|Running Time||97:11 Minutes|
|Start Up||Language Selection then Menu|
Fox Home Video
M. Emmet Walsh
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono,
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 (Measured)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Missing In Action and its two follow-ups are noted for one thing. In essence, they are known for squeezing as much brainless action into as little space as is humanly possible while throwing caution, historical accuracy, production values, and decent acting to the wind. Indeed, one of the episodes in this saga has Colonel Braddock (Chuck Norris) escaping from a Vietnamese prison camp straight into Thailand in spite of the fact that Vietnam does not share any borders with that country.
The plot, such as it is, revolves around Braddock returning to Vietnam, where he was held captive for ten years. Once there, he attempts to uncover the location of a prison camp and rescue the prisoners in an attempt to prove that there are soldiers missing in action who are still being held captive. The moral of this story is quite clear: when a government denies a possibility that many segments of the public support, they run the risk of Hollywood making a long string of crap films about it. The other actors in the film simply serve as props for Chuck Norris to dispose of as he sees fit.
This isn't the worst film that you will ever see Chuck in, but this is very faint praise, because he has been in some real shockers. I suspect that the major reason why nobody tells him about the lamentable badness of the material he lends his questionable acting talents to is simply because they're afraid of him. At least, that's one sound theory as to why he continues to lend his services to Walker: Texas Ranger: nobody has had the courage to tell him he's better off cutting his losses and using his bank balance to retire with. Still, if mindless action of the variety that is encapsulated so well in the Hot Shots! films, or films that are simply so bad that they are good (and then bad again), is your sort of thing, then this is worthy of looking at.
The transfer is sharp enough for the action in the foreground to be perfectly watchable, at least most of the time. There are some sequences in which the film stock and the focus combine to make the picture look decidedly soft, but these are hardly any fault of the transfer. The shadow detail can be described as adequate, with there being just enough detail to make out who is doing what, but not much else. Low-level noise is not a problem, with all stretches of colour in the transfer being smooth and clear for the most part. However, film grain is problematic, particularly in one shot where Braddock confronts a number of Vietnamese citizens who have been stood over to testify against him, which stretches from 19:08 to 20:02. This is one of the nastiest-looking shots I have ever seen on DVD Video, which is saying something.
The colour saturation is bright and vivid, furthering the illusion that the action is taking place in South-East Asia rather than a studio backlot. Flashes of green, red, and brown are all rendered without any serious problems, but you'll have trouble finding serious uses of any other colours in this film. The saturation varies during the more problematic shots in the beginning of the film, but becomes quite beautiful after this point.
MPEG artefacts were not a problem with this transfer, with the bit rate sitting quite comfortably above eight megabits per second almost all the time. It was a wise move to spread this film out over two layers, considering the shape that the source material appears to have been in. Film-to-video artefacts were not a problem except for some interference on a television set in the first reel of the film, which was only visible for a few seconds anyway. There was some telecine wobble in both the opening and closing credits, but this didn't seem to be a problem during the feature itself. Film artefacts, however, are a problem for this transfer, with a large mess of flecks on the source material adding to the grain in the aforementioned shot of Braddock's confrontation with the Vietnamese citizens. In other shots, the problem is quite mild, but this one sequence has enough film artefacts to make up for the rest of the feature.
This disc is presented in the RSDL format, with the layer change taking place at 53:28. While the layer change is noticeable, it is not particularly disruptive to the flow of the film.
The dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand, although there were occasional lines from the Vietnamese characters that fell below the basic level of intelligibility due to the actors' accents. It is somewhat annoying, but you can rest assured that there are no great, intelligent things you really need to hear from this film. Audio sync was not a problem in this transfer except for some lousy sound effects, but that's all part and parcel of a Chuck Norris film. A loud click can be heard at 13:55.
The music in this film is credited to Jay Chattaway, and it is hard to determine whether he would be more embarrassed by the name or this film. Much of the music has a processed, synthetic sort of sound to it, much like the acting, and it started to remind me of the music from Plan 9 From Outer Space at times. There is so much cheese in this score that viewing the film starts to feel like eating one too many burgers from McDonald's, making it all the more hilarious that one might suspect the makers of this film wanted to be taken seriously. It's a pity that this music isn't available locally on compact disc, as it would be perfect for driving your friends and neighbours completely bonkers with.
The surround channels were not used by this soundtrack, which is something of a pity considering the numerous sound effects that could have done with some redirection into the rears. Helicopters, powerboats, knives flying through the air - all of these sounds could have been supported by the surrounds, but were simply restricted to the front channels. This was compounded by the fact that there were no split stereo effects, as one would expect from a monaural soundtrack, which further destroyed the suspension of disbelief during the aforementioned sound effects. Thankfully, the subwoofer jumped in very frequently to support the music, the gunshots, and the myriad of explosions that came thick and fast like the cheesy dialogue. It supported all of these effects without calling any specific attention to itself.
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The video quality is watchable.
The audio quality is slightly better than the video.
The extras are non-existent.
© Dean McIntosh (my
bio sucks... read it anyway)
November 7, 2000.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|