Hard to Kill (1990)

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Released 2-Apr-1999

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Biographies-Cast
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 92
RSDL / Flipper Dual Sided Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Bruce Malmuth

Warner Home Video
Starring Steven Seagal
Kelly Le Brock
Bill Sadler
Frederick Coffin
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music David Michael Frank

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Pan & Scan English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    "I'm gonna take you to the bank, Senator Trent - the blood bank". Ahh, a Steven Seagal movie. With unmistakable lines like this one scattered throughout the movie, there can be no doubt that this is what you are watching.

    Steven Seagal movies are very much like porno flicks, except that most of the gratuitous sex has been replaced with gratuitous violence. The plots and the dialogue are of the same standard, which is to say that they are completely superfluous to the action on screen.

    In fact, the plots of Steven Seagal movies are always the same - law enforcement officer Seagal has had his family shot or threatened and he is out for revenge or to protect his family. Lots of gratuitous violence occurs. Minor characters are killed seemingly by being slapped in the face or by some other trivial mode of injury. More important characters are killed in more novel and more spectacular fashions. Seagal comes out on top. The movie ends.

    Mason Storm (Steven Seagal) is a Los Angeles detective who gets some dirt on a prospective Californian Senator. The Senator gets wind of what is going on, and Storm's family is killed. Storm is left for dead, but after being in a coma for seven years, he wakes up and is quickly back to his old self. Of course, he wants revenge, so with the aid of a bizarrely-accented Kelly Le Brock, he goes and gets it.

    Steven Seagal movies work on several levels. Firstly, they work on the gratuitous violence level, of which there is plenty in this movie. Secondly, they work on their unintentional comedic qualities. Both the dialogue and the delivery of the dialogue in his movies is so bad that they are hysterically funny. Action, and unintentional comedy - what a combination!

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Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is good, and belies the age of the movie.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The other side of the disc carries a Pan & Scan presentation of the movie.

    The transfer was mostly clear and sharp, though a number of scenes here and there were a bit on the grainy side. Shadow detail was lacking, with most dark scenes just being black with little detail in them. Nonetheless, no low level noise spoiled these scenes.

    The colours were a little on the oversaturated side, but were generally acceptable.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts were non-existent. Film artefacts were present more often than I would have expected, but they were always minor and acceptable.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack and an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack.I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    Dialogue was a little on the muffled side, but remained clearly understandable throughout, not that this matters much in a movie of this ilk.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The musical score was by David Michael Frank, and sounded very dated indeed.

     The surround channels had little to do in this movie, with the mix essentially being centre channel for dialogue, left and right front for music, and ping-pong left and right front for special effects. This was a very poorly integrated mix, as the mix tended to distract from the on-screen action by virtue of the extreme placement of effects to the left or right for no apparent reason.

   The .1 channel received a limited amount of signal at times but was basically silent.


    Only extremely limited extras are on this disc.


    The main menu is plain and functional. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Cast Biographies

    There are only two of these, though they are reasonably comprehensive.

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 Production Notes and Trailers for other Stephen Seagal movies - nothing of any consequence. Call this one even.


    Hard To Kill is worth a rental, but unless you are a Steven Seagal fan, I don't think I'd bother buying this disc. The disc itself is fine.

    The video quality is good, especially considering the age of the movie.

    The audio quality is passable.

    The extras present are very very limited.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
Tuesday, May 18, 1999
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Art-95 (95cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderDenon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
Amplification2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
SpeakersPhilips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer

Other Reviews
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Ian M (Biological imperfection run amok)
DVD Net - Terry O

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