|Category||Thriller||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1|
|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||100:45 minutes||Other Extras||Production Notes
Cast & Crew Biographies
|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 )|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||?||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
Charlie Sheen (credited as Charles Sheen - he must be a big boy now) is James MacGregor, an ex-homicide cop whose life has gone to drink after the publication of his book outlining his search for a serial killer in the US. One day, he receives a fax - an obituary - and the next day the deceased is found in his back yard. James is immediately a suspect, but the faxes and bodies continue to arrive, and it is clear that he isn't the killer.
The Glasgow police ask him to help with their investigation, and the inexorable chase to the killer begins...
Something that intrigued me about this movie was the fact that not a single gunshot was fired. Indeed, not a single gun was seen, which makes a welcome change from more typical Hollywood fare.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. This appears to be a Pan & Scan transfer based on the inappropriately cramped framing of some of the scenes, including some very odd looking artificial pans, but since this movie did not have a theatrical release, I do not know the intended aspect ratio. The end credits are squeezed horizontally, which to me implies that the intended ratio was probably 2.35:1 rather than 1.85:1.
The transfer was variably sharp. The last 15 minutes were excellent, but the majority of the movie suffered from a considerable lack of clarity. The image was very soft indeed, and lacked definition. Indeed, it looked out of focus for the majority of the movie. Shadow detail was very poor, with some shots simply in almost total blackness. Surprisingly, there was minimal low level noise in the transfer.
The colours were passably rendered. Generally, they were a little on the muted side, however.
MPEG artefacts were occasionally noticeable, but were never prominent. Movement artefact was very distracting with this transfer, probably exaggerated by the blow-up from the intended aspect ratio. Film-to-video artefacts were not of great concern, with only some trivial aliasing here and there to complain about - there was insufficient sharpness in the image for there to be much in the way of aliasing! There were occasional artefacts present from the video element used to encode the movie (Digital Betacam), consisting of the typical "tearing" of a small part of the image at times. Film artefacts were rare, except for the odd burst here and there.
The overall level of the soundtrack was quite low, but I made no adjustment to my levels.
Dialogue was acceptable without being great. It tended to be a little soft at times, compared with the music, making some of it a little hard to make out. The Scottish accents didn't help in this regard, either.
There were no audio sync problems with this disc.
The music was unremarkable.
The surround channel had limited usage for music and for the very occasional special effect which seemed to find its way into the rear, either accidentally or by design.
The .1 channel received a small amount of signal at times from my processor, but was otherwise silent.
The video quality is very poor at times, and passable at other times, due in no small part to the Pan & Scan nature of the transfer and to the inferior source material.
The audio quality is just acceptable.
The extras present are very limited.
© Michael Demtschyna
19th July 1999
|DVD||Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 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|