Ransom: Special Edition (1996)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 8-May-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Ron Howard (Director)
Deleted Scenes-4
Featurette-What Would You Do?
Featurette-Between Takes
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1996
Running Time 116:32
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:28) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ron Howard

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Mel Gibson
Rene Russo
Gary Sinise
Delroy Lindo
Lili Taylor
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music James Horner

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish Titling
English for the Hearing Impaired
Spanish Audio Commentary
Swedish Audio Commentary
Norwegian Audio Commentary
Danish Audio Commentary
Finnish Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Ransom came out theatrically back in 1996 and enjoyed good success at the box office. Ron Howard directed Ransom and Mel Gibson starred. Ironically, Mel went on to win Best Director himself that year for his own movie, Braveheart. I like Ron Howard and believe that as a director, he is getting better with each movie he makes. Anyone who has seen his latest movie, A Beautiful Mind, will know just how much he has matured as a director.

    Ransom tells the story of business tycoon Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson), who goes through every parent's worst nightmare when his son is kidnapped. Mullen and his wife (Rene Russo) receive the dreaded call from the kidnappers demanding a two million dollar ransom for the safe return of their son. Mullen agrees to the demands of the kidnappers and has the money  sitting in two large briefcases awaiting delivery to the kidnappers. The kidnappers have given him strict instructions that there is to be no police involvement in this matter or otherwise they will kill his son. Mullen is then given step-by-step instructions by the kidnappers en route to the drop-off about where he is going to deliver the money, but little does he know that the police are also tailing him and when he is just about to deliver the money all goes horribly wrong with a hail of gunfire from the police killing one of the kidnappers. Mullen now believes that all is lost and his son will be killed. He then receives another call from the kidnappers, giving him one last chance to deliver the money. En route to the second drop-off, Mullen decides to turn the tables on the kidnappers and goes public with the money as a bounty on the head of the kidnappers - he offers the money to anyone who can bring them to justice and bring his son home.

    Ransom is an action-packed thriller also starring Gary Sinise (Apollo 13), Lili Taylor (The Haunting) and Delroy Lindo.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The transfer of this movie is very good, although it is not without a few minor problems.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is also 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is clear and sharp, although some portions of the movie, in particular the early outdoor shots, look a little grainy. Shadow detail is also good but I felt that some of the blacks looked more like a dark grey which gave the picture a washed-out look in some scenes. Low level noise was not a problem.

    The colours in this transfer varied a lot. For instance, a few of the indoor scenes were very saturated and looked a bit overdone whereas some of the outdoor scenes, in particular early on in the movie, looked a little washed-out. Whether this was the intended look the director wanted I am not quite sure - it is many years since I saw this theatrically but I can almost remember the pale colour scheme in the cinema as well.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen in this transfer, and aliasing was not a problem. Film artefacts were seen early on in the movie, but they were quite rare and so should not distract too much from the movie.

    This disc is RSDL-formatted, with the layer change placed at 71.28, right after Mel finishes a conversation with his wife. This layer change is well-placed and is not a distraction to the movie.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio transfer of this movie is good although not perfect.

    There are three audio tracks on this DVD. The first is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The second is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 track, and the last is a director's commentary track provided by Ron Howard. I listened to both the English Dolby Digital track and the audio commentary track.

    The dialogue quality on this DVD was clear and easy to understand at all times but the one criticism I have with the dialogue was that on some occasions it seemed to wander between the front three speakers instead of coming solidly from the centre speaker.

    Audio sync was not a problem with this transfer and looked spot-on.

    The musical score by James Horner was very good. The music was very dynamic and helped heighten the tension of the movie.

    The surround channels were used in very limited fashion by this soundtrack, which is very surprising given that a lot of action is taking place on-screen during a fair portion of this movie.

    The subwoofer was used to good effect during the movie's action sequences. The bass is clear and deep in these scenes.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Director's Commentary

    This director's commentary is provided by Ron Howard and runs for the full length of the movie. It is informative and definitely worth a listen to.

Deleted Scenes (3.51)

    This is a collection of four deleted scenes running for a total of nearly four minutes. They are of reasonable quality and are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced and with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

Documentary (13.16) - What Would You Do?

    This documentary is your typical lightweight fluff piece with interviews with the cast and crew as well as some on-the-set footage. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is of good quality. It is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track.

Between Takes (3.59)

    This is a collection of very brief shots of goings-on between takes. A couple of them are actually quite funny and worth a look. This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.

International Theatrical Trailer (1.04)

    The trailer for this movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. It is accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio.

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 DVD misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on;

    Clearly the choice here is to stick with the Region 4 disc as it is markedly superior to the Region 1 equivalent.


    For me, Ransom is a very good movie, and although the movie is now six years old it does not show any signs of ageing.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extras are very good and certainly satisfactory.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Stephen Wilson (read my bio)
Saturday, May 11, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplayBarco 708mm CRT front projector (line doubled) onto a 2.5m wide 16x9 aspect screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderMeridian 568.
AmplificationAdcom 555 mk2 x3
Speakers3 Klipsch La-Scala speakers (left, centre and right); 2 Infinity sm122 speakers (rear); 2 Mirage bps 400 subwoofers with 400w built in amps

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Extended Edition? - RodW REPLY POSTED