R.P.M. (1997)

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Released 15-Oct-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 86:23 (Case: 91)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ian Sharp

Magna Home Entertainment
Starring David Arquette
Emmanuelle Seigner
Famke Janssen
Case Click
RPI $29.95 Music Alan Lisk

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 Yes, almost constant
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    R.P.M. features some of the finest cars you will ever see, a few babes and was shot on location in the picturesque south of France. Unfortunately, all of this doesn't make up for the very thin plot and average acting performance from the cast.

    The movie focuses on Luke Delson (David Arquette), a professional car thief who is being chased by various law enforcement agencies. Luke works for Delson Satellite Systems, a company run by his father who has been made wealthy from selling Luke's electronic inventions over the years. Things get a little too close for comfort when the police show up at work to make an arrest, so his father decides to send him to the factory in Hamburg while things cool down. Luke decides mid-flight to take a stopover in France.

    From the moment the plane lands, Luke can't resist stealing one car after another and is involved in a few speedy getaways when the owners notice that their prized vehicle is missing. The annual Concours d' Elegance car show is coincidentally on at the same time and is irresistible to Luke because of his passion for stealing fine automobiles. However, the true reason he is in France is because he has been contracted by Constantine Chlarkos (Stephen Yardley) to steal the futuristic R.P.M. prototype vehicle. This car contains a new concept engine that will drastically reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, and possibly eliminate the need for them at all. This presents a problem to Chlarkos who owns a large number of oil tankers and could potentially face financial ruin if the engine design makes it to commercial production. Luke devises a plan to steal the car from the fortress where it is stored and to collect his pay cheque.

    In the meantime, the Automobile Show has attracted a host of other car thieves from around the world who are in town to steal such beauties as an AC Cobra, a '58 Corvette, a Lotus, a 1938 Delahaye and anything else that is around.

    Claudia (Famke Janssen) is one such thief and her appearance in the movie revived my interest in the show. She is probably better known as the wild Xenia Onatopp in 007's GoldenEye and she still knows how to use her body to aid in the theft of all the vehicles she wants to acquire.

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Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is average, with a few specific problems to mention.

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

    There was a mildly grainy appearance to many of the indoor shots, but outdoor scenes were clear. Shadow detail was quite good. There are several extended scenes shot indoors and at night where this could have potentially been a problem, but they come across in the transfer quite well. There was some mild low level noise.

    The colours were quite sharp and appeared natural to look at. The highly polished vehicles were bright and contained rich colours. Likewise, the scenic shots in the mountain areas contained quite vibrant and spectacular colours.

    There were some mild MPEG artefacts seen on some walls, with the most noticeable being at 40:15. Aliasing was rare but when it occurred, it was very obvious. A typical example can be seen at 41:07, but the worst was on a blue striped suit between 44:57 and 45:20. Film artefacts are rare and not distracting at all. Some examples can be seen at 21:08, 42:54 and 47:51.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

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


    The disc offers two audio choices; English Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 I listened to the 5.1 soundtrack in its entirety and selected scenes in 2.0.

    The audio transfer was as exciting as the movie and was blighted with a poor surround field which at times was quite out-of-kilter with the on-screen action.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    Audio sync problems occurred at 6:26 and 6:39, only affecting one particular actor's speaking. Problems didn't reoccur again until 31:48 and 32:08 where again only one actor's speaking is affected. It actually appears to be a change to the wording of the script that occurred after the scenes were shot rather than a sync problem caused by the transfer.

    The musical score by Alan Lisk was suited to the fast car action style of the movie.

    The surround channels were often given too much volume and were quite often distracting for music and action sequences. One such example of overuse can be heard at 24:20. The only time where the surrounds and subwoofer sounded in harmony with each other was at around 51:40 but this was short-lived.

    Directional effects and precise sound placement within the soundfield were the exception rather than the rule, and at 80:45, the on-screen action contradicts the soundfield because too much focus was placed on the rears, rather than keeping it subtle for ambience.

    The subwoofer was active during the action sequences, and generally placed the required bottom end on these sequences. There was one instance at 79:08 where it wasn't used at all and this definitely left this particular action scene sounding rather flat.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are very few extras on this disc.

Main Menu Introduction


    The menu design is based around the inside dashboard of a car complete with steering wheel and gear lever. The gear lever is used to change between the various moving scenes of the movie for scene selections. Each chapter is shown as actual footage rather than the first still frame which is a personal favourite method of presentation of mine and makes chapter searching easier. The menu also features looped sound from the movie and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio. One thing that I noticed was that each time that you moved among the different menu options, the video shuddered for a moment before accessing your selection. It did not stop the menu from working, but was a distraction.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is of the same quality as the movie presented in the same aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound.

Cast and Crew Biographies

    This section features a brief working history and movie list for the three main cast members; David Arquette, Famke Janssen and Emmanuelle Seigner. Although she is only in about 10 seconds of the movie, Jerry Hall also has her details listed here along with the director Ian Sharp.

Trivia Game

    The game involves 9 multi choice questions relating to particular scenes or revolving around general knowledge of the characters. Once you select your choice, a short video containing the answer is shown so you can see if you were correct.

    Questions 7 through 9 show scenes of the movie that either bear no relation to the question or show the wrong actress for the correct answer.

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;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     With the Region 4 DVD being presented in widescreen 16x9 enhanced and with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, it makes the Region 4 release a better option than the Region 1.


    Overall, I was disappointed with R.P.M. and was actually expecting something more along the lines of Gone In 60 Seconds. Famke was passionate about her character and maintained my interest, but she was wasted in this movie and let down by the other characters.

    The video quality is acceptable.

    The audio quality was disappointing.

    The extras are poor.

    R.P.M. is definitely a movie destined for rental rather than for adding to your collection, and even then, I suggest renting it only if there is nothing else left to hire.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Friday, October 12, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer XV-DV55, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe 72cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer XV-DV55
SpeakersPioneer S-DV55ST-K Satellite wall mouted 5-Speaker System; Pioneer S-DV55SW-K Powered Subwoofer

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