|Category||Action/Comedy||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Year Released||1990||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||106:37 minutes||Other Extras||Biographies-Cast & Crew
Penelope Ann Miller
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None||Dolby Digital||2.0|
|16x9 Enhancement||No||Soundtrack Languages
|English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)|
|English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
German (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.0, 384 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.0, 384 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.0, 384 Kb/s)
Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
Polish (Dolby Digital 1.0, 96 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|English||Annoying Product Placement||No|
John Kimble (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is an undercover cop chasing down a big time drug dealer in Cullen Crisp (Richard Tyson). Kimble manages to arrest Crisp on a murder charge, but since the only witness is a junkie, he and his new partner Phoebe O'Hara (Pamela Reed) try to track down Crisp's ex-wife Rachel Crisp and son Cullen Crisp, Jr, who have gone to ground in Astoria, Oregon, for help in putting Crisp away for a long time. In order to do this, O'Hara is to pose as a substitute kindergarten teacher - but she goes down sick on the way to Astoria. So big John Kimble has to step in as the substitute, with some funny results. He discovers that Rachel Crisp is actually Joyce Paulmarie (Penelope Ann Miller), a teacher at the school who he happens to be attracted to, and the son is Dominic (Joseph and Christian Cousins) who is in his class. Suffice to say that Cullen Crisp and his mother Eleanor (Carroll Baker) connive to get Crisp released from jail and they promptly head to Astoria to get son Dominic back.
Whilst the story lacks a little in depth, it suits the comedy talents of Arnold Schwarzenegger well indeed and forms the basis of one of his more unusual performances. Penelope Ann Miller does a good job as the hunt victim, come love interest, and diminutive Linda Hunt is very good as Principal Schlowski in a limited role. Richard Tyson is not quite as believable as the villain of the piece although Carroll Baker pegs the neurotic grandmother pretty well. Of course they are all upstaged by the kids, but that is usually the case. Overall, Ivan Reitman has put together a decent enough effort that at least broadens Arnie's roles a little more than say Jean-Claude Van Damme has.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1; just why we have not got a widescreen transfer is what I want to know.
Whilst this is a lot sharper than the VHS tape, this is by no means a particularly sharp nor well defined transfer, and at times this is a quite murky transfer. Overall shadow detail is quite poor, with some especially poor detail in some of the evening scenes. Low level noise appears to be a problem throughout the transfer, which compounds what appears to be a quite grainy picture.
If you are familiar with the VHS tape, the colours will be quite familiar to you - as there is no much difference at all, the DVD being a little less washed out. The colours are quite rich in tone and a little dark, and they are not especially vibrant. To me it looks as if the colours are a little oversaturated throughout, although colour bleed does not appear to be a problem at all. I had the VHS tape and DVD running at the same time and switched between the two to check the colours in a second view, and at times it was amazing how consistent the two were apart from the better sharpness of the DVD.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, but video artefacts were quite prevalent throughout - mainly in the form of aliasing, although there was one section with minor telecine wobble between 78:00 and 78:15. There were significant film artefacts throughout the film, but in general these were not especially distracting to the film.
Subtitles can be selected via the remote control, and all subtitles are available via the remote, no matter what Region the DVD player is set to. The subtitle menu, however, is dependent on which Region the DVD player is set to.
This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change at 45:37. The layer change is not especially noticeable and is not especially disruptive to the flow of the film.
There are seven audio tracks on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded, German Dolby Digital 2.0, French Dolby Digital 2.0, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0, Czech Dolby Digital 2.0, and a Polish Dolby Digital 1.0 track. The latter track seems to be a disinterested reading of the script in Polish, played over the top of the English audio track. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.
Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.
There were no audio sync problems with this disc.
The score by Randy Edelman is not especially memorable, although it does support the film reasonably well.
This is not an especially detailed soundtrack, with minimal use made of the surround channels. The film is of course very much dialogue driven so the lack of surround presence is not especially missed. The resultant overall sound picture is quite believable however.
No use at all is made of the bass channel.
The video quality is very average indeed.
The audio quality is also average.
The extras add nothing to a poorish package.
© Ian Morris
25th October 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|