Styx (Rental) (2001)
Menu Animation & Audio
|Year Of Production||2001|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Alex Wright|
Universal Pictures Home Video
|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|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, Just about everybody all the time.|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
I am afraid that I found Styx a pretty uninspiring film from start to finish. Anyone that is a fan of this film better skip down to the transfer section now.
Styx is the river around the underworld or Hades in Greek mythology. This is the river with the ferryman which you must have a coin to pay to cross. If you don't have the coin to pay then you cannot cross over and are destined to stay as a ghost forever. There is a fleeting reference to this in the film but that is about it. Just why this title was chosen escapes me completely.
If this film has a theme, it would revolve around honour amongst thieves, and seeing as there usually isn't any we start to get a picture of what this film is about. A group of criminals commit a bank robbery which goes wrong. Some time later they end up back together, but they have a history. Can they trust each other, and who is running this new operation? At the same time, one of our criminals has gotten himself into a little bit of a problem with a loan shark. The shark wants his money or else he will exact the usual repayment. This leads to an almost interesting collision when the loan shark attempt to muscle in on the new operation.
There is a car chase or two with some very obvious ramps hidden behind a pile of rubbish - mind you, a pile of rubbish out in the open just minding its own business until a car or ambulance runs into it. There are some gun battles, rather poor ones where the sound effects don't quite match the action and the combatants all attended the stormtrooper school of shooting.
This film attempts to build interest and tension by having a plot with more twists that a pretzel. Unfortunately, the pretzel is quite small - you can see where all the twists are leading and if you eat it, it certainly won't satisfy your hunger.
I don't think that we can hold our actors to account for anything in this film - they simply did not have anything to work with, which is a shame as there are some good people in this film.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness is acceptable. Movement is slightly blurred, but not excessively so. The black level is a little off being a very dark grey rather than a true black. The shadow detail is all right with most scenes showing reasonable detail.
The colours are pretty drab. This may be intentional, but if it is then it was a mistake. It just makes the film feel washed out. There are no technical problems with the colour.
There are no noticeable MPEG artefacts which surprised me. When a reviewer finds his mind wandering due to lack of plot the first thing he usually focuses on is the transfer. A truly bad film will be scrutinized minutely from start to finish. There is a small amount of edge enhancement present clearly visible at 59:31 on the coat sleeve. There is no aliasing, and the wobble in some scenes is almost definitely a hand-held camera and not a transfer problem. The film master is near spotless with no marks or flecks. There is some grain visible.
There are no subtitles.
This is a single layered disc.
There are two soundtracks, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track with the surround flag set. I listened to the 5.1 track.
There were no problems with dialogue intelligibility and the audio track was in sync. The previously mentioned gunshots were not out of sync but extra sound effects that occurred after the particular gun had ceased firing.
What music there was did not add anything to the film. In fact, it was more like Muzak than a film score.
There was some surround activity, with some mono effects from each side and some expansion of the soundstage. The best use came during an extended gun battle though they somehow just didn't integrate well into the scene.
The subwoofer received some redirected bass and some LFE activity but nothing very inspiring.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is presented at 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. It has an animated opening sequence with holes being shot into the screen followed by money cascading down the screen. It is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and the loop runs for 2:05.
Presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with the surround flag set. The quality of the transfer is not bad. The trailer is a reasonable effort though it gives away a couple of the plot twists, best left until after the film.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
While there does appear to be a Region 1 version of this disc, I could find absolutely no information about the release.
In my opinion, Styx is destined for the bargain basket at your local video store and may well not even make it out of there.
The video transfer is acceptable.
The soundtrack lacks life.
There are no real extras, which is to be expected as this is a rental disc.
|DVD||Skyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.|
|Speakers||B&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)|