American Outlaws (2001)
Main Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Audio Commentary-L Mayfield (Dir), J Rogers (Co-Writ) & M Tronick (Ed)
Featurette-Creating The Old West
Featurette-How To Be An Outlaw
Featurette-Costuming The Cowboys
Easter Egg-Steam Train Sequence
|Year Of Production||2001|
|Running Time||90:20 (Case: 92)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (51:02)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Les Mayfield|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
American Outlaws is the story of the James-Younger gang, and starts with the two James brothers Jesse (Colin Farrell) and Frank (Gabriel Macht) returning home with their cousins Cole (Scott Caan), Jim (Gregory Smith) and Bob (Will McCormack) Younger from the American Civil War where they have all ridden in a band of partisan raiders fighting on the side of the South. On arrival back in their hometown of Liberty, their desire is to return to life on the land. However, this dream is short-lived as the railroad is coming to town and the representatives of the Rock Island Railroad are keen to acquire the land they need for a pittance if they can or by any other means if the land owners are not prepared to sell.
Unfortunately for the railroad, when they try to persuade the James family to part with their farm they end up killing Ma James (Kathy Bates) in the process. The James boys enlist their cousins and other ex-raiders to help obtain revenge on the railroad for this act and they set about travelling around the countryside robbing the banks and trains that have the railroad's money in their keeping. Needless to say, the railroad in the form of its owner Thaddeus Rains (Harris Yulin) and his enlisted henchman Allan Pinkerton (Timothy Dalton) take great exception to the actions of the James-Younger gang and set about the arduous task of hunting them down.
I'm no expert on the history of the American West, however I'll venture that the producers of American Outlaws have taken some poetic licence with this portrayal of Jesse James' life. As films go, this is more likely to appeal to those looking for some light entertainment as opposed to a gritty view of the reality of the old West or a factual account of the life and times of the James gang. On the positive side, there's plenty of action and the reference quality soundtrack will give both your sound system and your ears a good workout!
This is an excellent transfer without any but the most minor of problems. In other words, Roadshow Home Entertainment have done their usual excellent job!
This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. The original aspect ratio is 1.85:1.
There are no concerns with sharpness or shadow detail. There is no low level noise. There is a small amount of edge enhancement seen occasionally but this could be easily overlooked as it never reaches a distracting level.
A full colour palette is available with all colours accurately rendered. Skin tones appear quite natural.
No compression artefacts were apparent. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of a couple of very minor instances of aliasing. Except for some minor film grain being apparent occasionally, I don't recall seeing any other film artefacts in this transfer.
English subtitles are the only option available on this disc. The subtitles are displayed in white text at the bottom of the screen are easily read. They are not the most accurate I have seen with quite a few phases and words varying from the spoken dialogue, however in the 15 minutes or so that I checked there were no significant deviations in so far as the meaning was concerned.
This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring in Chapter 17, at 51:02. Its placement in the middle of a scene is slightly disruptive to the flow of the movie.
This is a fantastic audio transfer and is of reference quality. I'd be surprised if you could experience this soundtrack and walk away unimpressed.
The audio defaults to an English Dolby Digital 5.1 dialogue track. There is an additional Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded commentary track. I listened to both.
The dialogue is perfectly clear at all times. There are no obvious problems with audio sync.
While he is not as well known as some composers, Trevor Rabin has quite a long list of well-known blockbuster movies behind him including Gone In 60 Seconds, Armageddon and Rock Star. The music for American Outlaws is impressive and is best described as rousing. The main theme music is quite reminiscent of the score from Armageddon. I enjoyed the score which was successful in enhancing the viewing experience and complementing the on-screen action.
The surrounds are very active when needed and are very successful at drawing the viewer into the thick of the action. The opening battle sequence is a good example of this with cannon shot and bullets whizzing past your ears. The surrounds are also used extensively in support of the music score.
Equally, the subwoofer is also very active as needed and is used aggressively and intensely to underscore explosions and similar events. A good example of the use of the subwoofer occurs at 23:40 during the horse stampede.
|Surround Channel Use|
In typical Roadshow Entertainment fashion, there are quite a few reasonable extras including a commentary track from the director and others involved in making the film.
The menu is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and includes 16x9 enhancement. The menu features Dolby Digital 2.0 audio but no animation is provided.
Both deleted scenes are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 without 16x9 enhancement. Both feature Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio. The first scene, "Jesse and Frank Argue", runs for 2:15 and has some minor audio dropouts. The second scene, "Jim and Lyla", runs for 1:28. There is a significant amount of aliasing present in both.
A typical trailer which is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.
This is accessed to the right of the Main Menu option in the Special Features Menu. This feature which runs for 1.38 and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 provides some background on the various steam train sequences in the movie, which were shot using the trains and facilities of the Texas State Railroad.
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:
In my view, it's a close call as to which is the best version. It really comes down to how much you want a DTS soundtrack.
American Outlaws is definitely not a great movie, but it is a good movie and therefore not a bad way to spend a couple of hours if you're looking for some action and light entertainment. It provides plenty of action and is blessed with an excellent transfer.
The video quality is superb, and is almost of reference quality.
The audio quality is superb, and is of reference quality.
The extras are quite satisfactory.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300|