Shooters (2000)

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Released 6-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Animation & Audio
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 91:33
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Glenn Durfort
Colin Teague
Studio
Distributor
PFG Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Adrian Dunbar
Andrew Howard
Louis Dempsey
Gerard Butler
Jason Hughes
Matthew Rhys
Emma Fielding
Ioan Gruffydd
Jamie Sweenie
Melanie Lynskey
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Kemal Ultanur


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, drugs as well.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The UK's output of gangster films over the years seems only to be paralleled by our own productions of "quirky-Australiana". While there have been some great British gangster films (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, its spiritual sequel Snatch and last year's Sexy Beast), and there have been some not-so-great-but-still-enjoyable British gangster films (Love, Honour, and Obey), there have unfortunately been some complete duds. Shooters is one such film.

    There is almost nothing to like about Shooters. The characters are largely unsympathetic - to the point where it is easy to sit there wishing their dangerous lifestyle would hurry up and claim them - and the world they inhabit is at once bleak and clichéd, making a combination that is not only boring to watch, but entirely predictable. These gangsters are involved in drugs (oh my), guns (oh gosh), and there is even the suggestion of kinky sex, although this film even fails here as it is only suggested, not shown. This is the major problem with Shooters - much like a 13-year old in a chat-room, it talks the talk, but it can't walk the walk. There is plenty of profanity, and the film puts a lot of effort into proving that the gangsters are just ordinary people who are no good at any "normal" jobs, but the violence, and yes, the sex, are strangely censored, which severely weakens the impact.

    The story, for those who care, follows the just-released-from-prison Gilly (Louis Dempsey) as he re-unites with his old buddy J (Andrew Howard). It turns out that J has invested the pair's spoils (we never really learn much about what sent Gilly to prison, although it is hinted that it was actually J's fault) in a new gun deal. Gilly has to last the week to collect his share. Meanwhile, J's current boss, the local crime lord Max (Adrian Dunbar), is starting to make life tough for J and his wife. To top it all off a psycho from out of town (Gerard Butler) is flying in to deal guns with J (behind Max's back) and drugs with Max.

    The only real points of interest in this film are the appearances of Gerard Butler and Ioan Gruffudd as Freddy Guns. Both men are on the fast-track to becoming Hollywood golden boys, so it is interesting to see them in some earlier performances (although Gruffudd is only on screen for a very short time). In fact, the performances are generally good across the board - it is just that the actors have little to work with.

    With a better script and more controlled direction, Shooters could have at least been enjoyable (it is probably pushing it a little bit too far to suggest that it could ever have been a great film), but what we have here is a slow-moving and completely uninteresting mess of a film that makes a lot of noise but delivers nothing to back it up.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer presented for Shooters is only of a fair quality, and the lack of care given to this disc by Universal is obvious (although for once, I cannot blame them).

    Presented at 1.85:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced. I was unable to ascertain if this was the intended aspect ratio, but the framing would suggest that it is.

    Sharpness is generally good, although there are a number of scenes where the image is decidedly soft, and there is also some use of footage from security cameras (such as from 14:35 to 14:54) that is (intentionally) extremely soft and grainy. Grain is the largest problem with this transfer. For a film that was shot only recently, the level of grain is almost unforgivable - so much so that part, at least, may well have been filmed using 16mm film. Virtually every time the lighting conditions deteriorate, the image becomes obviously grainy, and there are a few occasions where the grain becomes so heavy as to obstruct clear viewing, such as from 65:51 to 66:54. Shadow detail is only fair - darker scenes can at times be relatively clear, while at other times anything out of direct light all but disappears. While the high grain levels are almost a constant presence, there is no low-level noise when it clears up.

    Colours are the best aspect of this transfer, being as vibrant as can be expected from the bleak settings. The occasional greenery of plants is a refreshing release from the grey monotony, and the highlights of the odd piece of brightly-coloured apparel are equally vibrant.

    There is a fair amount of pixelisation during the sequences of higher grain, and this is accompanied by some posterisation (again, not helped by the high grain levels). There are a few instances of aliasing, such as on the sign at 5:51, but in general it is kept to a minimum. There is also some minor telecine wobble (the opening logo until 0:05 is a good place to see this), but nothing that is noticeable without titles present. There are numerous film artefacts, and although none are large, it is still disappointing to see so many in such a recent release.

    There are no subtitles present on this disc, and it is a single-layer effort, meaning no layer change.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is a good effort, hampered only by the 2.0 nature of the soundtrack.

    There is only a single soundtrack present on this disc, being the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0 (at 224 Kbps).

    Dialogue is usually clear and easy to understand, although there are a few occasions where heated arguments and shouted dialogue lines (such as from 78:00 to 78:15) are all but incomprehensible. On one occasion (at 29:56), there is also a problem with the dialogue level being too low to make out much of what is said. On the upside, audio sync is spot on and never a problem.

    The score is credited to Kemal Ultanur and is an interesting mix of unrecognisable noises and orchestral based fare, and some opera-style vocals are even used on occasion. In general, it does its job and stays unnoticed, although the vocal use can be quite jarring at times, and was probably an ill-advised decision. There are also a number of examples of what I can only assume is the London version of Gangsta-rap, as well as some more familiar ambient stylings. Both these styles and their use is becoming rather clichéd.

    Surround presence, for what is a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, is quite good. The surrounds carry quite a bit of the score, and even the occasional ambient noise. They are rarely used for directional surround effects, but that is really to be expected of a 2.0 mix.

    The subwoofer is called on to back up the score and a number of the effects. While its use could easily have been better, what is presented just scrapes into the good category.

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

Extras

    Although there is only a trailer, it is hard to imagine what could have been said about this film that could make it more interesting.

Menu

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced, animated, themed around the movie and features Dolby Digital 2.0 surround accompaniment. It is a sad indictment of this film that the menu is the best thing about the disc.

Theatrical Trailer (1:32)

    Presented at 1.85:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio, this trailer doesn't exactly build the enthusiasm for the movie, although it does make it look at least watchable, and that makes it false advertising.

R4 vs R1

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

    There is no Region 1 version of this film, but a Region 2 version is available that has the exact same specifications as our disc, so this is a draw.

Summary

    Shooters is a derivative, clichéd, and boring gangster film. It has almost nothing going for it, and is best left forgotten at the bottom of the pile.

    The video quality is fair, being watchable, but absolutely nothing more.

    The audio quality is good, and is really only limited by its 2.0 nature.

    This disc contains a solitary extra - the trailer - and nothing else.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Friday, October 11, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersAll matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Martin F (read my bio)
region4dvd.net - Darran H

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