Sabretooth (2002)

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Sell-Through Release Status Unknown
Available for Rent

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 86:59 (Case: 91)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By James D.R. Hickok
Studio
Distributor
International Film G
Imagine Entertainment
Starring David Keith
John Rhys-Davies
Vanessa Angel
Case Click
RPI Rental Music Igor


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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    When reasonably well-known actors get roped into doing something as silly as Sabretooth they are desperate for money, have a lousy agent or they wanted something to fill in the time between proper acting jobs. John Rhys-Davies isn't exactly your usual B-grade type actor, but then even Michael Caine ended up in a few real stinkers in his time.

    At a genetic research laboratory, a cleaner is cleaning the animal cages when he accidentally fails to properly lock a grille and a rather unique animal, a sabretooth, cloned from DNA, makes a tasty meal of him. Later, a truck making its way through the mountains carrying an unknown cargo crashes, releasing the giant cat allowing it to escape into the forest (but not before eating the driver, of course).

    At the Sierra Summer Camp, a training session for junior guides has been organised, lead by Casey Ballinger (Jenna Gering). Her four trainees are Trent (Josh Holloway), an ex-boyfriend who classifies her as an ice queen, Lola (Nicole Tubiola), Jason (Phillip Glaser), an asthmatic and Leon (Lahmard J. Tate). The five of them take off to spend a fortifying couple of days in the Sierra mountains learning bushcraft. At the same time, the head of the research facility, Catherine Viciy (Vanessa Angel), is offering that cloned tabby for sale to an unscrupulous businessman, Anthony Bricklin (John Rhys-Davies), but when the truck fails to appear they suspect the worst and are forced to call in a specialist hunter, Bob Thatcher (David Keith). Not wanting him to know the full truth, they tell him that a large cat has escaped into the mountains and they want him to capture it, alive. Meantime, the gigantic cat is stalking anything that lives on the mountain, including the intrepid guides, seeking out another meal or six.

    I think from here the rest of the story can be worked out. The only real suspense in this is 'who gets eaten first and who makes the biggest meal of their death scene?' (sic). There are so many clichés in this movie that it is hard to take it seriously and as soon as the sabretooth is seen in the flesh, so to speak, rolling on the floor in utter hilarity is permitted. I won't say the movie is a total stinker, because even though the plot is about as worn as 20 year old carpet it is reasonably competently carried off. Even Rhys-Davies has a couple of good one-liners, but overall this is a real popcorn and beer movie at the best.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Apart from the woeful CGI used to create the sabretooth tiger, the rest of the production in this movie is quite good. Based in forest-covered mountains, the look is very natural and well done. Just don't expect anything too spectacular from this obvious B-grade effort, although you won't find too many faults with it, either.

    The feature is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is nice and sharp from the onset and doesn't diminish at any stage. There is no noticeable edge enhancement except on the CGI rendered tabby cat, but you can forget that since it looks so unnatural you will hardly notice it. Shadow detail is excellent with lots of depth to the picture and sharply in-focus backgrounds offering a wide variety of diversity. Grain is nicely subdued and never an issue and low level noise doesn't rate a mention.

    The colours are very natural, with a wide palette in use - all the colours of nature, in fact. Skin tones are excellent, with no noticeable colour bleed or chroma noise. One fly in the ointment is the sabretooth. It is very obviously placed into the picture, especially since its colour is slightly bleached out compared to its surroundings.

    No obvious pixelization is noticeable, but some aliasing (eg: 5:55 along the lines of a truck) and moiré artefacts (same time, 5:55 on the front grille of the same truck) can be seen from time to time. Mostly it will be slight shimmering rather than full blown aliasing and it is only momentarily distracting. The occasional fleck or spot can be seen on the print (eg: 6:03) but mostly this is a very clean offering all round.

    There were no subtitles on this disc.

    There was no layer change on this disc.

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

Audio

    A surprisingly good soundtrack accompanies this movie. On offer is a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at a bitrate of 224 kilobits per second which actually sounds a lot better than most other audio tracks of similar rating. The sound is very solid throughout the movie with some real ferocity from time to time. There is good separation across the fronts for an excellent stereo effect and around the 27 minute mark a decent amount of bass can be heard, even though there was no real subwoofer activity noted.

    No problems with the dialogue or syncing were evident throughout the transfer.

    The music is credited to Igor Khoroshev, listed as just Igor on the slick. It's a fair effort, but no more, which blends nicely with the visuals and attempts to generate some interest with good use of effect sounds and that typical anticipatory music, but when the movie itself is so lame, it's hard for music alone to create any real tension.

    No surround or subwoofer activity were noted on this disc.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The movie's music overlays the menu which has an inset with scenes from the movie.

Theatrical Trailer

    With a running time of 1:43 in 4x3 Full Frame format, it's just enough to make you scared (of the movie that is!).

R4 vs R1

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

    Currently this movie doesn't appear to have been released on DVD in Region 1.

Summary

    Another very lightweight direct-to-DVD release with some good actors playing some rather lame roles. The plot is very weak with the usual lack of quality and the CGI is laughable at best. If you are desperate for something to watch then you may enjoy this.

    The video is very good to excellent apart from the really pathetic sabretooth CGI.

    The audio is merely adequate at best but does the job.

    The extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Tuesday, April 01, 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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