24 Hours in London (2000)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 86:33 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alexander Finbow
Studio
Distributor
One World Films
Imagine Entertainment
Starring Gary Olsen
John Sharian
David Sonnethal
Tony London
Luke Garrett
Sara Stockbridge
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Rental Music Edmund Butt


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 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

"It's gang warfare...every second kills"

    Despite what anyone says, crime does pay, and quite handsomely at that. The trafficking of black market body parts is big business in London and Christian (the late Gary Olsen) has a sizeable slice of the market. Wishing to capitalize on his business, Christian has worked at 'reducing' the local competition and cornering the local market with a view to then merging his business with an American company under the leadership of Ms. Lloyd. But there might be a sticking point in the whole upcoming transaction, with a lone witness to a brutal slaying by Christian under police protection. If the witness is allowed to testify against Christian and his gang, the whole U.S. / U.K. merger will be off the cards and everyone will be out of pocket, and Christian isn't about to let this happen. Ms. Lloyd has entrusted her representative Tony (John Sharian) to oversee Christian's operation pre-takeover and more clearly understand the British way of business.

    Knowing that Christian's gang will attempt to silence the witness at any cost, the police have taken Antonia into protective custody, but this is quickly tested as Christian sends his most lethal henchmen, the lovers Richard and Simone, into the police house to silence the witness. When this fails, the police decide to move Antonia to the safety of a large and very public hotel where the criminals will be less likely to launch a further assault. But things are about to get complicated as two organ jackers working for Christian are ensconced in the same hotel after a recent procurement. Passing themselves off as fellow police officers, the pair are in a perfect place to watch over the police operations and the threatening witness. And just when you think you've made sense of what's going on...bang! Everything is on its head and only at the end will you know what is really going on.

    While the producers may have had high hopes for this production, in the end what we get is some better than average straight-to-video fun. With the U.K. style gangster films all the rage at the moment, this film would be well poised to take advantage of the current climate that has seen Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch and Sexy Beast too many times and is looking for something else. Sadly, this film doesn't live up to the standards set by any of the above three films. Setting the film in the ubiquitous 'near future' (2009 to be exact) isn't enough to create a sufficiently interesting environment for our film. The whole future angle is lazily handled with only some supposedly whiz-bang PDAs and sometimes unusual attire the only signposts to what is apparently the future. There is no reason for this plot device to be used and it is used to such a slight extent as to be almost a distraction.

    The performances are adequate with the late Gary Olsen, who passed away in Melbourne, Australia in 2000 being the one stand-out during the film. He plays the well spoken and cultured bad guy well and when he says to his henchmen "No witnesses" you can almost imagine him saying to you "Look, I'm frightfully sorry, but you realize it's not personal, it's business" before slitting your throat. Sadly, the rest of the film's main performances fail to stack up. John Sharian's performance as the Yank checking out the Brit's operation is laughable with his accent stuck on the flight between London and New York. I don't see the reason you'd cast an Englishman in the role of an American when the person has the look of the tough Londoner personified. I kept waiting for him to come out and say that he was really a Brit who'd infiltrated the American operations. I'll be giving nothing away in saying that he isn't, he just really has a bad American accent. The rest of the cast are really nothing to jump up and down about with performances that work without drawing undue praise to themselves. One on-screen couple in this film that I did like was that of the lover/killers Richard and Simone played by Luke Garrett and Sara Stockbridge. While on screen for only a short time during the film, their passion for killing and each other was an interesting paradox in the vein of Mickey and Mallory in Natural Born Killers (1994) but without the character development to match.

    This film was a pet project of writer/director Alexander Finbow who has been interested in filmmaking since he saw Star Wars at the age of 5. With lots of hard work and determination he eventually was able to make this film, which had been in the works since 1997. While not award-winning cinema and certainly not a patch on the other low budget London gangster flick of the late 90s, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, this film fares much better that some of the straight to video dross that sometimes pervades the shelves at your local video store. If you are in the mood for some better-than-average light video entertainment, you could do much worse than this film. It has enough twists, turns and surprises to keep your attention and lots of funny dialogue to amuse you. If you can keep from being too critical you can enjoy this film, but just don't expect too much.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    While the video quality here is watchable, it is far from any sort of reference standard we have come to expect from the DVD format.

    The film is presented 1.33:1 full frame, which differs from its original (perhaps intended) theatrical format of 1.85:1. This feature was filmed in 35mm using a Spherical process and it is likely that the transfer we have here is an unmatted full frame transfer as I didn't see any obvious panning or scanning during the movie. This film transfers well to the small screen although it would have been nice to have this film presented in its original theatrical format (as always).

    The level of sharpness seen during this feature is reasonable with some faults that distract rather that obscure the film's transfer. I didn't have any issues with this feature in regards to shadow detail, although there were not many dark portions during the film with much of the action taking place during daylight hours. Low level noise was not a problem during the film.

    Colour use during the film was quite natural (except for the flashback sequences that are filmed with an exaggerated tapestry colour effect) with the image taking on sometimes a very muted or subdued look that mirrors the futuristic corporate look that the filmmakers were probably trying to achieve. Colour's portrayal on this disc is quite good with no real issues at all.

    For the most part, MPEG artefacts were no major problem during this feature. There is some very minor pixelization evident, but not to a distracting extent. There is quite a bit of edge enhancement to be seen during this film which was visible from the very first scenes. A standout example of this can be seen at 12:16 around the characters but it is visible throughout the film. Grain is also an issue, with a fairly noisy print used with problems visible at 3:13 on the wall. Film artefacts were pretty noticeable in places like 13:01, 15:20 and 20:36 and consist of large blemishes and bubbles on the film used to transfer this movie to DVD. These are not evident to a distracting extent, but they are quite noticeable throughout the film.

    There are no subtitles on offer with this disc. We do get the occasional subtitle for the various non-English portions of the film, but these are burned in.

    This disc is formatted as a single layer and as such, a layer change is not an issue.

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

Audio

    The audio provided on the disc is adequate for the film, but as is the case with the video transfer, this remains far from any sort of reference standard.

    There is only one audio option available on this disc, that being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded track.

    For the most part, the quality of the dialogue was reasonable. There was some very obvious ADR noticeable with a prime example at 30:06 where the character visibly stops speaking, but his voice continues. Otherwise, the spoken word is quite understandable during the feature and the audio sync is reasonable as well.

    The score for this film comes from television score composer Edmund Butt. His score is quite reasonable for this film and while it doesn't set the world on fire, it suits the material fairly well. Also heard during the film is music from popular acts such as Faithless, Headrillaz and Baby Fox as well as some compositions from Mozart. Overall, a decent musical package that a normal straight-to-video title might not enjoy.

    As we only have a 2.0 surround encoded track available here and not a full blown 5.1 mix, the surround activity will naturally be fairly constrained  This is indeed the case here with the rear channels providing mostly atmospheric support and never drawing attention to themselves.

    The subwoofer isn't heavily used during this film with most of the LFE coming in support of the main front channels during some of the action portions of the film along with some musical passages. As is the case with the surround channels, the subwoofer takes on a completely supporting role.

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

Extras

    We have a very basic package here with the only extra available being a theatrical trailer.

Menu

    After the usual copyright warnings and distributors logos, we are taken to the disc's main menu which offers us the following:     The Main Menu is animated and features audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

Theatrical Trailer   -   1:40

    The usual trailer that you'd probably see on a VHS tape before the start of some other straight-to-video feature. It presents the film in a good light and highlights some of the comedy aspects of the film. This trailer is presented full frame and features audio in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

R4 vs R1

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

   This title has been available in Region 1 since the middle of 2002. For all practical purposes, the package available in Region 1 is almost exactly the same as that released here in Region 4. The two main differences between the versions is that the Region 1 features Spanish subtitles and has more chapter stops (24 in Region 1 compared to 12 on the Region 4 disc). These are trifling differences and I'm inclined to call this one a draw. Strangely, I am unable to find any details on a Region 2 U.K. version of this film. A disc has been released in Region 2 Norway with what has been described as a Dolby Digital 4.0 audio mix, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Summary

 

     Probably the one thing that separates this film from the usual straight to video dross that is far too often seen is that this is a film that the director set out to make a reality. It is not some studio's attempt to make a quick buck by filming something just to have something to fill video store shelves with. As much as you might like to criticize this film, watching it shows that there was someone behind the scenes who really wanted to make this movie, that being the film's writer and director Alexander Finbow. No matter what, this film will probably be seen in the light of other British gangster films and, in direct comparison to them, this film probably doesn't stack up. But it does try its best and for that reason I'll commend it. Full of twists, turns, crosses and double-crosses, this is one film that you actually have to pay attention to, especially near the end. Nothing better to do and don't know what to watch? Give this one a go. You might be surprised. It is better than expected.

     The video is adequate with a full frame transfer on offer that suffers from a fairly large number of film artefacts and too much edge enhancement.

     The audio is workable with a simple 2.0 surround encoded mix on offer.

     The extras are thin on the ground with only a trailer on offer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Saturday, April 05, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD RA-61, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko TRW 325 / 32 SFT 10 76cm (32") 16x9. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2090
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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