Battle: New York Day II (2011) (NTSC)

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Released 21-May-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Audio Commentary-Cast and Crew
Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 95:01 (Case: 94)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5 Directed By Andrew Bellware
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Tina Tanzer
David Ian Lee
Nat Cassidy
Thomas Rowen
Danielle Quisenberry
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music None Given


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 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

     Laura (Tina Tanzer) is a mental ward patient having hallucinations and constantly hearing voices in her head. One day gigantic flashes decimate the population of New York and Laura is knocked unconscious. When she awakes the streets are deserted except for a huge, mechanised revolving wheel type contraption, plus people who have been turned into zombies and are out for her blood. Laura is rescued by Neil (Nat Cassidy) and they join a group hiding in a basement that consists of ex-soldier Steady (David Ian Lee), Eric (Thomas Rowen) and Jean (Danielle Quisenberry); the only thing all five share is that they each have psychiatric problems. It seems that aliens have invaded the Earth and are using a form of mind mapping to destroy the human population. The only humans immune to the aliens are those with mental illnesses; they have survived but the aliens are in the process of catching these survivors and turning them into zombies.

     It becomes apparent that the alien machines and the zombies are being controlled by someone, or something, nearby, so the group decide to fight back, venturing out onto the deserted streets to find and destroy the controller. But it seems that Neil knows far more about the aliens than he is prepared to reveal and that Laura may be very special indeed and hold the key to stopping the alien invasion.

     Battle: New York, Day II is a very low budget science fiction film from director Andrew Bellware that has the lowest customer rating (1.9 / 10) on the IMDb of any film I have reviewed for the MichaelDVD site. Obviously Bellware did not let this rating faze him: his next project Android Insurrection (2012) rates lower at 1.8/10 before his Prometheus Trap (2012) reached the dizzy heights of 2.6/10. So is Battle: New York, Day II that bad. Mostly, yes, it is pretty bad, although there are some redeeming features and it is not the worst film I have seen.

     It is probably more difficult to make sci-fi films on a tiny budget than some other genres unless the action takes place in a very confined space or the acting and scripting are good. An alien invasion scenario does require some spectacle, but in Battle: New York, Day II this is handled by flashes of light and a couple of mechanised aliens. As well, the zombies are ponderous and slow, the scripting ludicrous, the dialogue inane, the acting stilted, the fights shonky and the CGI blood and explosion cheap. There are only a few locations, such as a bridge which turns up regularly even when there is no-one on it, and the film spends a lot of time in deserted streets with people just walking around while the camera lingers on feet or the pavement. The direction and camera work are film school, with a jerky, constantly moving camera even in static dialogue scenes, jump cuts and fades, as well as deliberate focus, colour and contrast changes that become distracting.

     And yet. Battle: New York, Day II has some interesting ideas, however poorly explained, and the mechanised aliens look OK when they appear and certainly are better than the humanoid aliens of other low budget films. Tina Tanzer, when she is not walking around, does made something of her role and her corny lines, while the film does manage, almost in spite of itself, to build tension as it moves towards a climax that is powerful and quite sad.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Battle: New York, Day II is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a heavily manipulated print. It is sharp and reasonably detailed, the blacks are solid and shadow detail fine. In most scenes the colours have been taken out and the brightness levels enhanced, which makes it look over-exposed and leads to a print that often looks greyish and white; this also affects skin tones and contrast.

     There was ghosting with movement but otherwise artefacts and marks were not evident.

     There are no subtitles.

     The layer change took place in a fade to black so was not disruptive.

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

Audio

     The audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 at a low 192 Kbps. It is not surround encoded.

     This was a very busy audio track with constant noise across the front speakers. Many scenes featured the whispers and voices in Laura’s head, others an industrial rumble of the mechanical aliens, others the sound of the wind. With all this noise dialogue was occasionally hard to hear. Effects, such as gunshots, were understandably dull and flat. There was no surround or subwoofer use.

     The music is uncredited and was pretty innocuous.

     There were no lip synchronisation issues.

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

Extras

Cast and Crew Commentary

     Director Andrew Bellware, producer Laura Schlachtmeyer, cast Nat Cassidy, David Ian Lee and zombie / boom operator David Frey sit together, laugh, drink, talk over each other, swear, tell jokes, make inane comments and occasionally discuss the picture, including visual effects, costumes and guns. They have fun anyway but it would have been nice to find out more about low budget filmmaking.

Film Trailer (0:54)

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region 0 US release of Battle: New York-Day 2 is listed as being in the cropped ratio of 1.77:1 and has no extras. There is a Region 0 UK release as well, but I have found no details. For those with Blu-ray capacity, a Region B German release is available in the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with the original English audio plus a German dub. For DVD, our Region All release in the correct ratio is the best.

Summary

     Battle: New York, Day II is a film that throws together an alien invasion of New York and zombies, where the only hope for the survival of the Earth is a group of people with psychiatric problems. Low, low budget and flawed execution spoil some interesting ideas, but this is still not as bad as the customer rating in IMDb suggests.

     The video is a mixed bag, the audio functional and only stereo. Extras are a trailer and a cast and crew commentary, so at least there are some.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Tuesday, September 09, 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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