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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.
The Order (2001)

The Order (2001)

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Released 18-Mar-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Replicant, Maximum Risk
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 125:40 (Case: 86)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:01) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Sheldon Lettich

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
Charlton Heston
Sofia Milos
Brian Thompson
Ben Cross
Vernon Dobtcheff
Sasson Gabai
Alon Abutbul
Joey Tomaska
Peter Malota
Sharon Reginiano
Sami Hori
Jack Widerker
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Pino Donaggio

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Jean-Claude Van Damme is at it again, kicking butt and restoring peace and tranquillity to the world.

    I like JCVD's movies on the rare occasion where you want to leave your brain at the door and just sit back and watch people getting beaten to a pulp while the main character delivers a steady stream of emotionless lines. There are 2 exceptions to this usual JCVD rule in my opinion, these being Universal Soldier and the subject of this review, The Order.

    During the opening scenes, the movie provides some background information and explains that The Order is a secretive religious sect that was born outside Jerusalem during the time of the Crusades. The sect's rules were split amongst several scrolls, and all but the last one have been found. This missing scroll contains the key to bestow the ultimate level of power on he who beholds the information it contains. Fast forward to the present day.

    Rudy (Jean-Claude Van Damme) is an ex-smuggler who has seen the error of his ways and has focused his attention on returning ancient stolen treasures to their rightful owners (or at least to someone who is willing to part with large sums of cash to acquire the artifact). His father Oscar (Vernon Dobtcheff) works for a museum and gets to see numerous artifacts all the time, but when he comes across the missing scroll he disappears, causing Rudy to head to Israel to find both dad and the scroll. The steady stream of religious fanatics and the unhelpful Israeli police provide Van Damme with an almost limitless supply of people to focus his fighting skills on. And if that's not enough, he must take possession of the scroll before someone from The Order does or it's all over for us mere mortals.

    Charlton Heston gets a sizable listing on the front cover of this DVD, but his part in the movie is not as big. He plays the character of Professor Finley who is a good friend of Oscar's living in Israel. It's unfortunate that he was not given a larger role to keep the other actors in check.

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

Transfer Quality


    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is relatively crisp and sharp with good definition on the edges of actors and objects. Shadow detail is not a problem at all - even in the underground scenes there is plenty of light available which allows you to see every piece of detail. There is no low level noise which is always nice.

    Rich colour is in abundance everywhere but the bright red religious robes at 37:58 are one of the better examples. Everything else seemed to be naturally coloured such as the backgrounds, vehicles, people and so on, but the robes definitely jump out at you with their vibrancy.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Aliasing is also an artefact that was not detected in this transfer. Film artefacts are mild but there nonetheless. Luckily, their colour keeps this artefact less obtrusive than it could have been.

    Subtitles are available in English, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Croatian and Slovenian. The English subtitles that I checked were close to the spoken word.

    This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed midway through Chapter 17 at 53:01. It is very noticeable both due to the duration of the pause and due to the fact that the spot is in the middle of an action scene complete with music. However, there is very little else that could have been done. Each scene throughout the movie has a fade transition from one scene to the other. These transitions also feature sound, so no matter where the layer change was placed it was going to be noticed somewhere. They could have moved it to 56:00 where it would at least have been slightly less disruptive.

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


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is also a Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to the English track in its entirety.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times with no hiss being detected. Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    The musical score tended to sound similar to that of The Mummy, no doubt due to similar Middle Eastern influences. It was very fitting, though, for the movie and added well to the flow of the story. At all times the music was a nice match to the on-screen action. The action sequences, however, were quite loud compared to the dialogue level, which will be a problem if you want to watch this quietly in another room or late at night. Conversely, if you like your soundtracks to have some wallop then at least the explosions in this track sound like real explosions and are recorded at a life-like level.

    The surrounds are also quite aggressive, with excellent use of split surrounds and near-transparent imaging amongst all the channels. They are used well for ambience, music and for lots of special effects. Directional effects and precise sound placement are common throughout the track which keeps you in the midst of the action.

    The subwoofer was highly active for explosions and 44:50 and 118:20 are two typical examples where the sub will receive a nice kick.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     The extras on this disc are limited to three trailers.


    The menu design is themed around the movie. It is 16x9 enhanced. The main menu features a still montage from the movie and no audio.

Theatrical Trailer - The Order

    This is of a quality level similar to the movie, being presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Theatrical Trailer - Replicant

    This is of a lesser quality visually, being presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Theatrical Trailer - Maximum Risk

    This is of a quality level similar to the movie, being presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

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;

    There is no compelling reason to prefer either version of this DVD, so stick with the local version.


    Indiana Jones it isn't, but this is still an enjoyable film with brilliant scenery, a plot that works and more acting from Van Damme that most of his other films. Some will not consider this a JCVD "classic" but it does see him not only provide some directing input but also more lines than usual and it pays off.

    The video does have some issues but these are minor.

    The audio quality is great, especially the use of the surrounds.

    The extras are limited, but are a good way to check out some of his other titles in case you have missed them in the past.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Sunday, March 14, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersWhatmough Classic Series C31 (Mains); C06 (Centre); M10 (Rears); Magnat Vector Needle Sub25A Active SubWoofer

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