On the Job (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 14-May-2014

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Making Of-(6:37)
Deleted Scenes-(37:52)
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 115:19
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Erik Matti
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Joel Torre
Gerald Anderson
Piolo Pascual
Joey Marquez
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Erwin Romulo III


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     On the Job starts with a hit on a man by two killers; Mario, known as Tatang (Joel Torre), and Daniel (Gerald Anderson). The two assassins are unusual; they are both prisoners in a Manilla gaol and after this politically motivated hit they are returned to the goal by their handlers. Investigating the murder, as well as other similar hits, is Sergeant Acosta (Joey Marquez) of the local police. But when the case is taken away from the police by the NBI (National Bureau of Investigations) and handed to officer Francis Coronal Jnr (Piolo Pascual), who is the son-in–law of a prominent Congressman, it seems that corruption and the ordering of murders goes right to the top of the Filipino government, police and army.

     On the Job is a Filipino crime drama which starts with a screen stating that the film is ‘inspired by true events” which is a very scary premise if even only part of this is true. Yet, while the film is an indictment of Filipino government and agencies, On the Job is compelling viewing because it focuses on four individuals on both sides of the law who are all realistic and flawed people with doubts, worries and concerns. The centre of the story is the aging Tatang, who is doing the hits to gain money to put his daughter through law college (irony there!). He has been training Daniel but is up for parole and has been told by his contact that he will not be employed as a hitman once he leaves the gaol, drying up his source of income. Francis, married to the daughter of a Congressman, learns that killings were ordered by political allies of his father-in-law and faces a crisis of conscience requiring him to choose between family and duty. Daniel has concerns about his mother and reconnecting to his girlfriend; perhaps the most uncomplicated of the quartet is Sergeant Acosta who just wants to bring criminals to justice.

     I am not aware of many Filipino films that have been released in this country recently, much less a tense and riveting crime drama like On the Job, which is a very pleasant surprise. Directed and co-written by Erik Matti, On the Job has excellent acting in all the major roles, with grizzled veteran Joel Torre, who has 156 credits currently listed on IMDb, outstanding as Tatang. The film has been shot with hand held, moving Red Epic digital cameras, with gritty, muted, almost overexposed colours plus close ups of faces to give the film that documentary feel, which is an overused technique currently but in this case works fairly well, with only a couple of sequences that feel too contrived. The action sequences however do suffer from this documentary feel; the editing is choppy, frenetic and chaotic and it is hard to see what is happening, especially as much of the action takes place in darkness or at night.

     Despite some reservations on a couple of the director’s artistic choices, On the Job is tense and compelling viewing with a storyline that does not quite go where one might expect. The final quarter of the film is powerful and produces a number of unexpected shocks; this is certainly not a feel good Hollywood effort with a formula happy ending. On the Job 2, with the director Erik Matti and star Joel Torre is currently in pre-production. That is something to look forward to.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     On the Job is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, which I suspect is the original theatrical ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code..

     As noted in the review, a feature of the film is the use of hand held, moving Red Epic digital cameras with gritty, muted, overexposed colours. A result is that this is a soft looking print: while close-ups on faces are sharp and nicely detailed, the backgrounds are soft and grainy while shadow detail is frequently poor. The choppy and frenetic editing in the action sequences, plus the indistinct shadow detail, means that it is often hard to see to see what is happening. The print also shows evidence of that digital yellow tinge with lights on skin tones, but otherwise skin tones are fine, blacks solid and brightness and contrast consistent, except in a few scenes with the light source behind the actor. However, I would think that this is more the way the film was shot than the Blu-ray authoring.

     Artefacts and marks are not evident.

    English subtitles are available in a smallish white font. They are in American English and, except for one typing error at 77:22just because you give s money”, were free of spelling or grammatical errors. The subtitles did remain on during the frequent sections of English dialogue, which was a bit annoying.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio choices are Filipino DTS- HD MA 5.1 and Filipino Dolby Digital 2.0, with frequent sections of English.

     This is a loud and aggressive audio mix. Dialogue was clear and centred while the rears and surrounds constantly carried music, weather effects such as rain and thunder, crowd noises, gunshots and ambient sound. In fact, the surrounds were seldom without some noise or effects. The subwoofer added effective bass to the music, gunshots and action.

     The original score by Erwin Romulo III was effective and it was augmented by a range of loud Filipino rock music by the likes of Bent Lynchpin, Caliph8, Fred Sandoval and Dong Abay.

    The lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Trailers

    These trailers play on start-up and can also be selected from the menu: Special ID (1:29), Confession of a Murderer (1:34) and Commitment (1:11). A Go Well US promotion (1:00) also plays on start-up.

Making Of (6:37)

     More an extended trailer and a promotion for the production company than a making of. It includes film footage, a little behind the scenes footage and interview snippets with the director and seven cast members, all in just over 6 minutes.

Deleted Scenes (37:37)

     There are 20 deleted scenes introduced by a text screen. Most are extended scenes rather than deleted scenes but the last is a long, over 10 minute, re-edit of an existing sequence. The audio is all in production sound, so it is variable, with clicks, cracks and different levels of sound.

Original Trailer (2:07)

R4 vs R1

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

     Our release is identical to the US version, including Go Well USA promotion and FBI anti-piracy warning.

Summary

     On the Job is a rare Filipino crime drama arriving here on Blu-ray. The film was apparently “inspired by true events” and it would have been good to have, perhaps in the extras, some information as to what actually happened. Nevertheless, it is an excellent film, tense and compelling and with a final quarter that is powerful and contains unexpected shocks. I enjoyed this film a lot and On the Job 2 will be something to look forward to.

     The video is dark but reflects the way the film was shot. The audio is loud and enveloping. The extras are not extensive, but we get the same as is available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, July 04, 2014
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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