The Foreigner (2003)

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Released 10-Jun-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Black Mask 2: City Of Masks, Half Past Dead, I Spy
Trailer-Panic Room
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 92:02
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Michael Oblowitz
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Steven Seagal
Harry Van Gorkum
Jeffrey Pierce
Anna-Louise Plowman
Max Ryan
Sherman Augustus
Gary Raymond
Philip Dunbar
Izabela Okrasa
Grzegorz Kowalczyk
Dianna Camacho
Dhobi Oparei
Grzegorz Emanuel
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music David Wurst
Eric Wurst


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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
Dutch
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Russian
Slovenian
Swedish
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

    Steven Seagal is one of many actors that have made movies that can be categorised into one of two kinds. One kind are great action-oriented movies involving shooting, explosions, chicks and Martial Arts and the other kind can only be described as a collection of missed opportunities and sloppy scriptwriting. This movie creates a third category, where the movie and unfortunately the acting is so disappointing that I ask myself - why did they bother? The script had the basis of what could have been a really great movie, but unfortunately it was never developed enough to give viewers an interest in the characters or the eventual outcome of the story. I found myself sitting there watching the movie unfold but I never really gave two hoots as to who lived, who died or even if the cast accomplished what they set out to. Unfortunately, this particular movie was not his usual big budget, action-packed effort along the lines of Under Siege, or even Half Past Dead, and in hindsight he may well wish he never picked up the script and took on this particular project.

    We are led to believe that Jon Cold (Steven Seagal) has turned away from the secret agency that trained him and taken up the position of a freelance agent for hire. He is very good, so good that everyone that can afford his talents wants Jon and his expertise to ensure the job is completed, regardless of risk, and with apparent military precision. When Jon's current customer is told that Jon will be leaving the country for a while and will not be available to assist with any particular jobs he becomes quite disgruntled. As a compromise they agree that Jon will do one last job before he is allowed to return to the USA. His task involves taking a small package from France to Germany, which sounds simple enough. Along for the ride is one of the customer's goons to assist with any interference they might come up against. Unfortunately, interference is something that they do get, from every possible angle and Jon finds it difficult to determine friend from foe. There are some twists and turns which may surprise, but always remember the golden rule when you are in this line of business - NEVER OPEN THE PACKAGE . . .

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

Transfer Quality

Video

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

    The image is a lot crisper than the story itself with quite good detail being evident throughout. There is some minor film grain evident on walls but this is quite mild. Shadow detail is something that is given average treatment, and the colour black comes out more like a very dark grey which is unfortunate during some of the darker scenes. Thankfully darker scenes are minimal, but it is still annoying nonetheless.

    Colour is also quite acceptable. A typical example of bright red can be seen at 20:55 which is rather vibrant and typical of the transfer. This clean colour level is also evident when the camera zooms in and focuses closely on individual objects. An example of what I mean is at 18:04 when the camera zooms in on the threads of material and you can make out the individual strands and their associated colouring.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen but there was one human artefact which I found rather obvious and distracting for the brief moment that it appeared. At 55:52 there is a blade of grass that is quite a lot taller than the ones surrounding it and as the cameraman approaches the actors, his or her foot touches the grass, causing it to fall over before the camera reaches it so it's in plain view and obvious to anyone with their eyes open. Aliasing is very rare and very mild when it does occur. Film artefacts are quite rare but still evident throughout the entire movie. The items that are more aggravating are the white specks which appear throughout the movie as these are not as subtle as the black specks of dust or hair.

    There are a lot of subtitles available to cater for a broad audience. The English stream that I checked is not exact but is still quite close to the spoken word.

    This is a single sided disc so it is not affected by any layer change.

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

Audio

    There are three audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There are also Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 and Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks to choose from. I listened to the English version in full.

    The dialogue was quite clear but Seagal was difficult to hear on a few occasions.

    Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    There is not much of a musical score to speak of. Instead, it acts more like a backing for the action rather than adding the extra emotional impact that a well-written music score can give. What music we do get is well mixed across the 5.1 channels - it's just a shame that there was not more of it. The volume levels did not drown out the dialogue at any point during the movie.

    The surround channels are put to good use with directional sound being used wherever possible to match the on-screen action. For example at 27: 54 there is a nice smooth front to back sound effect which just flows perfectly with the visual information your eyes are receiving. The action sequences always include strong sound effects and loud music with substantial information being sent to the rears which really adds to the impact - a typical example is at 57:07.

    The subwoofer was active during the action sequences and provided a bottom end for these sequences. It was still quite reserved at times, and quite easily could have been given some more work.

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

Extras

     There is only a small selection of extras in the form of trailers. All of these trailers are in widescreen format, and all but one offer Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. For some reason, the theatrical trailer of this movie offers a lesser audio and video option.

Menu

    The main menu is themed around the movie and shows a still frame which has been taken from the movie with no audio.

Theatrical Trailer (2:03)

    The quality of the trailer is much the same as the main feature. It is, however, only available in full-frame format with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

Black Mask 2: City of Masks trailer (1:25)

    This trailer contains quite good audio and video quality and is presented in a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio but with only a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Half Past Dead (1:50)

    This trailer also contains quite good audio and video quality and is presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio complete with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

I Spy (2:16)

    Yet again the quality of his trailer is quite good and is presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio complete with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

Panic Room (2:21)

    Last but not least, Panic Room's trailer contains quite a good quality image and soundtrack. It is presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio complete with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

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;     The main feature itself is identical for both formats. It really comes down to the differences between the included trailers and your personal preference for one over the other. As the Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on the theatrical trailer and we have PAL instead of NTSC I conclude that Region 4 has the better version.

Summary

    Well by now you must have guessed that I was quite disappointed with this movie. It won't put me off Steven Seagal movies or even trying out others that I am yet to see. But if I can save you from watching this trash even if you have absolutely nothing to do on a rainy/hailing/sunny day, then all the better.

    The video is not without its faults, and merely gets the job done.

    The audio provides some good directional sound, but not enough to be used as a test disc to show off your new amplifier purchase to your mates. This is not to say that significant improvement could still be made in this area alone.

    The extras are limited to some trailers and barely worth inclusion.

There is an Official Distributor Comment available for this review.
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Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Wednesday, May 26, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
why was this garbage ever made -