Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Blu-ray) (2009)

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Released 5-Jan-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 90:28
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jonas Åkerlund
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Dennis Quaid
Ziyi Zhang
Lou Taylor Pucci
Clifton Collins, Jr.
Barry Shabaka Henley
Patrick Fugit
Eric Balfour
Paul Dooley
Thomas Mitchell
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $34.95 Music Jan A.P. Kaczmarek


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Linear PCM 96/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Horsemen of the Apocalypse promises much, but delivers little. Horsemen's script borrows heavily from other, far superior films, most notably Seven, but fails to provide any real suspense, thrills, or even a coherent storyline. Only the reliable Dennis Quaid’s performance makes this overly-derivative-pastiche watchable. It's no surprise that this film underwent a significant re-shoot almost a year after the original production, or that even with a re-shoot and re-edit it went straight to DVD/BD internationally and missed the theatres.

     Grizzled police detective Aidan Breslin (Dennis Quaid) has been hardened through his often gruesome work and through personal tragedy with the loss of his wife. At home he has grown increasingly emotionally distant from his two sons Alex (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Sean (Liam James). Meanwhile at work, as a forensic dentistry expert he now finds himself investigating a series of cruel and bizarre serial killings based on the Biblical prophecy of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

     Borrowing heavily from far superior films such as Seven, Horsemen provides a series of overly stylised murder crime scenes that accomplished music-video director Jonas Akerlund tries hard to impress us with. But, sadly, we the audience always remain a step-ahead of him as this script clumsily fumbles forward. Sadly, much of the screenplay by David Callaham seems a hodge-podge of his favourite scenes from other films such as Silence of the Lambs. Perhaps a good example of this is the scene in which Breslin explores the tattoo/piercing parlour sub-culture. Here Callaham's script tries to immerse the already jaded protagonist in a new seedy underworld that even shocks him; but this has already been done far better in many other films such as 8mm.

     Fortunately it's not all blood spattered crime scenes, autopsy scenes, and investigations of dodgy characters in seedy locations -- which we've seen done much better elsewhere. It's Breslin's hollow home life which offers the audience something remotely interesting. Quaid's acting performance is believable and solid, and it's in these domestic scenes that the story finds some genuine depth. His performance can be contrasted with a completely unconvincing Ziyi Zhang. While she has been perfectly cast in many other films, such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, she is completely miscast here and every scene she has seems to become more ridiculous.

     Sadly, unlike Seven, there's no decent payoff at the end. The film seems to be wound up rather quickly, and the reasoning behind the murders - the plot-twist - is completely unreasonable, and beyond belief. Of course it doesn't help that it becomes fairly clear very early-on who the so-called "criminal mastermind" is behind the ugly and sadistic murders. Yawn.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Horsemen is presented with a high definition transfer, having been authored in 1920 x 1080p. The film has been encoded using AVC MPEG-4 compression and is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, in a native 16x9 frame. This is the film's original theatrical ratio.

     The sharpness of the image is fine throughout. The black level and the shadow detail is also good. Colour is used extensively for effect, and the use of lighting is also particularly good to create moods and effects. The skin tones are accurate.

     While the film stock appears a little grainy at times, there are no problems with MPEG artefacts. There are also no film-to-video artefacts such as aliasing, nor film artefacts such as small black or white marks. This is a good transfer of a fairly pristine print.

     Only English subtitles are present and appear in a very large white font. They are accurate.

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

Audio

    This Blu-ray offers three English audio choices for the feature: the first is dts 5.1 (768 kbps), the second is lossless English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and the third is Linear PCM Stereo. Both the first two surround audio options are good in their clarity and range, but I particularly enjoyed the DTS-HD Master Audio, which sounded fuller and deeper - especially in the rear speakers.

     The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent.

     The musical score is credited to Jan A.P. Kaczmarek but as with some other scores he has composed I never really noticed it.

     Horsemen is a dialogue-based film with a subtle sound design. Although the rear speakers don't get much to chew on, along with the subwoofer, they support both the film's score and the sound effects as required.

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

Extras

    The extras are limited but genuine.

Floating Pop-Up Menu

     As with other BDs, the menu can be accessed while the film is playing.

Audio Commentary

     Director Jonas Akerlund and director of photography Eric Broms provide an interesting screen-specific commentary as they discuss the film's production.

Deleted Scenes (11:44)

     There are a few deleted scenes presented with stereo audio.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region A and B BDs seem to have the same content.

Summary

     A disappointing film with little substance and an absurd plot-twist.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is also good.

     The extras are limited but genuine.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic High Definition 50' Plasma (127 cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSamsung Pure Digital 6.1 AV Receiver (HDMI 1.3)
SpeakersSamsung

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