State Property (2002)

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Released 4-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-The Wash; Liberty Stands Still
Menu Animation & Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Audio Commentary
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 84:02
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:39) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Malik Abdul Abbott
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Beanie Sigel
Omillio Sparks
Memphis Bleek
Damon Dash
Sundy Carter
Tyran Smith
D Nice
Jay Z
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Gregory Darryl Smith
Abdul Malik Abbott
Evan Eder


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, and drug use.
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Roc-A-Wear shirts
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Get down or lay down - and if you lay down, you stay down.

    Word up Dog! I be down wit my homies chillin' in the Melbourne ghetto. My ho she be back at my crib fixin' me up a 8-ball and some Chrystal. For those of you who understood what I was helplessly trying to say, please read on. You may have guessed that this be a movie by homeboys for homeboys. For those of you whose first, second or third language is English, you may wish to watch a different movie.

     Beans (Beanie Sigel) is a thick, sullen, arrogant young thug, growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in Philadelphia (although actually filmed in New Jersey). He aspires to develop his career in his chosen field of Cocaine Distribution Executive. The hours are long, but there's a great camaraderie, you get to blow people away and the upgrade path for the company vehicles is well defined. From an initial Ford Explorer (with cheap cloth trim) to a Lincoln Navigator (nice car), on to a Range Rover and if your earning potential is fully realised you can finally achieve the GMC Suburban.

    In order to facilitate his upward mobility, he recruits a number of personal assistants, who manage his diary, kill his competitors and remove bloodstains from his oversized T-shirts. Soon young Beans is able to become his own boss, dealing directly with the primary distributors in Florida. As any young businessman knows, it is important to protect your market share aggressively - admittedly not usually with a Glock 9mm automatic pistol. Following a detailed SWOT analysis, Beans ensures that there are no new entrants to his chosen market sector, before continuing his expansion into the territories of other similar young executives. With the industry being heavily alpha-male dominated, Beans is required to put up with a number of dubious business tactics from his competitors - such as the kidnapping of his girlfriend. Ultimately, due to Beans' disrespect for established market segmentation, he soon runs into trouble from the ACCC... I mean the DEA, and his competitors cry foul about his anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions strategy.

    Inevitably, Beans falls victim to his own lack of detailed strategic business planning. With the survival of a not-quite-dead uncooperative franchisee, the kidnapping of his girlfriend and the aggressive wealth-redistribution strategy of his rivals all converging, it soon becomes time for Beans to change business direction and seek a sabbatical - for 25 to life - to rethink his strategy .

    I started to watch this film with low, low expectations and came away pleasantly surprised. Whilst it is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, it is gritty and, to me at least, seemed quite credible. Given that it was a low-budget film, I thought the production team put in a very good effort and for its type, I am sure that it can hold its head up pretty high.

    State Property is a vehicle for the music label Roc-A-Fella to provide film-making opportunities for many of its executives and recording artists, and a chance to deck out every second actor in Roc-A-Wear T-shirts! OK, I admit it, the acting is generally of a very low (read amateur) standard - but it is never awful. I think I have never heard so many expletives uttered in one film, so for this reason and the graphic violence, this is not one for the youngsters in the family.

    There is barely a likeable character in the entire film, and with that in mind, the fact it kept me entertained until the end suggests there has to be something going for this flick. The locations are evocative, the mood is suitably oppressive with a constant undercurrent of violence and there is even a subtle twist introduced at the end. Of course, it may have something to do with the gratuitous partial nudity also. I have spent time watching far worse movies than this one. Mindless, violent but vicarious entertainment. Respect!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall video transfer of this disc is reasonably good, with no major defects.

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 which is almost the same as the (assumed) 1.85:1 original theatrical ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer has some fairly noticeable grain evident, especially against light coloured backgrounds. It is acceptably sharp in most shots. Shadow detail is generally good and the darker scenes exhibit solid blacks with no noticeable low-level noise evident.

    Colours are rather good and fully saturated with no evidence of colour bleeding. Skin tones are fine throughout.

    The transfer has no major MPEG artefacts, but minor pixelization does crop up occasionally. Aliasing is present, but is minor and never distracting (for example on the car chrome and weatherboard houses at 15:00). There is no significant edge enhancement present. There is a defect present around 25:10 where the backlighting of the characters from a window seems to make one of them appear translucent for a few seconds. This is similar to a "lens flare" and is puzzling if not overly distracting. There are a few trivial film artefacts present as small white specks, but again these are not a significant issue.

    There are no subtitle tracks present, which is a shame for any English speaking viewers. The availability of subtitles for anyone who hasn't grown up "in the Hood" would be a boon.

    This is an RSDL disc with the brief layer change extremely well placed at 60:39, during a fade-to-black scene transition.

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

Audio

    The overall audio quality of this disc is good. There are no significant audio defects.

    There are two English audio tracks available. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 track (448 kbps) in full and sampled the Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (224 kbps). Both were acceptable, but the 5.1 track has much more depth and separation.

    Dialogue was frequently unintelligible due to the impenetrable accents and endless slang. I suspect it doesn't actually matter what the characters are saying much of the time; the dialogue is far less potent than the attitude. The actual sound quality was fine and audio synch was not a problem.

    The original music is credited to Gregory Darryl Smith, Evan Eder and Abdul Malik Abbott. Beanie Sigel sings a number of modern urban American folk songs those young folk seem to like. The hip-hop scene is not my bag, but I found the soundtrack very fitting with the visuals and totally in keeping with the confronting feel of the film.

    The soundstage is quite enveloping during the musical numbers, with the surrounds used to provide musical and occasional subtle ambient support. Otherwise, the surrounds are not heavily utilised.

    The subwoofer, unsurprisingly, was used heavily for the thumping bass beats whilst not making a nuisance of itself at other times.

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

Extras

    There is a reasonable selection of extras on this disc.

Menu

    The menu is a static photograph of da Boyz. It is accompanied by a pleasant hip-hop ditty. It allows the selection of audio options, extra features, playing the movie or your selection of one of eighteen delicious chapter stops. Before the main feature begins, you are "treated" to several minutes of full screen trailers for The Wash and Liberty Stands Still - whether you like it or not.

Theatrical Trailer

    Running for (1:23) and presented full screen at 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack (224 kbps). It is of course not 16x9 enhanced.

Deleted Scenes

    Running for (9:26) these scenes present more of the same. They don't really detract from the film by their absence - although I'm not entirely sure what they were saying during most of the scenes!

Behind the Scenes Featurette

    Presented in varying ratios (full screen and letterboxed 1.78:1) and not 16x9 enhanced with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at 224 kbps. This feature shows some footage from...behind the scenes. Rehearsals are shown, interspersed with the equivalent scene from the finished film. Some general mugging and tomfoolery completes this vaguely interesting piece. The unintelligible accents seem to be genuine by the way!

The Abbott Feature Commentary

    Presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 224 kbps, this is a fairly interesting listen. Director Abdul Malik Abbott is a well-spoken guy - somewhat surprising given the nature of his movie and the Roc-A-Fella vibe. He provides a good insight into the locations, the actors and some of the constraints of working with a very limited budget. Amazingly, during Beans' daughter's birthday party scene, they could not afford to pay the licensing fees to use the song Happy Birthday to You and instead had to make do with a small cheer and a polite round of applause. (Trivia alert: Happy Birthday to You generates over $2 million US per year in royalties).

R4 vs R1

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

    Given that the introduction contains an anti-piracy advertisement covering Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK I would assume this is identical to the Region 2 release. The Region 1 version of this DVD appears to be very similar to our own, although it does list "3 Music Videos" as an additional extra. Therefore I would suggest the Region 1 version is slightly ahead by a nose.

Summary

    State Property is worth an evening's rental if you want a violent taste of the American gangsta scene. The acting is poor, but the story is reasonable. The swearing, mumbled dialogue and violence blend together in a hypnotic way - it sucked me in for the brief running time. If you wear trousers that constantly hover two inches below the waistband of your jocks, joggers larger than the Amoco Cadiz and have a penchant for garish jewellery then this will be right up your alley. The director himself says in the commentary that this was supposed to be the "hip-hop Sopranos" crossed with "70s blaxploitation" - a fair enough summary for me. Word!

    The video quality is good for a low budget movie.

    The audio quality is pretty good - especially if you like hip-hop type vibes.

    The extras are better than a Glock 9mm to the temple.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Saturday, June 07, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-47P500H 47" Widescreen RPTV. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationONKYO TX-DS484
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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