Vampires: Los Muertos (John Carpenter's) (2002)

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Released 25-Feb-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Vampire Audio Commentary-Tommy Lee Wallace (Writer & Director)
Theatrical Trailer-Vampires: Los Muertos
Trailer-Bram Stoker's Dracula
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 89:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (61:36) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Tommy Lee Wallace
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jon Bon Jovi
Cristián de la Fuente
Arly Jover
Darius McCrary
Diego Luna
Natasha Wagner
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Brian Tyler


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 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
Greek
French
Italian
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Russian
Slovenian
Swedish
Turkish
French Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Somewhere in Mexico, vampire hunter-for-hire Derek Bliss (Jon Bon Jovi) is hired to hunt down a female vampire called Una (Arly Jover) and her brood, who are trying to find the secret of being able to survive in the daylight. But the fanged ones are one jump ahead of him, and each of the people he tries to contact as assistants in this quest meet a grisly end before he can talk to them. Eventually he assembles a motley crew comprising a young Mexican (Diego Luna), the last surviving priest from a monastery (Cristián de la Fuente), a fellow vampire slayer and token black character (Darius McCrary) and a sort-of half-vampire in Zoey (Natasha Wagner). Look out bloodsuckers, here they come.

    This is a sequel to the 1998 film John Carpenter's Vampires, which I have not seen, so I had no expectations about this film, except that it would be gory and probably awful. Well, there's a little bit of gore but it is not the worst vampire film I have seen. In fact, I quite enjoyed this for the most part. It does have a predictable story arc and the low budget compromises it to an extent, something admitted to by the director in his commentary. Jon Bon Jovi is a reasonably effective hero, though he should not start doing Shakespeare any time soon. The supporting cast is pretty good for this sort of genre film, and the location filming in Mexico helps considerably.

    Note that while his name appears above the title, Carpenter did nothing more than executive produce the film, and it was directed by his long-time colleague Tommy Lee Wallace. It's not a bad film if you are in the mood for some no-brain escapist entertainment, but don't expect anything original.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is shown in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a pretty good transfer despite some film to video artefacts. The transfer is nice and sharp, with a good level of detail even in near darkness. Contrast levels seem about right and bright colours are vivid. Blacks tend to be quite solid and flesh tones are realistic. Blood looks, well, like blood.

    Edge enhancement is the main problem with the transfer, and is quite noticeable in many scenes, though the haloes it produces are relatively thin. On larger displays this may be an irritation. There is also some Gibb effect in the form of some noise around the outlines of the actors, especially on their arms. As they keep moving most of the time, this is only a minor issue.

    Film artefacts were limited to some specks of dirt and dust, but I only noticed this towards the end of the film.

    Optional English subtitles are provided. These are large and easily read, and match the dialogue most of the time, though some words are omitted for brevity's sake.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted with the layer change placed at 61:36 at a cut. It is slightly disruptive as it occurs during a suspenseful sequence.

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

Audio

    Audio is available in several languages. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 track.

    The audio is typical of this type of film, with a lot of low frequency effects giving the subwoofer a workout. Most of the audio is geared to the front speakers and there is little in the way of discrete audio for the rear channels. Mostly it is just music and a softer version of the non-dialogue audio from the front channels. The dialogue itself is very clear throughout, and I had no trouble understanding any of it.

    The music score is by Brian Tyler. Sometimes it sounds like Ry Cooder, and sometimes like Tangerine Dream. It works surprisingly well, though I doubt whether the soundtrack album is a big seller.

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

Extras

Audio Commentary - Tommy Lee Wallace (Writer & Director)

    This commentary is by the director alone. He talks about his career with John Carpenter, the actors chosen for the film, and the problems he had making the film. These cover not only the monetary concerns that curtailed some of the things he wanted to include in the film, but also studio interference and some issues with the Mexican crew. He doesn't take himself all that seriously and so the commentary is fairly laid-back. It is not the best commentary I have heard but it is worth listening to once.

Theatrical Trailer (2:02)

    This is in letterboxed widescreen and makes the film seem slightly better than it is, which is all you could ask I suppose.

Trailer - Bram Stoker's Dracula (2:34)

    This trailer is in 1.33:1 and looks a lot older than it should. This is quite a good trailer.

R4 vs R1

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

    The only difference between the Region 4 and the Region 1 versions of this DVD is that the latter includes an additional trailer for Ghosts of Mars. Is it worth the extra outlay? I suspect not.

Summary

    A more entertaining film that it has a right to be, but don't expect anything above average.

    The video quality has a couple of problems.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extras are satisfactory.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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