Terminal Velocity (Remastered) (1994)

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Released 20-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 97:46
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (59:55) Cast & Crew
Start Up Subtitle Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Deran Sarafian
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Charlie Sheen
Nastassja Kinski
James Gandolfini
Christopher McDonald
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Joel McNeely


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish 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
French
Spanish
Dutch
Norwegian
Danish
Swedish
Finnish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    How do you pad out a plot synopsis for a film like Terminal Velocity? There really isn't a whole lot to say about the "plot" of this film, but then exercising the grey matter is not really the reason you watch something like this anyway. You know it's time to turn your brain off when the first 4 minutes of a movie have a Boeing 747 land in the desert mere inches away from an ordinary car, and the car hardly even musters a shake or wobble from the wake turbulence.

    Having said that though, the basic storyline that glues the set-pieces together is as follows; Bad Russians in America want to sell a whole load of stolen gold to fund a coup which could restart the cold war (yes, even in the 1990s movie-makers were still getting mileage out of the cold war). Not-so-bad Russians want to get the gold back to Russia where it belongs, so that innocent women and children can eat, and for some bizarre reason they choose a loose-canon skydiver, Ditch Brodie (Charlie Sheen - remember him?), as a patsy and eventual ally to assist them. Chris Morrow (Nastassja Kinski) is the bait used to lure Ditch into helping manufacture her "death".

    Sheen plays Brodie to a tee, with one-liners galore delivered in his own unique way. I have to confess to being a bit of a fan of the Hot Shots movies, and hence have trouble seeing Sheen in any serious roles without getting the feeling he's just taking the Mickey. Fortunately this role is almost a Tupper Harley character anyway, and I think the tongue is very much in the proximity of the cheek. Nastassja Kinski does her job of looking attractive, sounding almost Russian, and beating people up. James Gandolfini also puts in an acceptable performance.

    The real stars of this film though are of course the stuntmen and special effects. There's plenty of shooting, explosions, and a few incredible skydiving scenes that will help distract you from the myriad plot holes. I'd almost forgotten what it was like to watch dangerous stunts being performed without CGI everywhere, so this was a breath of fresh air in that department.

    If you can look past all the plot holes and improbables (of which there are many), and go along for the ride, then this is actually a decent evening's entertainment. If however you want to get wrapped up in the plot "twists" (which are visible from miles away), get to know the characters in a deep way, and have your mind challenged, then you'd be better off looking elsewhere.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    Unfortunately I don't have a copy of the original DVD to compare quality differences (MichaelD's original review can be found here), but I can say that this is a very good transfer that shouldn't get any complaints from viewers.

    The transfer is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness is top-notch throughout, with crisp images and visible details jumping out at you (no pun intended). I didn't notice any of the grain problems that apparently existed in some of the original disc's aerial shots. Blacks are solid in the numerous night-time scenes, with no visible low-level noise, however the shadow detail isn't always the best in these darker sections.

    Colours are consistently nice and saturated, with most of the film taking place outdoors in the desert. Hence we have the resulting brightly-lit colours mixed with desert browns.

    No visible MPEG artefacts are present. For an image this sharp, it was nice to see no obvious edge enhancement, and only the occasional slight bit of aliasing (usually on aircraft wings or cars - 69.54). I noticed one or two little film artefacts, but you have to really look for them as this transfer is obviously taken from a very clean source.

    This DVD has nine subtitle streams; English, English for the Heading Impaired, French, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, and Finnish. I sampled the English subtitles and found them to be very accurate to the spoken word.

    This DVD is an RSDL disc, and the layer change takes place at 59:55. It's not disruptive at all, but it could have been placed better, since it's in the middle of a sentence!

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

Audio

    It's been a while since I've reviewed a 5.1 audio transfer, and this was a nice way to break the drought. The 5.1 sound format is made for movies like this, and the transfer makes good use of all channels.

    There are three audio tracks on this disc; English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. All are recorded at a bit rate of 384 kbps.

    Dialogue was for the most part clear and easy to understand, with no sync problems. The only time I had any problems making out what was said was due to an occasional poor accent, or one instance where Ditch's pilot is talking through a cigar in his mouth. There were no transfer-related problems.

    The musical score by Joel McNeely was your generic orchestral movie score that added to dramatic moments, but wasn't really anything to write home about. You would notice if it wasn't there, but it's certainly not memorable.

    The surrounds are put to good use in all of the many action scenes, with bullets, breaking glass, helicopters, explosions, and so on coming at you from your rear speakers. They do go silent during the quiet breaks in-between, but then there isn't a lot of call for them during those times anyway.

    The subwoofer also regularly comes to life during the action, with all engines, guns, rockets, flames, and explosions benefiting from the .1 channel. The more dramatic portions of the score also make use of the added bass.

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

Extras

    Nothing to see here. Even a short doco on the skydiving stunts would have been nice.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    As best I could find out there is only the one version of this DVD available in the US, which is the original release. It's a single-layer disc and not 16x9 enhanced, therefore making Region 4 the preferable choice.

Summary

    If you enjoy the occasional bit of mindless fluff that makes good use of your expensive home theatre equipment, then this is definitely worth a rent. I can't imagine there'd be enough replay value to warrant a purchase though.

    The video is top notch.

    The audio makes good use of your 5.1 setup.

    Extras: none.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

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