Free to be ‘V’ 

Given the hit-or-miss quality of big-budget Hollywood adaptations, be it a video game, a classic television series or, in the case of "V for Vendetta," a graphic novel by Alan Moore, one never knows what to expect each time around. Will it be "Spider-Man" or "Blood Rayne"? "Sin City" or "Superman Returns"?

Luckily, the creators of "V for Vendetta" actually took the time to make it a decent film rather than pander to what purists of the graphic novel might say or want. The film centers on the rebellion against a fascist English regime some time in the not-so distant future after a second civil war breaks out in the United States after a horrible crisis in the Middle East. Directed by John McTeigue, "Vendetta" stars Natalie Portman as Evey, a naive girl who is recruited by the masked vigilante V (Hugo Weaving) to fight the power by any means necessary.

Yes, there is blatant thumbing of the nose against U.S. foreign policy and the use of terrorism is considered that of the good guys (Revolutionary War, anyone?). But, the point of using drastic measures for change is not lost and the entertainment value remains despite the symbolic underlying running throughout the film.

Being that this is the two-disc edition, you’d expect that there would be a truckload of special features. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. While there is a nice healthy dose of special features on the second disc, it’s nothing to write home about or that would warrant a second disc. Four featurettes on the making of the film are the highlights with stories about Guy Fawkes and the famous gunpowder plot that plays so heavily in the film and the origin of the character V in comic books.

Among the other extras are a most interesting montage to Cat Power whereone of her songs is mixed with images of the film. And be sure and scour the DVD for the "Saturday Night Live" digital short that is not to be missed. However, given that most of these types of genres of films have been given star treatment on DVD later in life, the same could be said about "V for Vendetta," so rent it and pick up the rerelease later.

V for Vendetta — Two Disc Special Edition

Movie: ???

Extras: ???

DVD: ???

Price: $34.98

Rent or buy: Rent

Also out now

» There’s more to like about "The Girls Next Door: Season One" than one would think. Surprisingly, it actually isn’t a bad reality show. To peek inside the life of Playboy guru Hugh Hefner is an interesting experiment, but to see all the various rules and different "obligations" involved is fascinating TV. The DVD includes all 15 episodes from the first season, which are all unrated, unblurred and unbleeped. Plus, you get a whopping 29 deleted scenes, an unaired pilot episode and much more. Price: $29.98. Rent or buy: Rent.

peterbrown@examiner.com

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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