In the Line of Duty-Street War (1992)

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Released 1-May-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Gallery-Photo
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 94:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Dick Lowry
Studio
Distributor

MRA Entertainment
Starring Mario Van Peebles
Michael Boatman
Ray Sharkey
Peter Boyle
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $14.95 Music Mark Snow


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 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

    Street War is the second of the In The Line Of Duty series that I've had a chance to review and this one is a lot better scripted and acted than the first one. Basically, I've found the series to be a bit hit-and-miss with the quality of these movie-length episodes. If you get the right cast and a good script they are highly enjoyable and worth the watch, but some really drag on and feature far too many clichés, too much overacting and offer highly simplified views of real events. Otherwise these are good, easy to watch movies that won't overload you with information or try to confuse you with convoluted plots.

    There is nothing especially complex about this movie. A young black man, Prince Franklin (Maurice Chestnut) has only been out of prison for three months and is already finding it hard to make an honest living back in the real world. Nobody wants to know him, except his girlfriend and and old friend from the hood, Justice Butler (Courtney B. Vance). The trouble is, Justice is a crack dealer and along with his henchmen Goody and Raheem he metes out death and destruction with both his product and in his attempts to maintain strict control of his territory. Prince comes to realise this, but later rather than sooner and finds himself well out of his depth when it comes to a showdown.

    Walking the beat are two cops, Robert Dayton and Raymond Williamson (Michael Boatman and Mario Van Peebles), friends for life and each comfortable with the other's company. They patrol their assigned areas and although life is hard they get along fine with almost everyone until a random event one day on patrol changes all that. Justice has just been ripped off by one of his people. Seething with rage, he grabs a gun and takes off after him. Eventually, he catches up to him in a tenement building, but the two cops can be heard inside the stairwell hitting their batons against the wall. Not being able to risk a shot, his quarry makes a fast getaway up the stairs. Justice follows up the opposite stairwell and comes across Officer Williamson (Peebles), who, sensing something is amiss turns to confront Justice but receives a bullet in the throat for his trouble and slowly bleeds to death on the stairwell floor.

    Two detectives, Tomasino and Reilly (Ray Sharkey and Peter Boyle) are assigned to track down the killer of Officer Williamson and work methodically to uncover the perpetrator the crime. In the meantime, Officer Dayton (Boatman) takes things hard and begins his own investigation, without permission, and threatens to undo his own career by interfering. Leads turn into nothing as Justice successfully evades police detection until a lucky tip-off comes from an unlikely source. Now they have their man, but can they get a witness to testify that will stand up in court and prove successful?

    This is not an overly long movie but it is very easy on the senses. The picture isn't the best I've seen but the acting is competent, although there are a couple of definitely overacted moments. The script is nicely paced so as not to make you yawn. This is one of the better of the bunch of this series.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The only really annoying thing about this transfer is the total lack of timing codes on the disc making it impossible to determine precisely where things are a little awry, so I've approximated with scene information where possible or made generalisations. For the most part, this is a very presentable and clean transfer with few problems or glitches that will distract the viewer.

    Made for television, this is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    You might find this a little on the blurry side at times. I know I did. There are some excellent moments when definition is crisp and clean but these moments are in the minority and fine detail suffers a little, although there was no visible edge enhancement that I could see. Shadow detail was reasonably good with decent background detail being discernable even in the darkest scenes. Grain was kept under good control, although you could see it from time to time. Low level noise was not apparent and therefore not an issue.

    The colour had a slight reddish tinge throughout, but nothing that was particularly drastic. It gave skin tones a slight sunburnt appearance, but was otherwise not an issue. There wasn't a huge colour palette on offer here, mostly earthy and darker tones, except for some of the clothes worn by the 'pimps' and 'dopers' which were obvious stereotypes if ever I've seen one.

    The best part about the movie is the almost total lack of artefacts on view. There was no MPEG artefacts noticed and only a little shimmering for the most part. The worst artefact was some aliasing on the outside of a bar called Goodies. Every now and then you might notice a small spot or fleck that catches your eye, but this is an extremely clean transfer.

    There are no subtitles available with this disc and this is a single layered disc.

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

Audio

    Generally this is a very serviceable soundtrack with a couple of notable problems.

    There is only one soundtrack on this disc, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track at a very decent 448 kilobits per second. For the most part, the sound is dominated by dialogue which is placed squarely into the centre channel with the left and right speakers confined to sound effects and ambient noise. When the music pumps up, you then get a nice immersive effect across the fronts supplemented by some activity from the rears for a decent soundtrack overall.

    Slight problems occur with sound effects such as footsteps and cars passing by when they echo or become hollow-sounding. An example is when the detectives are in Taylorville searching for Justice - as the cars drive by you can hear a hollowness in the sound. Apart from this, though, this is a very serviceable soundtrack.

    The dialogue and audio sync were fine and I couldn't detect any problems.

    The music is by Mark Snow who also did many of the other shows in this series. It is another serviceable effort with a bit more punch to it and some excellent musical overlays which add significantly to the overall effect.

    Although this soundtrack doesn't have the surround encoding flag embedded in it, my system did place a lot of the music into the rears for a really good sound envelope at times. This wasn't consistent, but it was a bonus.

    No subwoofer activity was detected in this soundtrack.

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

Extras

Gallery-Photo

    With approximately 12 seconds between pictures, this has 14 different shots from the movie presented in a slide-show array. Unfortunately you can't select the picture to view. The pictures themselves have an overly red look to them as if the colour balance was off.

Theatrical Trailer

    Running for approximately 2:20 (again no time coding), this trailer is full of smudges, flecks and is very grainy.

R4 vs R1

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

    Although available in Region 1, from the looks of it, it has the same features as the locally released disc. Given the price I've seen it available for here, I'd recommend the locally produced item.

Summary

    In The Line Of Duty-Street War is a reasonably entertaining 90 odd minutes which won't overtax your mind with a complex plot. The actors make a decent fist of things and this is easily one of the better in this series. The video is a little soft at times but nothing objectionable. The audio is adequate for what is being presented although it has a couple of annoying glitches and at the price I wouldn't be too worried about extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Saturday, August 03, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD5300, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderRotel RSP-976. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationRotel RB 985 MkII
SpeakersJBL TLX16s Front Speakers, Polk Audio LS fx di/bipole Rear Speakers, Polk Audio CS350-LS Centre Speaker, M&KV-75 Subwoofer

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