xchange (2000)

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Released 2-Aug-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 105
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Allan Moyle
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Stephen Baldwin
Kyle MacLachlan
Kim Coates
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Andrew Lockington


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    XChange is a very interesting film with some quite good ideas that unfortunately does not really deliver the goods. We are basically left with a B grade sci-fi that also has some gratuitous sex scenes. The basic premise within the film is that it is possible to exchange one body's consciousness with another. Need to travel somewhere in a hurry? You can simply exchange bodies with a person at the destination. Later in the film, this concept is expanded somewhat into other areas - ever wondered what it would be like as a member of the opposite sex? This expansion is not nearly as complete as it could be. In fact, the majority of the film follows along the same lines, introducing interesting concepts but never really exploring these to any great depth. It can also be said that the acting throughout also lacks depth. While there are some good one-liners, they come at a fair distance apart.

    The film is set in the not-too-distant future, in a slightly dystopian society where big business and its members, called corpies in the film, are heartless people only chasing the dollar to the detriment of all. We see the usual attempts made to portray this future with talking computers and the occasional concept car driving past and the obligatory ID card carried by everyone.

    Normally in our reviews, we put the actors names next to the characters names when they are first mentioned, but because of the fact that the characters move around in different bodies, I will attempt to explain who plays what first. There are two main characters in this film; Fisk, a highly-placed member of one of the corporations (the good guy) and Toffler, a hired assassin (the bad guy). Fisk is initially played by Kyle MacLachlan but once he has exchanged for the first time he is then played by Kim Coates who does not stay long. For a great portion of the film, he is played by Stephen Baldwin. Toffler is initially played by Kim Coates but spends the majority of the film in the body of Kyle MacLachlan. There are more exchanges but to say more would be to give away too much of the plot.

    Under the cover of a anti-corporate terrorist organisation, an assassin has been hired to kill some people. Meanwhile, a poor innocent corpie is in a hurry to get somewhere and exchanges bodies with someone at the destination. Herein lies the catch - you never know who is going to be in your body while you are away. Toffler ends up stealing Fisk's body, with the story basically revolving around Fisk trying to get his body back. A little tension is added when Fisk ends up in a body that has a limited lifespan, 48 hours to be precise. They attempt to liven up the story with a few twists and a few naked girls but do not really succeed.

    I may be being a little hard on what is basically a B grade sci-fi, but the concepts are good and it was a shame that they did not manage to create a more convincing world and expand on the characters and situations to a greater extent.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The defining characteristic of this transfer is the edge enhancement. There are some other problems as well, but none of the same degree of concern as the edge enhancement.

    We have been presented with a 16x9 enhanced transfer in an aspect ratio of 1.85, which I believe is the original ratio.

    The sharpness level is acceptable in the foreground, but compression problems sometimes blur the background. There is a wall in the background at 11:03 that should have sharp lines showing the concrete blocks that it is made of. In this transfer, they are very soft. The shadow detail is good with no major problems and little if any low level noise.

     The colours are fairly well saturated and exhibit no noise or bleeding. Skin tones are good.

    This disc suffers from slight overcompression. Scene changes are accompanied by a loss of resolution. Stepping through a scene change at any point will show the last frame pixelating quite badly and the first frame of the next scene showing the same artefacts. There are also several scene changes that have a strange effect where a ghost of the previous scene lives on for a number of frames before gradually disappearing. The worst of these is at 15:35. There is quite a bit of posterization, particularly on the faces of the characters when they are moving. One example is at 12:45 and another at 28:07 where Kyle MacLachlan is entering a building through a revolving door.

    I have saved the worst for last. The edge enhancement is extremely obvious. Anywhere there is a dark/light transition gets a halo surrounding it. One of the main characters wears a dark overcoat, and every time we see him he has a halo. It made me wonder if I was watching a religious film instead of a sci-fi. Some examples of this include at 28:02, which also has some macro blocking evident, as well as at 11:09.

    There was no obvious aliasing or telecine wobble. There were a small number of white and black spots on the film but nothing that was greatly distracting. Grain did not appear to be a problem.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

    This is a single layer disc and as such does not have a layer change, although I would gladly swap a higher bitrate and lower compression for a layer change any day.

 

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

Audio

    Overall, the audio was not bad but unfortunately was only a Dolby Digital 2.0 effort. This is a shame as the film would have lent itself to some good split surround effects and some LFE action. I listened to this film with pro-logic decoding turned on.   

    There is only the one audio track (in English) as mentioned above.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand and was in sync with the on-screen action.

    The music was interesting, but like the film did not really go far enough. The main theme did add to the atmosphere of the film and was quite interesting to start with but unfortunately went no further than this.

    The surrounds carried a copy of the music and expanded the soundstage somewhat, but I did not notice any of the sound effects making it to the surrounds. Basically, everything happened up front.

    The subwoofer added a reasonable amount bass to the track with redirected energy from the mains. Your couch is not going to shake with this one but at least there was some activity.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is an interesting animated scene based on a remote control. It actually looks a lot like a palm pilot, used in the film to control a rocket.

Theatrical Trailer

    The only extra is the film trailer. This is of similar quality to the main feature. A word of warning - do not view this before watching the film. Like many of these trailers for less-than-great films, it gives away far too much in the effort to get you into the theatre.

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 the disc misses out on;

The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The extra resolution of the 16x9 enhancement would potentially make the Region 4 the winner, although it is perhaps best to wait for the sell-through release before committing to this.

Summary

    xchange offers up a great concept that is unfortunately mostly wasted. There are some good one-liners generated by the xchange concept, in particular based around the fact that there won't be consequences to your body if you do something in another body.

    The video could have been better. Edge enhancement is a man-made artefact that is not necessary.

    The audio is acceptable.

    Only the trailer is offered as an extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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The DVD Bits - Dean B

Comments (Add)
the film xchange - Anonymous
You got the characters mixed up. The goodie was Toffler and the baddie was Fisk. - Anonymous