Guardian (2000)

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Released 28-Feb-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 86:06 (Case: 90)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Terlesky
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Mario Van Peebles
James Remar
Daniel Hugh Kelly
Stacy Oversier
Karina Lombard
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music Joseph Stanley Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   While this film is not going to be nominated for an Academy Award it is not that bad. The story line is a boilerplate to some extent: evil spirit is released from tomb, takes over people's bodies causing the usual confusion when friends turn nasty, has plans to take over the world and so forth. However, they have managed to add a few interesting twists to the story that will actually keep your interest focused on the film.

    The action on-screen has also been influenced by recent films with the now-obligatory wire work being included. It is also interesting to browse around the writer's credits and the actor's credits for the people involved in this film.

    Mario Van Peebles plays an L.A.P.D. detective called John Kross. John served with the marines during the Gulf War. He was a member of the reconnaissance battalion that worked behind enemy lines pointing lasers at targets so that the smart bombs could hit them. While on one of these missions, he observes an archaeologist digging up a large coffin marked 'do not open'. At the same time, he sees that the archaeologist's wife has just given birth to a baby and he moves in to rescue the civilians before the smart bomb arrives. Unfortunately, all does not quite go to plan. While trying to rescue the baby, John is wounded, the coffin is opened and the bomb arrives. While lying half-conscious, he sees a strange woman take the baby, and when he wakes up in hospital he finds that someone has carved all sorts of interesting symbols into his chest.

    We move forward a number of years and find John working as a detective trying to track down the source of a new drug called Chaos. Taken in quantity, this drug causes people to run around killing others. At about this time, the evil spirit from the coffin turns up in L.A. From here, the story takes some mildly interesting turns and twists so I will say no more.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    While the rest of the world, or at least R1 and R2, appear to have received a 1.85:1 16x9 enhanced transfer, we have been given a 1.33:1 non 16x9 enhanced transfer. The fact that R2 got a 1.85:1 transfer indicates that a widescreen PAL transfer is available, leaving me to wonder why we received a 1.33:1 effort.

    The sharpness is not too bad. There is a slight lack of really fine detail but overall it is pretty good. The shadow detail is good but the blacks are not absolutely black, and almost look like 7.5 IRE level black to me. There is no low level noise.

    The colours are also pretty good although the colour balance changes occasionally, sometimes being a little cool and sometimes a little hot, although this could be intentional to suit the mood of a scene - it's hard to say.

    There are some minor MPEG artefacts, although surprisingly few for a single layered disc. There is some pixelization present but not constantly through the transfer. You can see some examples of this at 8:40 and at 41:04, surprisingly both during close-ups of our hero. The pixelization occurs about every 16th frame and may be because the compression ratio was raised, maybe a little too far, because there was no action on screen. There is also some edge enhancement present such as on the jacket at 26:08.

    The film master for this transfer is basically spotless with no marks, flecks or grain visible.

    There are no subtitles.

    This is a single layered disc..

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

Audio

    Here we have the inverse of the video situation. While overseas they received a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded track, we have received a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, although the soundtrack does not take advantage of the capabilities of the 5.1 format and other than the LFE track it sounds pretty much like a matrixed surround track. The case also incorrectly states that the soundtrack is 2.0 surround.

    There are no transfer problems with the soundtrack but occasionally the diction of the actors makes things a little hard to catch.The audio was in sync with the on screen action.

    The music was not particularly noticeable though it did add a reasonable backdrop to most scenes.

    The surrounds really sounded more like a matrixed track rather than a discrete mix. There were no split effects and while it drew the soundstage somewhat away from the front it did not really immerse the viewer in the action.

    The LFE meter was almost constantly showing some activity but this was not reflected in what was heard. The bass lacked any real slam or impact.

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

Extras

   

Menu

    A simple static menu with a background graphic and no sound.

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented at 1.85:1 and not 16x9 enhanced, the trailer runs for 1:53 and is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. As usual, the trailer gives away too much but other than that it does represent the film reasonably well. It also reminds you that the film is not in the right ratio.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    While I can't see anyone laying out the dollars to import this one, we do have a Region 1 winner here.

   

Summary

    I found that the interesting mythology that they chose to include in Guardian added quite a lot to what is basically a direct-to-video production. As long as you approach this film in the right state of mind, there is a reasonable night's entertainment available, assuming that you can stand the non-widescreen picture.

    The video transfer is not too bad.

    The audio is pretty boring.

    A trailer is all the extras that you get.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Friday, March 22, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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