Executive Decision

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Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1996 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 127:04 minutes Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (61:05)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director Stuart Baird

Warner Home Video
Starring Kurt Russell
Halle Berry
John Leguizamo
Oliver Platt
Joe Morton
David Suchet
Steven Seagal
Case Snapper
RRP $29.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No

Plot Synopsis

    Executive Decision is not a bad action movie. It is made up of more of an ensemble cast than anything else - there are no particular solo "superheroes" in this movie, which makes a refreshing change from what is usual in this genre. And, in a very smart move by someone involved with the movie, Steven Seagal is killed off very early on.

    Kurt Russell, in a considerably more subdued role than I have seen him play in a long time, plays intelligence agent David Grant. Arab terrorists, led by the fanatical Nagi Hassan (David Suchet), hijack a US-bound plane. They demand that their leader is released from prison in the US or else they will kill all 400 hostages. David Grant is convinced that this is just a ruse for a much more devastating strike on the US.

    An Executive Decision needs to be made by the President of the United States; destroy the plane before it reaches the United States or allow it to land with the possibility of much greater bloodshed if David's theory is correct.

    The only hope is if a crack team of commandos manages to get onto and retake the beleaguered aircraft before it reaches U.S. airspace.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1. It actually looks like the movie has been overmatted, with some information missing from the top of the frame. It is 16x9 enhanced. Based on the language mix of the subtitles on this disc, this appears to be an older transfer, and it is not up to the same high standard as we have come to expect from Warner Brothers. It still remains quite acceptable, however.

    The image is very sharp and very clear. A few of the shots are somewhat grainy, but these appear to be stock shots rather than new footage. Shadow detail is good, and there is no low level noise.

    The colours were well saturated throughout.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of copious amounts of aliasing at times. All the usual culprits were responsible, and this transfer is reminiscent of many of the older Warner Home Video 2.35:1 transfers which also suffered from this problem. The aliasing only lasts for a short time whenever it is visible, but it is certainly quite distracting whilst it is on show. Film artefacts were present more often than I would have expected as well, especially considering the recent vintage of this film, and they were quite distracting at times.

    The subtitle mix on this disc is quite intriguing - I wonder how many people will watch this movie utilizing the Arabic subtitles, considering that the bad guys in this movie are very much painted as stereotypical Arab fanatics - I can't see this DVD being a big hit anywhere in the Middle East.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 61:05, between Chapters 15 & 16. It is minimally disruptive.


    There is only a single audio track on this DVD; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was always clear and easily audible, despite the often high ambient noise present.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The soundtrack was scored by Jerry Goldsmith and is in his usual triumphant orchestral style. It suits the movie nicely.

    The surround channels were aggressively used for music and special effects, with frequent and heavy use contributing nicely to the enveloping feel of this soundtrack.

    The .1 channel was heavily used during the special effects sequences and to enhance the music.


    There are no extras on this disc, not even the Production Notes listed on the packaging.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;


    The menu is 16x9 enhanced and is otherwise unremarkable.


    Executive Decision is an excellent action movie presented on an acceptable, but less than perfect, DVD.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Extras nil

© Michael Demtschyna
3rd August 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer