Overall | Belly of the Beast (2003) | Half Past Dead (2002) | Today You Die (2005)

Seagal Action Pack (2002)

Seagal Action Pack (2002) (NTSC)

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Released 21-Mar-2006

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Overall Package

    To say that this 3 disc set is a mixed bag is an understatement. Belly Of The Beast and Today You Die represent the worst the Direct To DVD (DTD) market has to offer. The one bright spot, the ridiculously titled Half Past Dead, is no great shakes either. However, when compared to the latter entries it comes across as a study in fine film making. This box set is for Steven Seagal completists only.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Monday, June 26, 2006
Other Reviews NONE
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Overall | Belly of the Beast (2003) | Half Past Dead (2002) | Today You Die (2005)

Belly of the Beast (2003)

Belly of the Beast (2003) (NTSC)

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Released 23-Feb-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Foreigner, Out For A Kill, Returner
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 88:07
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Siu-Tung Ching
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Steven Seagal
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music None Given


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

   Jake Hopper is a former CIA agent who has been out of action for over ten years. His daughter Jessica is kidnapped while on a trip to Thailand by a rebellious group known as the Abu Kafar, led by the enigmatic `Mongkol'. Jake learns of the news and decides he must go to Thailand to rescue his daughter. Meanwhile, the CIA send their top man, Leon Washington, to Thailand to make sure Jake doesn’t cause any trouble. Leon is about to learn the hard way never to mess with Jake Hopper's family.

    Belly of The Beast is another nail in the coffin of what's left of Steven Seagal's career. Sporting a serious weight problem and more stunt doubles than the entire cast of Ben-Hur, the once mighty action icon is painful to watch. His line delivery is appalling (when he actually decides to deliver his own dialogue that is), and his once breathtaking Akido moves are slow and laboured. Well, what about the story you might ask? 'What story?' would be my answer. Basically, the narrative only exists to string together clichéd set pieces that barely serve a purpose other than to add carnage to proceedings. Continuity is an afterthought. Scenes, clothing, and dialogue all change with no logical explanation. In fact, I am hard-pressed to find any redeeming features of this cinematic offal other than a very short running time. Let's give thanks for small mercies.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Belly of The Beast is presented in an aspect ratio of 1:85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen viewing.

   A reasonably sharp transfer is supported by strong black levels and very little grain.

    Colours are natural with no image bleeding.

    As expected for a new film there are barely any film or video artefacts apparent.

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

Audio

    As problematic as the actual film is, thankfully the audio track is more than acceptable. The film has been given three 5.1 audio tracks in English, Spanish and French.

    Dialogue is clear, but audio sync is all over the map. The reason for this is simply ADR. It appears that at least a third of the dialogue has been altered in post production and it shows. Parts of the film look like a bad dub job from the early eighties.

    The film's score is non-descript and thankfully disappears into the background.

    Surround channel usage is quite strong. Rear channels are well balanced and aggressive. Directional effects and ambient noise are consistently used throughout the film.

    The subwoofer contributes strong bass and reverberation levels.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailers

    The Foreigner, Out For A Kill, Returner

R4 vs R1

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

   All versions currently available are the same.

Summary

    I am hard-pressed to find any redeeming qualities in Belly Of The Beast. Steven Seagal appears to have lost all interest in making decent films, so why should his fan base feel any different, particularly considering the quality of the work.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLG 42" High Definition Plasma with built in High Definition Tuner. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
This Is A USA R1 Disc? - Concern Citizen

Overall | Belly of the Beast (2003) | Half Past Dead (2002) | Today You Die (2005)

Half Past Dead (2002)

Half Past Dead (2002) (NTSC)

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Released 8-Jul-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Alternative Version-Full Screen Version
Audio Commentary-Director
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-I Spy, National Security, xXx
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 94
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 3,4 Directed By Don Michael Paul
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Steven Seagal
Morris Chestnut
Ja Rule
Nia Peeples
Tony Plana
Kurupt
Michael Taliferro
Claudia Christian
Linda Thorson
Bruce Weitz
Michael McGrady
Hannes Jaenicke
Matt Battaglia
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Tyler Bates
Ken Jordan


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
Portuguese
Chinese
Korean
Thai
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Steven Seagal plays Sascha Petrosevitch, an undercover FBI agent intent on bringing down a vicious crime lord responsible for the death of his wife. After a botched chop shop sting, Sascha and Nick Frazier (Ja Rule) are sent to a newly re-opened Alcatraz prison. Things quickly go from bad to worse when a group of elite criminals take over the prison. Their mission is to interrogate one of the prisoners scheduled for execution who knows where $200 million worth of gold bars are hidden. Not only do they want the prisoner for his knowledge of the gold, they're also holding a Supreme Court Justice hostage for insurance. Now it's up to Sascha to gather the remaining prisoners and fight back before Alcatraz becomes everyone's final resting place.

    This was the last film Seagal brought to the multiplexes, and in hindsight now feels like a Shakespearean opus compared to the direct to DVD atrocities of the last few years. The direction is competent, the script actually makes sense, the special effects are adequate and the big guy actually delivers his own lines. Director Don Michael Paul is obviously trained in the Michael Bay school of more is more filmmaking. He manages to elevate a cliché-ridden script that borrows heavily from past action classics like The Rock & Die Hard, and makes the enterprise enjoyable, albeit in the sense of a guilty pleasure. Indeed, several shots of the San Francisco Bay area are unused dailies from The Rock, lent by Bay himself. Seagal, looking heavy and tired, manages to participate in most of the fight sequences with only one or two noticeable stunt double shots. Half Past Dead turns out to be the last semi-respectable outing for Seagal, and as such fans should savour it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Half Past Dead is presented in both full screen and 1:85:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

    The transfer is very sharp, with no signs of aliasing and little in the way of edge enhancement. Mind you this is a Sony release so quality is assured. Black levels are strong, with fine shadow detail impressively rendered. There were no low level noise issues.

    The film's colours are mostly blends of blues and grey, so natural colours are intentionally muted.

    The transfer is fairly devoid of film and video artefacts.

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

Audio

   There are four audio options offered on this disc. Firstly, we have a very dynamic English 5.1 Dolby Digital track, followed by two 2.0 surround tracks in Spanish and Portuguese. The final track is a 2.0 surround Director's Commentary.

    Dialogue is clear with no discernable audio sync hiccoughs.

    The film's score is a mix of Rap and Hip Hop chart busters.

    The 5.1 Surround Channel track is excellent. The rear channels are kept extremely busy with directional effects making full use of the 5.1 soundfield.

    Subwoofer use is first rate, with excellent bass and reverberation levels.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Menu Audio

Alternative Version - Full screen version.

Audio Commentary

    Director Don Michael Paul delivers a fairly interesting commentary. He spends a lot of time on low budget filming techniques, location work and his directorial influences. An interesting commentary if somewhat dry.

Deleted Scenes

Featurette-Making Of

    Standard promotional EPK fluff. Typical of such fillers, the cast and crew tell the audience how great everyone is. Fairly worthless.

Theatrical Trailers

    XXX, I Spy and National Security.

R4 vs R1

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

    All versions currently available are the same, give or take the full screen availability.

Summary

  Half Past Dead turns out to be the last semi-respectable outing for Seagal. Considering how mediocre the film is really indicates how low the mighty have fallen. However, the disc looks and sounds great.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLG 42" High Definition Plasma with built in High Definition Tuner. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Belly of the Beast (2003) | Half Past Dead (2002) | Today You Die (2005)

Today You Die (2005)

Today You Die (2005) (NTSC)

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Released 20-Dec-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Trailer-Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, The Marksman, Submerged
Trailer-Into The Sun, Kung Fu Hustle, Layer Cake
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 90
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,4 Directed By Don E. FauntLeRoy
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Steven Seagal
Anthony 'Treach' Criss
Mari Morrow
Lawrence Turner
Nick Mancuso
Jerry Trimble
Robert Miano
Kevin Tighe
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Stephen Edwards
Tom Erba
Scott Marcussen


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Steven Seagal slide into direct to DVD hell continues. This time he plays a modern day Robin Hood, who steals from assorted Las Vegas drug dealers and gives the money to struggling children's hospitals and other charitable institutions. Now framed for an armed hold-up and sent to a maximum security prison, the Seagal meister must escape and clear his name.

    At this stage in the Under Seige veteran's career all hope is lost for a big screen comeback. Seagal puts in an atrocious performance, even for him. I got the impression he was reading from queue cards during his line delivery. The sheer look of disinterest in the aging action icon's performance is pathetic. About the only positive thing that can be said about his effort is at least he showed up for his dubbing sessions, unlike most of his other recent efforts. Director Don E. FauntLeRoy adds nothing to the mix. Tired action set pieces are strewn together with all the imagination and artistic merit of an episode of the A-Team. Today You Die is without merit and should be sentenced to oblivion.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Today You Die is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1:85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for widescreen viewing.

    The transfer is fairly sharp with little in the way of edge enhancement. Black levels are strong with reasonable shadow detail. There are patches of grain scattered amongst the darker elements, however low level noise problems are not apparent.

    Colours are natural with no signs of image bleeding.

    There are few film or video artefacts present and those that are do not present a problem.

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

Audio

    The film has been graced with two Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in English and French.

    Dialogue is clear, except when Seagal is mumbling his way through atrociously written dialogue. Audio sync is reasonable, with the standard post ADR changes sticking out.

    The film's score is standard C grade fodder with urban hip hop scattered throughout.

    Surround channel usage is reasonable. The rear channels offer a number of directional sound effects, and ambient background noise is present throughout.

    The subwoofer adds enough bass and reverberation to carry the mediocre soundtrack.

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

Extras

Trailers for

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, The Marksman, Submerged Into The Sun, Kung Fu Hustle, Layer Cake

R4 vs R1

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

    All versions currently available appear the same.

Summary

   Today You Die is for Seagal completists only. The film by itself is beyond redemption and not worth 90 minutes of your time. The disc looks and sounds fine - it's the content that causes concern.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLG 42" High Definition Plasma with built in High Definition Tuner. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE