Firetrap (Rental) (2001)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Tunnel
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 94:59 (Case: 97)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Harris Done
Studio
Distributor

Rising Star Entertainment
Starring Dean Cain
Richard Tyson
Mel Harris
Lori Petty
Steve Williams
Vanessa Angel
Case Soft Brackley-Opaque
RPI Rental Music Sean Murray


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, Where there's smoke there's fire!
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    A master thief, Max Hooper (Dean Cain), and his partner in crime Vinnie (David Godboldo), are experts at high tech heists and after a successful retrieval of a valuable prototype meet with their source who offers them $4.5 million on behalf of an unspecified client to retrieve an experimental VR chip from IQ Industries by Friday (three days hence). Sensing the challenge, and the chance of a large payout, Hooper accepts and he and Vinnie begin planning for the job. All the while, the FBI are determined to keep tabs on Max who is their prime suspect in the first heist.

    Friday arrives and at the offices of IQ there is a meeting going on. The owner of the company, Jack Galloway (Jim Storm), is in conference with his senior staff (including a sadly under-utilised Lori Petty) to tell them the company is being pursued by the FBI, the Treasury Department, the CIA and now he's been warned that foreign agents are planning to steal his new invention. Worst of all, he's been informed that there is a traitor in his own staff and he's about to take measures to prevent his company from losing the fight to stay alive. To make matters worse for Jack, his wife Cordella (Mel Harris) has arrived with her lawyer to serve Jack his divorce papers.

    Max arrives at the front doors and after taking care of the security guard with a very efficient little gadget, he sets about his ascent to the 21st floor, using the air ducts to remain undetected. Unfortunately, while drilling his pitons into the ultra thin walls of the ducting, he pierces a cylinder of highly flammable gas which begins to fill the duct. At the same time, a fire has been set on the sixth floor and all the sprinkler systems deactivated and Max and all those that remain in the building are about to become tonight's barbeque surprise.

    This is a real popcorn movie. In the old days, it'd be considered definite B-grade mulch, and its real saving grace is that many of the actors in it have injected a fair amount of energy into a rather inane plot. Okay, call me an old softy but would you go back into a building that has had its roof blown off and both the ground floor and the sixth floor completely on fire, most of which seems to have been caused by one punctured cylinder of gas? Hmm...

    This isn't going to win any Oscars or garner any awards for special effects, but director Harris Done at least gets a passable effort from all concerned that won't strain you watching it. The CGI work is pretty obvious - watch out for the stunt people strutting their stuff (check out the lift scene as they use a flame jet to simulate the characters being burned alive - you can see their protective gear!). This would definitely be a second choice movie at a rental outlet for me, but it's worth a look if you want something light but with definite quality about it.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    There is surprisingly good quality on offer with the video aspects of the movie's transfer to DVD. The rear cover proclaims that the transfer has been "digitally remastered" which often means nothing, but in this case the print is so immaculate in parts that they either had a master copy to work from or they really did do some rework. Oh, one thing - the CGI effects in the movie are very obvious as are some of the stunts that are performed.

    This is an obvious direct-to-video or made-for-TV movie as this is presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame and isn't 16x9 enhanced.

    With a lot of smoky scenes, the sharpness isn't great at times and there is a slight blurriness in this transfer which detracts slightly, but nothing you could consider awful. Most viewers won't notice anything untowards and given the amount of smoke in so many scenes, it's still very watchable. There is some very minor edge enhancement on offer but you probably won't even notice it. The shadow detail is quite reasonable and in some scenes excellent with lots of good background detail available, where they keep it in focus of course. Grain was suitably light and there was no low level noise on offer. Blacks were solid throughout the movie.

    The colour is excellent in this transfer, except for the CGI. On that count, you can see that a slightly different palette was used, making it easy to differentiate CGI-based scenes from non-CGI-based scenes unfortunately. Many of the colours in use are rich to the point of saturation but don't become overly so. Some skin tones, especially where there is a lot of flame in shot take on a slightly reddish hue, but otherwise they look good.

    The quality of the print can be evidenced by the lack of almost all the usual problems with the transfer. MPEG artefacts aren't an issue, and the usual film artefacts that abound with most movies aren't present here, giving this an attractive look. There were a couple of minor problems noted. Moiré effects can be seen on a couple of suits at 25:18 and 50:37 and also on air grilles at 30:14 and 31:25. There was the slightest of shimmering on a car roof rack at 15:58. There was a slight black line smudge on the camera lens at 24:47 (which runs across Dean Cain's cheek) and there was a noticeable blue spot on-screen at around 5:00 minutes in that both looked like production glitches rather than something to do with the transfer.

    There were no subtitles available on this disc.

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

Audio

    Although unlisted on the jacket, this has a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at a bitrate of 224 kilobits per second. English is the only language on offer on this disc. Overall, this wasn't as bad as I first thought it would be. There is plenty of spaciousness across the front speakers from both the dialogue and music with the sound effects adding an extra layer to the mix. There was some redirection to the rears and subwoofer noted.

    The dialogue was crisp and clean out of the centre speaker which is fortunate with no subtitles to fall back on. There was no noticeable audio sync problems.

    The music is by Sean Murray who doesn't command the most illustrious list of musical credits I've seen before, but he has put a fairly decent soundtrack down for this movie. I doubt you'll be whistling any tunes after watching the movie, but it's fairly adequate for the job without being outstanding.

    There was enough action from the surrounds that they were at least noticeable during the odd moment. Mostly music, at low volume, can be discerned, and although it doesn't add any real enveloping quality it does give the sound a more spacious feel.

    Every now and again the subwoofer would rumble with redirected sound either from the music or the special effects. Considering the LFE was meant to be totally dead, this is actually a pleasant surprise. Although it doesn't add that much overall, it was still nice to 'feel' the explosions from the .1 channel.

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

Extras

Menu Audio

    A static picture with overlaid music.

Biographies-Cast

    Biographies and filmographies are included in separate sections on the DVD. Information is available on Dean Cain, Richard Tyson, Lori Petty, Mel Harris, Steven Williams and Vanessa Angel. Fairly stock material.

Theatrical Trailer

    This has a running time of 1:50 and is presented in Full Frame 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. It is more oversaturated in colour than the movie but is very clean and free from artefacts with little grain.

Trailer

    A trailer for Tunnel with a running time of 2:00. Same deal as the trailer for FireTrap; clean, neat and not too gaudy.

R4 vs R1

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

    No R1 version of this disc appears to be available for purchase at this time, making any comparison irrelevant since you can't buy this disc either!

Summary

    FireTrap has a fairly lightweight storyline with some reasonable acting that never becomes too tedious or slow, but has so obvious a plotline that it won't challenge anyone with its complexity. A definite "get the popcorn and let's veg out" movie. I didn't mind it overall.

    The video is pretty good. Parts of it looked great but there was too much smoke and it was too blurry at times. No standout blemishes was a real bonus.

    The audio was surprisingly better than I thought it would be. Reasonably good quality although those with a 5.1 setup won't get too much joy from their systems.

    As a rental, the extras were amazing (all two of them), but poor fare otherwise.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Friday, August 31, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDLoewe Xemix 5006DD, 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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE