Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)

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Released 13-Aug-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-13:03
Listing-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer-2:20
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 87:26 (Case: 82)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Wych Kaosayananda
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Antonio Banderas
Lucy Liu
Gregg Henry
Ray Park
Talisa Soto
Miguel Sandoval
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Don Davis


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Had a rough week? Feel like something mindless, violent, and loud? Sort of like The Terminator, but not quite as intellectual? Have I got the film for you!

    Ballistic: Ecks vs Sever's most complicated part is the title. Well, not quite — it takes them a little while to get all their set-up done, and while they are doing so we are bombarded by a few more characters than usual. Things do get simpler as the movie progresses.

    The trailer and promo material write this up as a confrontation between two agents: Ecks (pronounced "X") (Antonio Banderas), who is ex-FBI, and Sever (Lucy Liu), who is ex-DIA. That's misleading. There are more than two sides involved in this one. We have DIA director Gant (Gregg Henry) and his main subordinate Ross (Ray Park), Gant's wife Vinn (Talisa Soto), and FBI assistant director Julio Martin (Miguel Sandoval) and his team. Plus a host of extras to get mown down in the cross-fire...

    Rarely will you see a film with a greater expenditure of ammunition and explosives per minute of film run-time. They've gone to considerable trouble to provide variety, too — we see a variety of pistols, sub-machine guns, full-sized machine guns, rifles, and some larger ordinance, including one I have trouble believing (I really doubt that a rocket-propelled projectile fired from a rifle-sized device would pack quite that much punch). There are some small explosions, and some really big ones (you'll see).

    Character development? Nah! Plot holes? Oh, yeah! Characters throwing away perfectly good guns so that we can have some hand-to-hand combat? Yep! I think we know exactly what kind of film we're watching here...

    The plot is basically an excuse to move our characters from one action sequence to the next, but that's cool — we've seen plenty of movies like that, and that's what we were expecting, right? Admittedly, there's some originality in the plot, but don't let that bother you. This is the perfect mindless action flick for the end of the week — kick back, pop a cold one, put your brain in neutral, and roll the film.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. That's the expected aspect ratio.

    The picture is sharp and clear — good quality stuff. Shadow detail is rather good. There's no significant film grain, but there is what looks like low-level noise on a couple of the night-time scenes, such as around 1:09.

    Colour is very good, with the few flashes of brightly-coloured objects looking good — the production design makes an awful lot of the things on-screen fairly dull in colour: there are lots of greys and blacks. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts of any consequence.

    There is some aliasing, but it looks really minimal on a good setup, and a little more noticeable on a simpler one. There is no significant moiré, and no shimmer. There are no MPEG artefacts.

    There are both subtitles and captions in English. I watched the captions, which are labelled English SDH. They are surprisingly accurate; they are well-timed, and easy to read.

    The disc is single sided and single layered; I like the lack of a layer change. With a movie running under 90 minutes, and little in the way of extras, there's no real need for a second layer.

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

Audio

    There is only one soundtrack, in English Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384kbps. They've used all of the 5.1 channels on this one. With EX decoding on, my rear centre found something to do a couple of times, and it sounded good.

    The dialogue is mostly clear and easy to understand — one or two lines are delivered a little too quietly, but they're not missed. There are no lapses in audio sync.

    The score, from Don Davis, is rather good, and is supported by a number of contemporary songs. There's significant bass content in the music, and some serious driving beats.

    The surrounds are used well, both with the score, and with directional sound cues on occasion. The subwoofer gets plenty to do, as you'd expect from this kind of film.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is animated, with music. Simple and easy to use.

Featurette: Making Of (13:03)

    A standard EPK piece, with a bit of behind-the-scenes, a bit of how-we-made-the-bangs, a bit of the-stars-did-the-stunts (that's so in at the moment), and a fair bit of footage from the movie. You know what you'll see before you watch it. Plenty of spoilers.

Cast and Crew

    A two page list of the main credits. Nothing more.

Theatrical Trailer (2:20)

    At least it's 16x9 enhanced, for a change. Nothing out of the ordinary.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film came out on DVD in Region 1 some months ago. The IMDB listing states that the DVD is 1.85:1, but that's an error (according to other reports).

    The Region 4 disc is missing:

    The Region 1 disc is missing:

    By all reports, the transfers are pretty much equally good. Given the insignificance of the differences, I'd call this one a draw.

Summary

    A decent and somewhat original mindless action flick, presented well on DVD.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are pretty negligible.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Tuesday, June 17, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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