Hostage (2005)

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Released 1-Sep-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Audio Commentary-Florent Siri (Director)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Taking Hostage
Deleted Scenes-And Extended Scenes, With Optional Directors Commentary
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 108:41
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:07) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Florent Emilio Siri
Stratus Film Company
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Bruce Willis
Kevin Pollak
Jimmy Bennett
Michelle Horn
Ben Foster
Jonathan Tucker
Marshall Allman
Serena Scott Thomas
Rumer Willis
Kim Coates
Robert Knepper
Tina Lifford
Ransford Doherty
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Alexandre Desplat

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 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

     If you like action thrillers, you have come to the right place with this top shelf effort.

    The film opens on a rooftop in Los Angeles as a LAPD negotiator, Jeff Talley (Bruce Willis) is negotiating via phone with a man threatening to kill his wife and child in the building opposite. The negotiation does not end well. A year later we catch up with Talley in his new job as police chief of a small town, Bristo Camino, where every day is a slow crime day. Talley has moved there with his wife and daughter, Amanda (Rumer Willis, Bruce's daughter) but his wife commutes back to LA for work. His daughter is unhappy in the small town. During his work day, his small police department responds to a silent alarm at the mansion of a rich, but mysterious man, Walter Smith (Kevin Pollack). Attracted by his expensive car and attractive daughter, Jennifer (Michelle Horn), three dangerous youths have taken over his impressive house and taken Smith and his children hostage, including his other child, a younger boy named Tommy (Jimmy Bennett). The three invaders are brothers, Dennis (Jonathan Tucker) and Kevin (Marshall Allman) and a dangerous friend of Dennis's, Mars (Ben Foster). Into this mix is thrown the fact that Smith is not your average wealthy man. He is involved with the wrong sort of people and they want something he has prepared for them and they are willing to do anything to get it. The DVD slick reveals a little more than this about the plot, however if you don't read the case (as I didn't) before viewing, the twists are much more of shock.

    This movie has a lot to recommend it for fans of high-octane action thrillers. It does not have the humour of films like the Die Hard trilogy, however, the tension is excellent and the action impressive, especially the fire scenes during the finale. The opening titles are a great start to the film, visually interesting and quite different from most title sequences. Additionally, the cinematography is excellent with great use of shadows. There is a very claustrophobic feel to this film which is certainly due to the fine camera work. The plot, although including some clichés, manages to find its own story and approach which is certainly a relief. Bruce Willis is surprisingly good in this film.

    The film is based on a bestselling novel by Robert Crais and was directed by a young French director, Florent Siri who was brought in by Bruce Willis after Willis saw his previous French film. This is his first American film.

    Definitely recommended for fans of the genre.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced. This is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was extremely clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was excellent and as most of the film takes place at night this is essential. Generally, there is no grain, however I noticed on short sequence towards the end of the film where the bit rate dropped a little and there was some very light grain to be seen. For most of the film the bit rate hovered around 9Mb/s in total.

    The colour was wonderfully rich and solid throughout. Great stuff.

    Generally, this transfer is completely artefact free, however, I did notice one small patch of aliasing on a grille at 62:08. I mostly mention it because I am pedantic. To mark down the transfer on this basis would be unfair.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were very clear and easy to read and helpfully were aligned on the screen to the person speaking the line.

    The layer change occurs at 66:07 and was not noticeable.

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


    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand and there are no problems with audio sync.

    The score is by Alexandre Desplat and is very good, greatly assisting the tense and claustrophobic feel of the film.

    The surround speakers are in virtual constant use either adding significantly to the overall atmosphere or carrying some excellent surround effects such as during scenes involving a helicopter or shootouts. Great stuff.

    The subwoofer is nicely integrated and despite not jumping out at you adds a lot to the various action scenes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu was nicely designed including an intro, scenes from the film and the ability to select scenes, subtitles and soundtracks.

Taking Hostage - Behind The Scenes (12:41)

    Presented in an aspect of 1.33:1 and with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, this is a fairly standard promotional making of, however it is more interesting than most. It includes interviews with most of the major cast and crew in which they discuss working with the director and Bruce Willis, the stunts and story. Also includes an interview with the SWAT technical adviser used for the film. Not bad.

Deleted & Extended Scenes

    This sub-menu allows access to eight deleted scenes with optional commentary by the director. Presented non-16x9 enhanced widescreen and Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. The commentary is not overly interesting, merely explaining why each scene was cut. The scenes themselves are not very exciting either. Included are:

Director's Commentary - Florent Siri

    A decent quality commentary, however not outstanding. Siri discusses how he got involved in the project, thanks some crew, some technical detail and casting decisions, however he mostly focuses on discussing his view of the plot. His French accent makes him sometimes difficult to make out, however it is not too bad. There are some pauses but generally he keeps it moving along. Worth a listen.

Theatrical Trailer

    Good quality trailer (which was actually nominated for a Golden Trailer award) but to my mind it gives away a little too much of the plot.


R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 release is exactly the same except for a French 5.1 soundtrack not found on the local release. Sounds like a draw to me.


    A tense and exciting action thriller which will certainly please fans of the genre.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The disc contains a decent set of extras without being anything groundbreaking.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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