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Details At A Glance

Category Science Fiction None
Rating ma.gif (1236 bytes)
Year Released 1994
Running Time 96:28
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Director Philip Jackson
Producers Network Association 
CEL Music
Starring Michael St. Gerard
Brigitte Bako
Ned Beatty
Lisa Howard
Peter Outerbridge
Ron Lea
Case Faux-Transparent Amaray
RPI $19.95 Music Donald Quan
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan (?) English (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Original Aspect Ratio ?
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    As I have said before, when I can write a plot synopsis totalling less than a page, the film in question must have something that results in words utterly failing me when trying to describe it, for one reason or another. In the case of Replikator, the simple truth is that the plot is so bad that even trying to describe its badness leaves me utterly perplexed and speechless. Nary a word comes to mind that seems appropriate without having the attached risk of me getting into trouble for contravening Australia's Draconian "internet decency" (or whatever they're called) laws. Indeed, I have little hesitation in stating that this film is so behind the times and uninformed in its views of the future and how technology is affecting our lives that it could well have been written by a member of the OFLC or some other branch of this country's not-so-wonderful government.

    The plot, such as it is, is set in an unspecified point in the future where the ozone layer has collapsed, and crime has risen to the point where the justice system has become downright arbitrary and peculiar. Two companies are competing to be the first to develop equipment that can synthesize any kind of material, including human tissue. One is an underground operation with a virtual reality genius doing most of the work, whereas the other is a greedy multinational corporation with unlimited resources. Both have the rather amusing feature that they hire parolees who were once convicted of computer-related crimes, and a popular crime at the time seems to be distribution of virtual reality-enhancing drugs. I think it was about at this moment that I gave up trying to discern a plot, although this is not necessarily because of the plot's stupidity.

    My difficulty with this film lies mainly in the poor production values, especially with the editing, which looks as if it has been performed with a meat cleaver and a roll of household glue. Indeed, if more people take the time to vote for this film on the Internet Movie Database, and it manages to sink just a tad below its current 2.6 (out of ten) weighted average, then Replikator stands a chance of being listed as one of the hundred worst films of all time. This is a judgement I would have no problem with endorsing, as even the lamentable Battlefield Earth was easier to take seriously.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer would look pretty ordinary on VHS, leave alone the DVD format. For some odd reason, the people responsible for this transfer elected to describe the Full Frame transfer as being a special feature. I have serious doubts that this little movie was captured on film, but there are no definitive sources as to the proper aspect ratio, so I will simply leave it at that.

    As previously mentioned, the transfer is Full Frame, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced. Overall, the transfer is quite soft and indistinct, which leads me to believe that this is merely a VHS master that has been transferred to DVD. Shadow detail borders on poor, but it is acceptable in context of the transfer's softness for the most part. Low-level noise is a slight problem, especially in white dissolves, where random noise can be seen crawling around in the artificially inserted colour.

    The colour saturation is dull, with many shades of colour that should have been bright and vivid appearing dull and washed out. I doubt that this is solely the fault of the transfer, as the film itself screams low-budget at the top of its lungs from the opening shot, and never really quits. Again, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that this feature was captured on video.

    MPEG artefacts were not readily apparent in the transfer, which lacks resolution to begin with. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some wobble that may have been introduced by the camera mechanism rather than any specific part of the telecine process, assuming there was one to begin with. Film artefacts consisted of numerous nicks, spots, and scratches upon the picture.


    There is only one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue, encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. One specific complaint I have about this audio transfer is that it was recorded just a touch too loud in comparison to the four other Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtracks that I had listened to on the same day. As a result, the dialogue is occasionally distorted, and all sound effects are accompanied by an unpleasant sort of digital whine and hiss that has a similar effect to the sound of fingernails scraping against a blackboard. While I can't say exactly what caused this problem in the soundtrack, it sounds suspiciously like the soundtrack was sourced from a vinyl-quality master that has been artificially upconverted to compact disc quality.

    The music in this film is credited to one Donald Quan, and is equally unpleasant to listen to because of the mastering when it does appear. This is a real pity because the music sounded like it had some quality, leaving it quite out of place with the rest of the film. At 34:19, the heightened volume and digital distortion of the audio transfer make the music quite painful to listen to. There is little else I can say that is complimentary to this score, as the transfer simply gets in the way too frequently.

    The surround channels are not used by this soundtrack at all, and describing the soundtrack as stereo is being slightly hopeful. There seems to be little in the way of stereo separation, although the combined high-frequency whine and hiss of the transfer also gets in the way of discerning any specific channel activity. With the non-existent production values of the film, there seems to be little opportunity for inspired use of the surround channels, anyway. The subwoofer was frequently called upon to support the lower registers of the soundtrack, but often seemed to produce more of a consistent rumble than anything specific to the rest of the soundtrack.



    The menu is ugly, not 16x9 Enhanced, and static. Little more than a listing of the nine chapter stops, as a matter of fact.

R4 vs R1

    I searched multiple places for any information that indicates the release of a specific Region 1 version of this title. I failed to find any, so I can only assume that the same dodgy version we have in Region 4 is being distributed in Region 1. If you really must have this title, I can hardly say with a straight face that it even begins to justify the added expense of importing from America.


    Replikator is a dreadful attempt at science-fiction, presented on a very ordinary DVD. It might seem like a bargain at $19.95, but I can think of many things that I would rather spend that much cash on.

    The video quality is reasonable.

    The audio quality is terrible.

    The extras are non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
November 30, 2000. 
Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 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