Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal (2001)

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Released 2-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Audio Commentary-Ogden Gavanski (Prod), Wade Furley (Writ) & John Mann (Act)
Theatrical Trailer-2:21, 1.33:1
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 92:15
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jorge Montesi

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Joe Mantegna
Craig Sheffer
Rutger Hauer
Gabrielle Anwar
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music John McCarthy

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Turbulence 3 is not exactly a classic movie by any stretch of the imagination, but given the events in New York and Washington in recent days, it's not hard to see the similarities between the basic premise of this movie and real life happenings. Take an aircraft, specifically a jumbo jet, put on board a committed group of terrorists for whom death has no meaning, except possibly as a gateway to a better existence, give them a goal and let them loose. Sound vaguely familiar? Well like they say, there is no greater fiction than truth, but in this case art matches reality in a very unsettling manner.

    Slade Craven (John Mann) is performing his last concert on board a 747 specially designed to fit in a concert stage, and being telecast across the internet by ZwebTV, live. Onboard, besides the crew and his band are a devoted group of followers of the death metal star. Craven is seen by many as the anti-Christ and his antics are designed to offend which makes him a huge grossing attraction. Unbeknownst to Slade and his groupies, there is another group called 'Guardians of the Gateway' who are hell-bent on taking control of the plane. Their aim is to 'sacrifice' 10 million lives (in this case 10 million internet subscribers watching on ZwebTV), so that they can achieve their goal of releasing the true anti-Christ.

    While onboard the 'Guardians of the Gateway' have taken over, back on the ground the FBI have become involved. Agent Kate Hayden (Gabriel Anwar) has been tracking a hacker for years and has finally run him to ground (Craig Sheffer). Disobeying her boss, she infiltrates his den, slaps the cuffs on him and is about to take him in when he points out that there is a problem on the plane. Sheffer's character, Nick Watts, a huge fan of Slade has hacked into ZwebTV and accessed the mainframe (amazing how easily they seem to be able to do this) and now has direct access to the ongoing drama. Hayden calls her boss, Frank Garner (Joe Mantagna), who rushes to ZwebTV to take over the hostage negotiations, unaware of the terrorists' ultimate aim.

    Turbulence 3 was entertaining in a tacky sort of way. The music was quite good, although you'd be stretching to call this death metal. Basically any movie that has reached the third instalment usually had a money spinning original but has rapidly run out of ideas and is now being produced on a shoestring (much as this movie obviously was). Director Jorge Montesi doesn't have a lot to work with, either in regards to plot or characters but tries to make it at least decent. The special effects are very average and unless you are a fan of Dr Who, I doubt shaking the picture to simulate turbulence is going to greatly impress you. Although not the best movie you'll ever see, this is certainly prophetic in the most unexpected way. The trouble is, unlike reality, the fictional always sees the good guys come out on top and the hero save the day. Reality is rarely so straight-forward or obliging.

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Transfer Quality


    This movie looks as though colour timing was a problem for it. There seems to be at least two distinctive types of scenes: bright and blooming. There is a possibility this was caused by the transfer, but my feeling is that it was a problem more with the actual shooting of the film.

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

    Whilst not exactly the sharpest picture I've seen in recent times, it does do the job. Shadow detail varies a bit because of an over-bright picture at times diminishing anything in the background, and there are a lot of dark shots in the interior of the plane which don't show up a lot of background detail. Fine detail is actually quite good overall, but there is some noticeable evidence of edge enhancement that I didn't find it too annoying for a change. There are some smoky scenes which bring up a lot of grain, plus some obvious CGI work during the storm that also look very grainy, but the general picture quality isn't diminished by excessive grain for the most part. I didn't observe any low level noise with blacks solid even in the darkest scenes.

    There are various levels of colour in this movie. The different stock or lighting used along with variable colour timing made this difficult to rate accurately. Scenes in the cockpit with Rutger Hauer looked overly bright and bleached out with blooming colours. The scenes shot in the belly of the plane (so to speak) are bright, saturated and vibrant with excellent skin tones. Additional scenes have varying brightness levels affecting the colour overall - most of them are fine, but the odd occasional scene looked either bland or over-exposed.

    There are a plethora of marks and nicks on this disc of the usual black and white fleck variety for the most part. The worst couple of instances (and they really stand out) are at 0:12 and 3:27. After this, they are constantly visible but of less impact. There is a slight moiré effect at 0:15, but after that this aspect of the DVD is fairly good. Wobble is probably the most annoying film-to-video artefact on this disc. Considering the number of times the editors deliberately make the picture jump around, there are still plenty of unintentional ones. 3:27, 34:28 and 51:18 are not part of the 'turbulence' implied in the movie.

    There were no subtitles on offer on this disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    A surprisingly decent English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack at 448 kilobits per second accompanies this disc. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 track at an unusual 256 kilobits per second, but I only briefly checked it. Considering the fact that this wasn't a big budget movie, the accompanying audio was actually a huge fillip for the movie. Solid bass and rears gave this an excellent feel with plenty of sound from the front soundfield.

    For the most part, the dialogue was easily understandable, but there were some audio sync errors. John Mann's singing is obviously lip-synced and is noticeably out.

    A nice collection of 'death metal' tunes as well as a reasonable soundtrack made this enjoyable from the musical standpoint. I wouldn't know the bands from a bar of soap (Thick Liquid and DeadbyDay) but the music was raucous and reasonably loud, enough to give the old walls a bit of a workout. Good value but I wouldn't be buying the CD.

    The surrounds were well used in supporting the music and adding atmosphere. They didn't get huge volumes but they were used extensively and gave solidity to the overall feel of the music.

    The best usage in the movie was from the subwoofer. The .1 channel cops all of the sounds of the 747 taking off, the thunderclaps, and the bass of the music as it thumps out on the plane. It works well and is constantly springing into life. Turn up the volume and enjoy - this had my floor really rumbling at times.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Menu Animation & Audio

    Possibly the best animation I've seen outside of a computer game. This was superbly done and has about a 40 second cycle. The music overlay is very grunty which adds a bit of kick. The usual mini-excerpts from the movie are presented in-built into cockpit controls for the main menu. The scene selection emulates the TV wall at ZwebTV. Quality plus in this department.

Dolby Digital Trailer

    Ho hum..

Audio Commentary

    An Audio Commentary by John Mann (Slade Craven), the writer, Wade Early and the producer Martin. Obviously a fun commentary for the three of them with lots of interplay. Each offers some insight into making of the movie. With the three speakers, it bops along nicely. They mainly talk about general stuff within the movie, but occasionally pop in some snippets of very interesting information. Not bad overall.

Theatrical Trailer

    With a running time of 2:21 this is presented in 1.33:1 Full Frame and is quite decent. Pretty nearly the same quality as the movie in video and audio. Lots of bass in this which works well with the footage shown.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 version of this DVD misses out on;

    The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on;

    No contest here - the R4 is the superior version, *but* this is 'rental-only' for the moment, so we'll have to wait and see if the sell-through version is the same disc.


    Turbulence 3 is a mediocre movie in many respects but with just enough of a touch of reality to give you the willies. I think that movies about terrorists might find themselves on the decline for quite a while, so this is certainly being released at an inappropriate moment. I wouldn't expect to see a 'For Sale' version for quite a while, but I've been proven wrong before so who knows? The video is variable - good at times, mediocre at others. The audio shines much more than the video and is a decent effort. The extras are minimal with only the Commentary and a trailer, but this is a rental-only release, so that is more than you'd normally expect.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Carl Berry (read my bio)
Sunday, September 16, 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

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