The Saint (1997)

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Released 8-May-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Audio Commentary-Phillip Noyce (Director)
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 111:28
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:02) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Phillip Noyce
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Val Kilmer
Elisabeth Shue
Rade Serbedzija
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Graeme Revell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Italian
Spanish
Portuguese
Hebrew
Greek
Croatian
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Volvo is to the Saint what Aston Martin is to 007
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Saint (1997) is an entertaining movie, despite the fact that it never really decides if it is a character-based drama or an action flick.

    When watching The Saint, one cannot help but compare it to recent James Bond movies. After all, The Saint is about a charming and resourceful man of mystery who drives dream cars and seduces gorgeous women. He also carries out daring secret missions in various exotic locations, armed with his wits and a vast array of high-tech gadgets. While it is fairly obvious that the very successful return to the big-screen by James Bond in 1995 encouraged the production of this movie, it should be noted that in terms of books, television and movies, The Saint predates Mr. Bond by many years.

    Leslie Charteris' first novel about the Saint was titled Meet The Tiger, and it was published in 1928. Charteris wrote over fifty books and short stories about the Saint right up until his death in 1993. The Saint Detective Magazine, later renamed The Saint Mystery Magazine, began in the 1950s, and the original television series The Saint (starring Roger Moore) was launched in 1962 and ran for an amazing eight years. I grew up watching (and loving)  re-runs of this show and of The Return of the Saint which kicked off in 1978 for a two year run. There were short-lived attempts at new television versions in 1987 and 1989. The 1997 movie that is the subject of this review is actually the sixteenth movie about the Saint. The others were made principally in the 1930s and 40s.

    As for this version, billionaire-megalomaniac Ivan Tretiak (Rade Serbedzija), seeks the top job in Russia. To assist his evil plans, Tretiak hires the Saint (Val Kilmer) to steal a secret formula from a young Oxford physicist, Emma Russell (Elisabeth Shue). The Saint sets out to do the job, but along the way he discovers that it is much harder than he imagined, for reasons he had not counted on. I hope that's vague enough for you to get an idea of what the story is about, without giving too much away (in case you haven't already seen it).

    Kilmer is adequate as the Saint, but sorely lacks the style and screen presence of Pierce Brosnan or Roger Moore. I also got a little tired of Kilmer constantly playing 'dress-up' during the movie. I think he must be attracted to roles involving wigs, costumes, uniforms and/or disguises -- think of Top Gun, Willow, The Doors, Tombstone, Ghost And The Darkness and Batman Forever. Shue is great, as always, as the trusting and slightly naive woman who gets her heart broken -- a role she's  perfected through performances in such movies as Cocktail and Leaving Las Vegas. Of course she is completely unbelievable as one of the world's premier nuclear physicists. The supporting actors do the best they can with their fairly one-dimensional characters.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Ever since Paramount's belated entry into the Region 4 market, they have impressed me with their generally beautiful transfers. Think of Saving Private Ryan, Mission Impossible 1 and 2, and Wayne's World 1 and 2. The Saint adds yet another 'demo disc' to their stable of beauties. This is helped by the fact that this movie contains some marvellous cinematography by Phil Meheux, featuring sweeping aerial shots of Oxford and Red Square, Moscow.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is crisp, clear and very sharp. There is an incredible amount of fine detail visible in many of the scenes. The black level and shadow detail are superb.

    The colour is wonderful. For example, there are beautifully warm colours for Oxford, and icy cold colours for Moscow. Flesh tones are very accurate.

    There were no MPEG artefacts to complain of, but sadly there is aliasing throughout the movie. For example, a slight shimmer can be seen on the stairs at 7:21 and on the books at 12:21.

    Small film artefacts appear throughout the movie, but they are not distracting. Early examples can be seen at 6:43 and 13:53.

    There are thirteen sets of subtitles present on this DVD, and the English subtitles are accurate.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 58:02. It is very smooth and not disruptive.

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

Audio

    There are three Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks on this DVD: English, Italian, and Spanish. There is also a director's commentary in Dolby Digital Stereo.

    The dialogue quality is good, and the audio sync is adequate on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

    The musical score is credited to Graeme Revell, and is comprised of a traditional orchestral score with a techno-beat mixed into it on occasion. The score also presents a few variations on the very recognisable theme music from the television series.

    The surround presence and activity is very good. The rear speakers are used effectively to help carry the score (for example at 26:35) and provide ambience (for example the wind at 9:34 and the crowd at 94:44). There are also some effective split rear directional effects, such as the barking dog at 65:20

    The subwoofer is also utilised very effectively throughout the movie to support both the score, such as the 'techno-music' at 8:37, and the sound effects, such as the heart-beat effect at 6:16 and 50:49, and the explosion at 81:44.

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

Extras

    The extras are 'quality' rather than 'quantity'.

Menu

    A very simple menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. It is static and silent.

Theatrical Trailer (2:03)

    This accurately represents the movie, and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital Stereo audio.

Director's Commentary

    Aussie Director Phillip Noyce provides a very enthusiastic commentary in which he discusses various aspects of the movie. He shares interesting anecdotes and a lot of background information about the movie. This is one of the most informative commentaries I have heard, as Noyce goes far beyond just narrating what is on screen, but delves into the history of The Saint and his own Aussie childhood.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Saint was released on DVD in Region 1 in January 2002.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    Unlike our Region 1 friends, we have been treated to an RSDL disc, and we also get to enjoy our superior PAL image. Therefore I easily favour our version.

Summary

    The Saint is an enjoyable movie featuring beautiful cinematography and a great transfer.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is also excellent.

    The extras are 'quality' rather than 'quantity'.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Saturday, March 09, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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