Machines of War (2006)

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Released 4-Sep-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 150:06
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Robert Hartel
Kenny Scott
Jeremy Llewellyn-Jones

Shock Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Planet X

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† Made for the National Geographic Channel, Machines of War is a three part series, each episode using archival footage, interviews with military officers, graphics, reconstructions and Mythbusters type experiments to examine the history and the development weapon of modern war: the cruise missile, the tank and the machine gun. Each episode is narrated by Mark Halliley and is 50 minutes in length.

Cruise Missile

†††† This episode looks at the first experiments with pilotless aircraft in 1918, through the German V.1 rockets of WWII to the modern Tomahawk missile as used in Operation Desert Storm. Topics include the development of the propulsion systems, fuel mix, guidance systems, payloads and target acquisition systems.


†††† Looks at the development of tanks from 1916 in WWI, through the Russian and German tanks of WWII to the American tanks used in Desert Storm. Topics include track and suspension systems, armour, ordinance, main guns and range finding and sighting equipment.

Machine Gun

†††† Traces the development of automatic weapons including the Gatling Gun of 1861, the Maxim gun of 1883, the massacre of soldiers attacking across No Manís Land during WWI, the Thompson submachine guns used by the criminals and police in 1920s America and the range of automatic weapons used by the US army today; heavy machine guns, lightweight machine guns, assault rifles and the new Gatling aircraft mounted gun.

†††† On the whole, Machines of War is a well put together and informative look at three of the weapons which have changed the face of modern war. The first two episodes are particularly interesting, the last less so as it focusses rather too much on US gangsters and omits totally any consideration of the development of light weight individual automatic weapons during WWII, skipping forward from 1920 to the 1950s. Still, that episode has some interesting facts: I did not know that Dr Gatling actually invented his gun after seeing the carnage of the American Civil War in order to save lives!

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Transfer Quality


†††† Machines of War is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.77:1, which looks to be the original broadcast ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

†††† With a diverse range of archival footage going back to WWI, not surprisingly the video quality within the episodes varies but is always acceptable. Modern interviews, experiments and reconstructions show reasonable detail and natural colours. There is some motion blur with movement in front of broken surfaces, but otherwise marks and artefacts are absent in this modern footage.

†††† There are no subtitles.

†††† The layer change was not noticeable.

†††† A perfectly acceptable print of a TV series with archival footage.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† Audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded at 224 Kbps.

†††† The narration, interviews and comments by experimenters are clear and easy to understand. The gunshots lacked much depth, not surprisingly, but my system placed some music in the rears but otherwise the surrounds and sub-woofer were not used.

†††† The music by Planet X was little used.

†††† Lip synchronisation is not a problem.

†††† The audio is acceptable.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


†††† Nothing.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† I cannot find a similar release in other regions to our Region All release.


†††† Machines of War is an interesting look at the history and development of three weapons that have changed the face of modern warfare. The episodes are informative and some of the archival footage is fascinating. As such Machines of War is certainly well worth a look for anyone interested in the subject.

†††† The DVD has acceptable video and audio. No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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