitive on the budget to indulge in more movies. Also, there are frequent sales throughout the year which makes it that much easier to dive into a digital or downloadable collection. If you are a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and have not yet checked Rifftrax out you are really missing out on a great time. I personally enjoy watching “bad” movies and Rifftrax makes it even more fun to sit back and relax and laugh with them. Even if you don’t particularly like the movie reviewed here I would still highly recommend searching their site and trying a film that sparks your interest since they have Riffs from different genres and eras.
Note: This Streaming Video On Demand was sent to us for review purposes. This has not affected our judgement, rating or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.