Next of Kin (1989) (NTSC)

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Released 13-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 108:12
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By John Irvin
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Patrick Swayze
Liam Neeson
Adam Baldwin
Helen Hunt
Bill Paxton
Ben Stiller
Andreas Katsulas
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Jack Nitzsche


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
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

     Anyone looking for a formulaic revenge story need look no further than Next of Kin. The story revolves around Truman Gates (Patrick Swayze), a Chicago cop searching for his brother's murderer. I am still trying to understand why Truman's brother, Gerald (Bill Paxton), was murdered in the first place!

    In any case, Truman's family get tired of waiting for the police to find the killer and so take matters into their own hands. Truman's other brother, Briar (Liam Neeson), goes to Chicago to provide justice in the good old-fashioned hillbilly way. Needless to say, things don't go smoothly and the movie climaxes with a ridiculous battle between the hillbillies and the gangsters, complete with crossbows.

    The only point of interest that I could find with this movie was to recognise the number of fairly big-name actors that appear in this movie. Truman's wife Jessie is played by Helen Hunt, in a somewhat useless role (what does a violinist have to do with anything in this movie?!). Ben Stiller plays the son of the gangster boss, and it was surprising to see him in a non-comedic role.

    Only die-hard Patrick Swayze fans would enjoy this movie.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality of this NTSC transfer is mediocre, at best, for this release.

    The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (probably Full Frame rather than Pan&Scan) and is not 16x9 enhanced. I can't seem to find any information about the original aspect ratio, but assume that it would be 1.85:1. It is particularly disappointing to see that, after inserting the DVD, a notice is displayed stating that the film has been formatted to fit your TV screen. Well, if you have a 16x9 TV it certainly does not fit your TV screen!

    The sharpness level varies somewhat throughout the movie, with the last 2 minutes being particularly blurry. The print is quite soft and grainy at times. The movie has quite a number of dark scenes, and black level is not too bad, although sometimes things do get lost in the dark with mediocre shadow detail. There does not appear to be all that much low level noise which is a bonus.

    Colours are quite bad with this transfer. Skin-tones are far too over-saturated with Swayze (and others) sometimes looking a distinct shade of red.

    Edge enhancement pops up every now and then (eg. a distinct halo can be seen around Swayze as he stands against the window at 3:50). Aliasing also appears, particularly around buildings and railway lines. I initially reviewed the disc using the interlaced settings on my DVD player and TV. I switched to the progressive settings, and only noticed a minimal improvement in clarity. Aliasing appeared to be reduced, but all other issues remained.

    No subtitles are provided with this disc.

    This is not an RSDL-formatted disc, and therefore there is no layer change.

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

Audio

    An English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192Kb/s) audio track is provided. I recommend that those with Dolby Prologic II processing make use of it, as it will provide some semblance of a surround soundfield.

    The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand. There were some issues with audio synchronisation, but these are due to some rather bad ADR work. One particular example at 6:50 had Swayze shouting words but his mouth was clearly not moving at all.

    The music score by Jack Nitzsche is not bad, with some old-fashioned country fiddle tunes that suited the hillbilly nature of the characters. The opening credits surprised with the score emanating quite nicely from the surrounds.

    Surround activity during the movie is erratic, with some instances of activity and others with no activity at all. A number of instances are quite good, such as the music in the opening credits and the truck going by at 14:58. However, there are times when the surround activity does not match the on-screen action. One example is at 30:46 where an arrow is fired on-screen but the sound emanates from the surrounds. Due to the lack of activity during other parts of the movie, these instances of activity do draw attention to themselves.

    The subwoofer was not called into action all that much during the movie.

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

Extras

     There are no extras on this disc.

R4 vs R1

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

    The R4 and R1 releases appear to be identical, so I have no preference for one over the other.

Summary

    I must say that I did not enjoy this movie, and for an action flick actually found it rather boring. The acting was quite bad, and the only "value" for me was to see actors such as Helen Hunt, Ben Stiller, and Liam Neeson back in the old days. Only die-hard Patrick Swayze fans will enjoy this movie.

    The video quality is disappointing and mediocre at best.

    The audio quality is average.

    No extras are provided.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Chanh-Khai Ly (My biodegradable bio)
Monday, April 07, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP500, using Component output
DisplayRK-32HDP81. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD/DD-EX/DTS/DTS-ES matrix and discrete.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600
SpeakersKef KHT 2005 5.1 Home Theatre System

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