Federal Protection (2002)

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Released 5-Dec-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 89:51
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Anthony Hickox
Studio
Distributor

Imagine Entertainment
Starring Armand Assante
Angela Featherstone
Dina Meyer
David Lipper
Case Click
RPI ? Music Steve Porcaro


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown 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

    Federal Protection is one of those alternates you rent on a 2-for-1 night at the local video store. It has that B-grade quality to it, yet sometimes it happens to be better than the supposedly big name video you've just hired, but only sometimes. Surprising thing about the movie is that it does have some very good quality to it. Low-budget it may be, but there is nothing low budget about the way it is presented and it is very watchable. Script-wise this isn't going to set the world on fire, as a matter of fact it is downright farcical at times (a mob guy, in witness protection, goes back and blows up his old scrap metal yard, letting his old crew see him? duh!). The acting isn't great either, but it isn't dreadful by any means. This direct-to-video effort was certainly entertaining enough for its nearly 90 minutes.

    Frank Carbone (Armand Assante) is forcibly retired by his boss, 'Tight Lips' Pagnozzi, a Chicago mobster who wants all of his assets. Unfortunately the two hit men who attempt to take him out after he is setup by his own crew fail to get the job done, and Frankie ends up in the Witness Protection Program. After moving him around for a couple of years, he is finally given a new identity of Howard Akers and put into a local community in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he becomes the focus of his neighbour from across the road, Leigh Kirkendall (Angela Featherstone), who has problems of her own. Believing her husband, Dennis (David Lipper), is having an affair, she goes out of her way to be friendly, with calamitous results. Late one night while watching TV, Leigh spots a news item on the death of a couple in Salt Lake City, one of them an ex-mobster, and a picture is shown of his associate, Frank Carbone, whom Leigh identifies immediately (which isn't that hard to be honest) as her new neighbour and friend.

   Inadvertently she blurts out the knowledge to her husband, who then tells his new girlfriend, Leigh's sister Boostie Cavender (Dina Meyer). Between the two of them they discuss cashing in on the $1m bounty money being offered by the mob, but initially dismiss it as impossible. This all changes when Leigh, finally discovering who her husband has been seeing, decides to take matters into her own hands and rearranges her husband's nose with a golf club. After this Dennis and Boostie come up with an ill-conceived plan to get the money and give up Frank's whereabouts, but matching wits with the bad guys doesn't turn out to be that simple and things quickly go wrong. Meantime, Frank is planning on a quick escape should it be needed, including setting up a new identity, but a relationship starts between him and Leigh, complicating matters.

   Like I said, I've seen a lot better, but it is entertaining, decent quality and there is something masochistic about watching the occasional B-grade movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Good quality for the most part with only very minor problems.

    This is offered up in letterboxed 1.75:1 aspect ratio and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is generally good with only long background shots and the occasional frame blurring out for the most part. No obvious edge enhancement was noticed for a very clean picture. Shadow detail is reasonably good, with good depth to the picture for the most part and a fair amount of detail visible even in the darkest scenes. Grain was minimal for an overall quality boost and no low level noise was noticed during the movie.

    Colour is very natural with a good palette in use. No colour bleed or chroma noise was noticeable and skin tones were excellent.

    Compression artefacts are fairly rare and minimal. There is some slight shimmering during the movie but no full blown aliasing was noted. The only moiré artefact to be really noticeable is at 22:53 (on the corrugated side of the junkyard shed) which is the same time as the only film artefact that was noticeable in the middle of the picture (small white fleck). Apart from this few problems were noted except for a slight pause at 76:51, but that could have been my player since this is not an RSDL disc.

    There were no subtitles on this disc.

    This is a single layered disc.

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

Audio

    The only audio track on this disc is listed as a Dolby Digital 5.1 track at 448 kilobits per second. Not surprisingly this is a very front-heavy soundtrack with little immersiveness from the rears and only the odd, occasional interruption from the subwoofer. There is good separation across the fronts with some solid quality to it. The best moments in the movie are the explosions in the junkyard and the sounds of the machine guns.

    No problems with the dialogue or the syncing that I could detect, with good articulation from the main characters helping out immensely without the aid of subtitles.

    The music is credited to Steve Porcaro with additional music by Tom Batoy and Franco Tortora (uncredited). Surprisingly good, as the music follows the action nicely and becomes neither too overbearing or highly noticeable, which is quite rare for this type of movie.

    Although listed as a 5.1 soundtrack you'll be hard pressed to get much out of the surrounds on this movie. They are there, they are working, but the sheer presence of the fronts all but negates any impact they might have.

    Every now and then the subwoofer springs into life and adds some additional bass work. It's rare, but a typical example is at 40:20 at the race track and the thundering of the trotters.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The three options on the main menu, Play Movie, Select Scene and Trailer all offer inserts from the movie. The audio is a 50 second loop of the main title track.

Theatrical Trailer

    Offered up in full frame, this 2:13 trailer is typical of this sort of movie in that the sequencing of events is totally out of whack with what occurs in the movie. The trailer is fairly blurry but free of most artefacts.

R4 vs R1

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

   Some big differences here. The Region 1 is listed as 1.33:1 aspect ratio (no information as to whether it's Pan&Scan/Full Frame or Letterboxed, but assume the worst) and offers no extras but Spanish subtitles. It also comes with a 'low rent' Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. We, on the other hand get a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack at 448kb/s, letterboxed 1.75:1 aspect ratio, one trailer and no subtitles. Therefore I'd give it to our R4 release by a big margin.

Summary

    Typical direct-to-video offering with some quality in the production, a decent cast and the normal amount of ridiculousness to the plot. Quality actors can't save bad material, but they made a decent fist of it and the whole thing is quite entertaining, although the part about "edge of your seat" on the back cover blurb is missing the line "as you reach for your next stubby to numb your brain".

    Good video, with only minor problems and few artefacts make it at least a pleasant watching experience. This is no superbit presentation, but I've seen a lot worse in my time.

    The audio is surprisingly good, all things considered. The addition of the 5.1 soundtrack was a bonus compared to the Region 1, although it isn't earth shattering.

    Extras are minimal as you'd expect on a rental-only copy at this time.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Monday, January 20, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD5300, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

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