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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Extreme Measures (1996)

Extreme Measures (1996)

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Released 9-Oct-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 113:16
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Apted

Warner Home Video
Starring Hugh Grant
Gene Hackman
Sarah Jessica Parker
David Morse
Paul Guilfoyle
Debra Monk
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Danny Elfman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Guy Luthan (Hugh Grant) is a doctor headed for a great and illustrious carrier in medicine, until a patient under his care, Claude Minkins, dies mysteriously. When Guy tries to investigate further, he is told to drop the case and move on. When the body disappears, Guy starts to get suspicious, sensing a cover-up.

    Dr Luthan keeps on digging and digging, which only lands him in more and more trouble. It all comes to head a little before the end of the move. At this point I felt like screaming out "God no, that's not fair! How can this be happening to this man?". Hugh's acting during this scene is excellent and you can see exactly what his character is feeling. I cannot say much more without spoiling the movie, so you'll just have watch it if you haven't seen it before.

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Transfer Quality


    Before I start reviewing this disc, I would just like to commend Warner Home Video on their inclusion of both a 4x3 Pan & Scan version and a 16x9 Enhanced 2.35:1 Widescreen version of this movie on the same disc. It's not that I particularly care about the 4x3 version myself, but I'm sure that there are many out there that do. It's nice to see that Warners are catering for both points of view without compromising the quality of either by putting one version on each side of this disc. That way, we all get what we want.

    For those of you who still need convincing of the benefits of widescreen presentations, play the first 45 seconds of Chapter 4 of the widescreen presentation three or four times so you can really get a feel for the scene and its framing. Now, flip over to the 4x3 presentation and play Chapter 4 again. This is by no means the best example to demonstrate the benefits of widescreen presentation, but you will certainly see what I'm talking about.

Widescreen Presentation (Side B)
    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture is extremely sharp at all times, with only one scene at 100:00 where Gene Hackman appears out of focus. This is more likely to be a source material fault rather than a transfer fault. No low-level noise, edge bleeding or excessive edge enhancement was noticed.

    The colours were well-saturated and very natural looking.

    Pixelization or grain was basically non-existent on my sizeable screen. Surprisingly, if you pause any scene, some minor grain and pixelization is evident. Thankfully, it is all but unnoticeable while the movie is playing.

    There were no MPEG artefacts, but moiré effects and aliasing artefacts are a real problem with this transfer. They strike almost continually throughout the entire film, and unfortunately most of these instances are severe enough to be noticeable and distracting. One of the worst instances is at 82:25, where a severe moiré pattern affects a chrome heater. The credits also suffer from some shimmer.

    For those of you lucky enough to be using a Progressive Scan player and display device, I'm sorry to say that not even these can rescue this transfer. Whilst it improves the image markedly, the picture still seems edgy and prone to mild aliasing throughout.

    Film artefacts are another problematic area for this transfer. There are far too many film artefacts for the age of this film. They are mostly small and unobtrusive, but due to their frequency they become a little distracting at times. There are also some large vertical film scratches that run from the top to the bottom of the screen. Examples of this are at 23:18, 93:30 (where it looks like someone has drawn on the film with a felt-tip pen), 100:57, and at 105:12 - 105:14. There is a reel change marker at 93:33.

Pan & Scan Presentation (Side A)
    This Pan & Scan transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

    The colours were well-saturated and very natural-looking, but a couple of the outdoor scenes seemed to be a little overbright, which tended to wash out the colour just a little. There aren't very many of these scenes, so it is not a real problem. No low-level noise, edge bleeding or excessive edge enhancement was noticed.

    Picture grain is little more noticeable in this version of the movie, but it is only just noticeable on a few occasions.

    The aliasing is just as frequent on this side of the DVD, but it is a lot less severe and is much more tolerable, however it is still at an unacceptable level.

    The number of film artefacts is basically identical.

Packaging Error

    The back cover is kind enough to inform us that there are two versions of the movie on this disc. Unfortunately, Side A has been mislabelled as "Regular 2.35:1" when it should have been labelled as Regular 1.33:1 or Regular 4x3, thus rendering this information practically useless.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are three 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtracks on this disc; English, French and Italian. I listened to the default English soundtrack.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    No transfer-induced audio sync problems were noticed with this transfer, with only one scene suffering from some obvious dialogue replacement (at 66:16).

    Danny Elfman's musical score adds tension to many of the key sequences.

    The surround mix is quite good, with a surprisingly well-balanced sound stage for a Dolby Digital surround-encoded soundtrack. The surround channels were most frequently used for music, but there are also a goodly smattering of effects and background noises present, which create a nicely detailed and natural-sounding soundstage. During a couple of the more dramatic scenes, you are totally enveloped in the soundfield.

    Good use of the subwoofer is made throughout the film. The music and a couple of the more dramatic scenes really sounded great.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are extremely limited, consisting of just one Theatrical Trailer.


    Side A (Pan & Scan) has a 1.33:1 aspect ratio menu with theme music.
    Side B (Widescreen) has a 16x9 enhanced 1.78:1 aspect ratio menu with theme music.

    The menu selections are; Play Movie, Scene Selections (13 + Credits), Theatrical Trailer and Languages.

    There are actually 40 chapters on this disc, so the scene selections are grouped in threes, which is rather inconvenient.

Theatrical Trailer (1:56 minutes)

    Both theatrical trailers are of excellent quality. In fact, they are better than the movie aliasing-wise.

    Side A (Pan & Scan) has a non-16x9 enhanced 1.78:1 aspect ratio picture with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack.

    Side B (Widescreen) has a 16x9 enhanced 1:78:1 aspect ratio picture with a 192kb/s Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

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

    Since the R4 and R1 content is identical, it all comes down to the quality of the transfer. None of our regular, trusted R1 review sites have reviewed this DVD, so I was forced to look elsewhere. The few reviews I did manage to locate did not mention any severe aliasing and generally raved about the picture quality. Thus, I think it would be reasonable to say that the R1 version is probably the better choice here.


    Extreme Measures is OK, but it is not a movie I could watch over and over again. It is presented on a disappointing DVD.

    The picture quality can only be described as average because of the almost constant aliasing and the large number of film artefacts.

    The soundtrack is of very good quality.

    The extras are extremely limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Paul Williams (read Paul's biography)
Thursday, October 12, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-725, using Component output
DisplaySony Projector VPH-G70 (No Line Doubler), Technics Da-Lite matt screen with gain of 1.0 (229cm). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SV919THX
SpeakersFronts: Energy RVS-1 (3), Rears: Energy RVSS-1 (2), Subwoofer: Energy EPS-150 (1)

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