Under Siege (1992)

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Released 7-Feb-2000

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 92:20 (Case: 98)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Andrew Davis

Warner Home Video
Starring Steven Seagal
Tommy Lee Jones
Gary Busey
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $24.95 Music Gary Chang

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/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

   Here is a movie which screams "rip-off", and actually boasts it on its back cover. Anyone for Die Hard? "Heck, that movie made a lot of money", thought the producers of Under Siege, "let's make more of the same, but this time instead of a building, let's make it a .... ummmm ... I know - boat! Yeah, that sounds good!" And you know what, it actually is good, very good. Sorry Ian old mate that you had to review Out For Justice and Hard To Kill, but Steven Seagal (or Seagull as I like to call him) is quite effective in this movie, and he plays the role with aplomb.

    For those who are not in the know, a NAVY ship loaded to the gills with nuclear-tipped Tomahawks and other nasties is cleverly hijacked and taken control of by terrorists. Gary Busey is the ship's Executive Officer who is in on the whole thing and does the work from the inside in order to allow the team of terrorists, headed by the order-barking (and barking-mad) Tommy Lee Jones, to gain entry to the ship. In the meantime, our hero Steven Seagal is the lowly cook who has been locked away for being insubordinate. As it turns out of course, our cook is in fact a steely-eyed ex-SEAL operative, highly skilled in the art of murder, weapons, explosives ... sound familiar? He then systematically defeats the entire terrorist team and regains control of the ship by the end of the film.

    The timing of this film is exceptional, with never a dull moment. Lots of clever, fast action with a fair degree of style. Tommy Lee Jones is superb, as is Gary Busey. This is movie can hold its own in this much copied genre and is certainly Steven Seagal's best work. I highly recommend this DVD.

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Transfer Quality


    After reading poor old Ian's reviews on his last batch of Steven Seagull's flops I was expecting the worst, and I looked sideways when the Warner logo first came on the screen. As I opened my eyes and turned my head I noticed that the video wasn't bad. Heck, this is a d*** solid transfer and I was very pleased and satisfied with the presentation.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and it is blessedly 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is nicely detailed, and consistently sharp throughout. It had quite a film-like appearance, being very steady and with a smooth finish to it. The singular aspect of the transfer which lets it down slightly is the shadow detail, and I had to surgically remove half a star from the rating, which is a shame because I really wanted to give it five out of five. You will definitely want to watch this in total darkness - which is how you should watch every movie anyway - because most of the movie is very, very dark. Detail in much of the darkness is lost, though just enough comes through for it not to be too much of a problem or distraction. There is no low-level noise, and there is no edge-enhancement to speak of.

    Colours were slightly recessed - after all this does take place on a battle ship, so there is not much to work with. Skin tones were quite good (Erika Eliniak's were perfect), and what colour there was was rendered very nicely and without noise or bleeding.

    I was surprised to find this movie placed on one layer, which is fairly unusual nowadays. However, with no extras whatsoever to impinge on the bit-budget, all is well. There are no significant MPEG artefacts, and indeed most of the movie is exemplary in this respect, with the compression failing in only a few scenes. There are no significant film artefacts, and absolutely no film-to-video artefacts. There is NO aliasing on this transfer at all.


    There are three Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks on offer, being in English, French and Italian. The audio is the equal of the video and is of reference quality, with absolutely nothing to complain about, and indeed much to applaud.

    Dialogue was always clear and well recorded, and I noticed no lip sync problems.

    The score, composed by Gary Chang (who is a prolific TV scorer) is very interesting, and greatly adds to the effectiveness of the movie as a whole. Its near constant percussive rhythms provide suspense and pace for the movie, and I enjoyed it very much. It is well recorded, with a full sound and is very detailed. The front soundstage actually wraps around you, with sidewall imaging provided by the surrounds, and the depth and width of the imaging is at times extraordinary.

    Surround presence consists of mainly a constant support for the score, truly opening up the front soundstage and removing the speakers. It is quite normal for a Dolby Digital mix to be very speaker based, and now and then a mix comes along whereby the sound just appears from certain places in the room, not just directly from the speakers. This is one such transfer, and much is credited to the skilful use of the surrounds. Discrete surround effects occur frequently, and the end result of all this is an extremely immersive soundfield which draws you into the action.

    The subwoofer was used frequently to aid with all the explosions and gun shots, and also filled out the score somewhat.



    Ahem. (Cough). Ummmm .....

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 disc misses out on:     Well, we miss out on a little bit, but not enough to get upset over. Stick with the local version for the superior PAL video, after all - the movie is what it's all about.


    An excellent action film with all of the right elements in place - a strong plot, plenty of hardware and of course the girl. Die Hard on a boat it is indeed, and all the better for it.

    The video is excellent, being slightly failed only by the poor shadow detail.

    The audio is also excellent, and is of reference quality being truly immersive and high fidelity.

    I wonder why we didn't get the handful of extras which appear on the R1 disc? Seems odd.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Paul Cordingley (bio)
Wednesday, February 23, 2000
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic A-350A, using S-Video output
DisplayPioneer SD-T43W1 16:9 RPTV. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player.
AmplificationSony STR DE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ
SpeakersCentre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive

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