The Emissary (1988)

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Released 21-Nov-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1988
Running Time 94:17
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jan Scholtz
Studio
Distributor
Lars Internat Picts
Warner Vision
Starring Ted Le Plat
Terry Norton
Robert Vaughn
Patrick Mynhardt
André Jacobs
Colin Sutcliffe
Jonathan Taylor
Hans Strydom
Ken Gampu
Brian O'Shaughnessy
Jannie Wienand
Bill Barber
Roland Stafford
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown 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

    Ted Le Plat is Jack Cavanagh, an up-and-coming and highly ambitious US politician who is also an emissary to South Africa. On a diplomatic mission with his wife Caroline (Terry Norton) to the south of Africa, a plan ten years in the making is about to reach its climax. The Soviets and the KGB have been secretly following and setting up Caroline for near on a decade. They possess photographs of her in compromising positions with many top KGB and international spies and they are about to be unveiled to the media and the US government unless she agrees to assist the Russians in getting what they desperately want - the secret codes to the CIA mainframe and all the secrets it contains. Caroline is aghast, considering she is also guilty of having an affair with another man recently and is having enough trouble being trusted again by her close friends. The game of blackmail and subterfuge continues while the pressure is put on Caroline to finally help, and in the end, in a desperate effort to save her marriage and her husband's career, she agrees to drug him and help steal the secret disc containing the codes. She hopes that by giving the Soviets what they want she and her husband will be left in peace. But when Jack uncovers the plot, and ever eager to save his career, he tries desperately to retrieve the disc and its codes before it is too late.

    This is a truly awful film that takes itself far too seriously. The script is amongst the most ludicrous and weak I think I have ever encountered, the editing and overall production values are cheap, nasty and quite pathetic, the score is grating, the acting is laughable, and the whole plot is a complete waste of time that clearly points to where it is going after about two minutes.

    Co-starring Robert Vaughn as the American ambassador (in an under-used capacity) and Patrick Mynhardt as the chief bad guy Brochard, it is the performance (or lack thereof) from Andre Jacobs as Hesse, the South African henchman that is truly laughable. Any more wooden and he'd be used for kindling.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    I wasn't expecting a whole lot in terms of video quality here, and while this transfer is not the worst I have ever seen, it is really not much better than an old VHS tape.

    The first problem is the aspect ratio. While reliable information on the correct aspect ratio is difficult to find, it would appear the original aspect was something in the vicinity of 1.66:1 to 1.85:1. While I am unable to confirm this, what we get here is quite obviously an open-matte transfer in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is therefore not 16x9 enhanced.

    Overall, this is a well below average transfer in terms of sharpness and detail. There is no edge enhancement and there are no shadow detail problems thankfully, but the level of grain is quite high throughout the whole film. There is also plenty of low level noise in the black areas of the print.

    Colours are fairly poor. They are washed out and muted. Skin tones are adequate, but the black levels are poor.

    I saw no compression artefacts and with this not really being the sharpest image you have ever seen there is no aliasing present. The number of film artefacts is alarming, though most are small enough to be not all that obvious.

    There are no subtitles available.

    This is a single layered disc only. As a result, there is no layer change to navigate.

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

Audio

    Only one soundtrack is present, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 effort that is labelled as stereo. There is some discernible stereo effect, but it is only minimal. Overall, this is a fairly harsh soundtrack with only basic fidelity and little dynamic range on offer.

    Dialogue comes across as harsh and appears to suffer from the slightest of audio sync problems throughout. It gives the impression the whole thing has been post dubbed and is quite noticeable and a little jarring.

    The score is awful. Horribly contrived and pretentious to the extreme, it really began to grate on me by the end of the film. Shades of late 80s electronic pop with a grating orchestral overlay does not do it for me I'm afraid.

    There is obviously no surround channel nor subwoofer use.



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.

    I was unable to locate any reliable reference to this title being available in either Region 1 or Region 2.

Summary

    The Emissary is one of the worst films I have ever seen. Awful production values, awful script, second-rate acting, and a weak story.

    This is also an awful transfer, in what must surely be an incorrect aspect ratio, filled with many artefacts.

    The audio is barely adequate, with a flat and lifeless feel and some obvious audio sync problems. The score is the worst I have ever heard.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

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