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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1996 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
117 minutes
(not 121 per case)
Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Ron Howard

Warner Home Video
Starring Mel Gibson
Rene Russo
Gary Sinise
Delroy Lindo
Lili Taylor
Case Amaray
RRP $34.95 Music James Horner

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ?
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No

Plot Synopsis

    Ransom is a superb thriller starring Mel Gibson as Tom Mullen, a self-made millionaire and Rene Russo as his wife Kate. Their son, Sean (Brawley Nolte) is kidnapped, and held for ransom. Tom agrees to pay the ransom, but things go wrong at the drop-off point. From there, Tom realizes that the kidnappers have no intention of returning his son alive, so he goes on national television with an amazing proposal...

    To give away more would be to ruin some of the suspense. Suffice it to say that this is a really excellent movie, with top notch performances from all of the main players.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is quite good.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The question that most needed answering about this transfer is whether or not it was a true 16x9 transfer. I believe this was a real 16x9 transfer on the basis of the resolution of the image.

    The transfer was generally sharp and clear, though I felt that it lost some definition at some times, especially with motion. The early part of the transfer (the first 10 minutes or so) were less than satisfactory, but things settled down rapidly and the transfer became excellent. Shadow detail was satisfactory.

    The colour was well saturated throughout after the first 10 minutes.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of a moderate amount of aliasing at times and a moiré effect on TV images Film artefacts were rare.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack.I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was always clear and audible.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The musical score was by James Horner. It suited the feel of the movie admirably, adding a nice degree of tension to the overall experience.

     The surround channels were not used a great deal, with ambience and the odd special effect confined to the front soundstage.

   The .1 channel was mostly silent throughout this movie, with occasional use to support the action sequences.


    There are no extras on this disc. Nada. Nil. Zip. The Amaray case has a small booklet which lists chapter stops, but this doesn't count as an extra. Neither does the little piece of paper stating that the disc is compatible with Region 4 players even though the disc label says Region 2.


    The main menu is plain and functional. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Missing Extras

    The Region 1 version of this disc has the Theatrical Trailer on it. However, the Region 1 version of this disc is not 16x9 enhanced.


    Ransom is a great movie on a pretty good disc. Highly recommended. Given that our version of this DVD is 16x9 enhanced, this is one time when the Region 4 product is clearly superior to the Region 1 product, no question about it.

    The video quality is pretty good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras present are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Extras nil

© Michael Demtschyna
22nd May 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