Security (Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 7-Feb-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Featurette-Behind The Scenes-'Security:' Behind the Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 91:32
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Alain Desrochers
Studio
Distributor

Universal Sony
Starring Antonio Banderas
Ben Kingsley
Liam McIntyre
Katherine de la Rocha
Cung Le
Chad Lindberg
Jiro Wang
Gabriella Wright
Shari Watson
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $24.95 Music FM Le Sieur


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    A modestly-budgeted, old-fashioned R-rated actioner with a Die Hard-esque narrative, Security gets enough right to justify a recommendation for movie-goers who enjoy genre flicks from the ’80s and ’90s. It’s basically Die Hard meets Assault on Precinct 13 in a shopping mall (shades of Dawn of the Dead?), and it is overly predictable, but director Alain Desrochers compensates for the picture’s formulaic construction by infusing the material with zest and verve. Created for a meagre $15 million, Security is more purely enjoyable than any number of blockbusters that cost three or four times as much - and it’s a nice alternative in an age where big-budget superhero films rule the box office on a consistent basis. In addition, Security is more than just another cheap, nasty direct-to-video action flick; it’s surprisingly well-made and deserves more fanfare than it received.

    A U.S. Military veteran who attained the rank of Captain, Eddie Deacon (Antonio Banderas) is desperate for employment. Despite being overqualified for minimum wage jobs, Eddie eagerly accepts a lowly position as a mall security guard in a rough neighbourhood to pay the bills and potentially allow him to reunite with his wife and daughter. Meeting shift supervisor Vance (Liam McIntyre) and the three other guards on shift, the night soon takes a turn for the worst when a teenage girl named Jamie (Katherine Mary de la Rocha) pounds on the door, pleading for protection. Not far behind is a team of armed mercenaries led by Charlie (Ben Kingsley), who seek to eliminate Jamie before she can testify at trial. Choosing to put his life on the line to protect Jamie, Eddie takes charge, whipping his fellow security officers in shape as they set up makeshift defences with whatever supplies they can find.

    The screenplay by Tony Mosher (Mechanic: Resurrection) and John Sullivan (Recoil) is almost defiantly uncomplicated, eschewing subplots and drama to focus on action and narrative velocity. The idea is introduced that one of the security guards might betray Eddie for the sake of money or wanting to save their own bacon, but it’s not followed through, which does feel like a case of Chekov’s Gun failing to go off. In addition, clichés fly thick and fast, with Eddie depicted as a salt-of-the-earth, hard-working veteran who was dealt a rough hand, while Charlie is out-and-out evil. Do not expect any emotional resonance or thematic underpinnings either, and of course the movie is silly at times - characters rarely reload or seem to run out of ammo, people do contrived things which gets them killed, certain timings are very convenient, and so on. Still, pacing is assured (Security runs a lean 88 minutes), and there are a few tense scenes, such as when Charlie first meets the security staff face-to-face and Eddie suspects that not everything is as it seems.

    Director Desrochers does not have any substantial credits on his résumé, but he acquits himself commendably with the material, making the most of the reported $15 million budget. Without any noticeable or phoney-looking CGI to spoil the old-school vibe, Desrochers relies on stunt-work, actual fire, practical blood squibs and blank-firing weapons, making Security feel like a lost gem from the early ’90s. (It is a bit of a shame that it was shot digitally, rather than on film.) Action scenes are brutal, visceral and taut, while Banderas proves that he is still an adept physical performer even though he’s in his 50s. However, the central mall lacks visual appeal and creativity. Whereas the high-rise Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard became its own distinctive character, the mall here simply looks like a soundstage, basic and generic, lacking its own identity. The security office is admittedly nicely-designed, but the rest looks hopelessly bland, which is the only aspect of the production where the restricted budget is apparent. However, Desrochers at least does a sufficient job of masking the fact that the flick was shot in Bulgaria.

    Working to redeem himself after his atrociously cartoonish and grating performance in 2014’s The Expendables 3, Banderas is down-to-earth as the John McClane type, coming across as human whilst also emerging as a believable action hero. Banderas has become somewhat of a low-budget action luminary - I mean, in 2017 alone he featured in Acts of Vengeance, Gun Shy, and Bullet Head, as well as Security - and he plays this type of role well. He certainly puts more effort into his movies than Steven Seagal. Meanwhile, Kingsley does what he can with what amounts to a bog-standard villain role, coming across as sinister enough even though he does overact. As young Jamie, the inexperienced Rocha noticeably struggles from time to time - she makes a fair few of her lines sound scripted, as if she was reading them from a cue card. It’s not always a big issue, but she isn’t as natural as the remainder of the cast. Luckily, Eddie’s co-workers are believable and naturalistic for the most part, and ensure that they can be told apart from one another, though none of them exactly stand out.

    Security doesn’t reinvent the genre, nor does it try to do anything groundbreaking - the movie is content to be an entertaining if predictable collection of clichés. Perhaps mercifully, Desrochers never attempts any over-the-top set-pieces or moments that would be beyond the constraints of the budget - action scenes are athletic but grounded, and the climactic showdown amounts to a nail-biting mano a mano confrontation that’s effective without being lathered in extensive digital effects. (Even if the moment itself is a blatant Die Hard rip-off.) Despite its silly moments and instances of shonky acting, Security delivers what it promises on the tin - it’s an undemanding old-school pizza and beer flick, in the same vein as something like The Last Stand or The Expendables.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Security was captured digitally (IMDb lists an Arri Alexa camera), and is presented here on Blu-ray framed at its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Placed on a single-layered BD-25, the AVC-encoded 1080p presentation is mastered with a so-so bitrate which averages at 24 Mbps, and the results are fine considering the modest budget of the movie. Having originally checked out the flick via a compressed Netflix stream, this Blu-ray is an appreciative upgrade, with the strong encode doing quite well with the low-budget source. Since it was shot with Arri cameras, clarity is excellent and textures are strong across the board, with ample fine detail visible on skin and clothing. Close-ups of Kingsley and Banderas, for instance, look excellent, even under lower light. Sharpness, too, is consistently pleasing, allowing you to discern every individual hair on Kingsley's stubble, and object delineation is superb no matter the lighting conditions. Medium shots of Jamie and Eddie in the hospital towards the end of the movie look particularly excellent, as bright sunlight shines through nearby windows.

    I do often bemoan the lack of High Dynamic Range on standard Blu-ray, which has a limited colour space and can look so good. Although it might be nice to view Security with Dolby Vision HDR, the colours still look sufficient on this Blu-ray. Skin tones are accurate, Jamie's pink jacket is nicely brought out, and the picture is often bathed in teal during scenes inside the mall without lights. The only real shortcoming of the presentation is that it lacks a definitive pop of fine detail to raise it to the level of reference quality, and the picture could probably stand to be just a touch better resolved. Source noise is kept to a minimum and it's apparent that the movie was captured and completed at 2K resolution, and it therefore does have a tendency to look just a touch smooth and flat, particularly under lower light which is where 1080p transfers usually struggle. Still, the presentation is thankfully never smeary; it looks stable even in long shots and motion shots. The encode does fall victim to some minor banding when light sources are used in dark scenes which is almost to be expected, but the presentation is otherwise free of encoding anomalies like macroblocking and aliasing.

    The American release is reportedly a dual-layered BD-50, though I have not watched it and I cannot find any information about the bitrate. Likewise, the movie was released on Blu-ray by Arrow in the United Kingdom, but I do not have it on hand to compare. Nevertheless, it's hard to imagine the quality looking significantly better unless there was a 4K Blu-ray release, which is unlikely. All things considered, Security looks fine on Blu-ray without emerging as demo material, and I have no real complaints.

    Only English subtitles are available. The subtitle track is surprisingly detailed, with "um"s and "uh"s, and I had no issues reading it.

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

Audio

    The disc's sole audio option is a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track, which is another appreciable upgrade compared to the Netflix stream that I originally viewed. Even despite its meagre budget, Security features a robust, professionally-mixed 5.1 audio track, boasting pristine clarity and workmanlike dynamic range. First things first, I never had any issues hearing the dialogue, as there are no problems with prioritisation despite the loud gunfire, music and explosions. The subwoofer is often up to the task, accentuating the impact whenever firearms are discharged or a Molotov cocktail is thrown. Bullet hits are likewise impactful, whether a bullet is hitting a person or a wall. Admittedly, some of the pistol fire lacks a bit of punch at certain times, but that's actually more realistic. Happily, it's certainly deafening when, say, a flaming couch is thrown down onto a vehicle to dissuade Charlie's men from sieging the mall.

    In terms of surround channel activity, Security does come up a little short at certain times. Though sounds of rainfall do fill the rear channels, it's not as immersive as perhaps it should be. In addition, during the initial motorcade shootout, I did feel a bit underwhelmed - at no point do you feel as if gunfire is all around you, as virtually all gunshots are diegetic. However, other sequences fare better - when armed gunmen begin opening fire at the mall as Ruby tries to draw their fire elsewhere, some of the sound effects come from the rear channels. Still, I didn't notice a great deal of precise placement or panning effects. On a more positive note, environmental atmospherics are present, and music fills all channels, making the track feel full. In addition, thanks to the lossless encoding, there is nothing in the way of drop-outs or clicks, nor are there any sync issues.

    Despite its (presumably source-related) shortcomings, Security still sounds satisfying on Blu-ray.

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

Extras

    One behind-the-scenes featurette. What a d*** shame. But then again, we should be thankful this even got a disc release at long last since it has been available to stream on Netflix for months.

Security: Behind the Scenes (HD; 8:06)

    Basically all of the primary cast and crew drop in for this brief EPK-style behind-the-scenes featurette, which briefly touches upon the origins of the project as well as the production process. It's definitely nice to see real blank-firing weapons and pyrotechnics being used during the on-set footage.

R4 vs R1

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

    The American release (also from Universal) contains the same lone featurette, and nothing else. As far as I can tell, no other release contains additional supplemental material. However, I have now ascertained that the American release has a different video codec with a considerably higher video bitrate (averaging 32 Mbps). It’s up to you which version you prefer, but I’ll be sticking with the region-free American disc.

Summary

    Security is one for the Blu-ray shelf if you like simple, old-school action movies. It won't appeal to everybody, but I enjoyed the hell out of it.

    The Blu-ray from Universal Sony features perfectly adequate video and audio, but it's a shame the disc is so light on extras. This one gets a light recommendation, but at sale price.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Friday, February 16, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDLG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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