Den of Lions (2003)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||James Bruce|
Universal Pictures Home Video
Sarah Ann Schultz
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Unknown||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Set in the dark world of organised crime in current Eastern Europe, Den Of Lions is an enjoyable thriller with the feel of a John Le Carre story.
Mike Varga (Stephen Dorff) is an FBI Agent with a Hungarian background. He is sent undercover behind the former Iron Curtain to Budapest to infiltrate the organised crime syndicate of Russian Mafia run by Darius Paskevik (Bob Hoskins).
Varga's mission is complicated, however, when he meets Katya (Laura Fraser), Darius' gorgeous and smart daughter. Katya is beginning to question her father's business, and is also beginning to fall for Varga. Darius is growing increasingly suspicious, and Varga's FBI Agent partner, Rob Shepard (Ian Hart) looks like he might blow Varga's cover. On his high moral horse, Shepard sees everything in black and white, whereas Varga seems to see things in shades of grey. As an audience, we're never really sure exactly whose side Varga's on, and this makes for good drama.
The film is shot on location, and the scenery, stunts, and performances by the leading actors are excellent. The story moves along at a good pace, and the only thing I found annoying was the constant use of jump-cuts and varying film speeds. This technique in editing can be very effective, but when it's constant, it becomes a little annoying, even adversely affecting the continuity of the film.
Overall, the transfer is good.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.
Generally the sharpness is good, but there are some soft shots, such as at 20:11 or 31:03. The black level is good, but the shadow detail is usually poor, such as the dark shots at 11:27 or 24:00.
The colour is good, but the film often features very drab and desaturated tones which suits the film's sombre atmosphere.
There are no problems with MPEG or film-to-video artefacts, but some scenes are very grainy. I assume this is noticeable due to the use of different film stocks. Small film artefacts appear throughout, and there is also the odd scratch and hair visible on the source print.
There are no subtitles on this dual layered disc. I did not spot the layer change.
There are two audio options on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).
The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine.
The musical score is credited to Ron Hay, and it is a dramatic orchestral score, the style of which is seemingly influenced by the work of the great Bernard Herrmann.
There is surround presence and activity throughout, which tends to be quite subtle. For example, the rears provide ambience, such as during the rain at 8:10, and support the score, such as at 11:12. The subwoofer is also used to support the effects, such as the gunshots.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are a few extras.
Animated with audio.
Theatrical Trailer (1:53)
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
A very short promotional piece, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
I can find no reference anywhere to this DVD being released in R1.
For those who like espionage thrillers, Den Of Lions is an enjoyable film to rent.
Overall, the video quality is good.
The audio quality is also good.
The extras are slim.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using S-Video output|
|Display||Grundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|
|Speakers||Sony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer|