|Category||Action||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 4:3, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital City|
|Year Released||1996||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||90:03 minutes||Other Extras||Filmographies-Cast
Featurette - Making Of (5:28)
|Starring||Mario Van Peebles
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, mildly|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
To a certain extent, my worst fears were realized, but the movie had some redeeming features as well.
As the movie opened, the clichés came thick and fast - the bad-guy military types (Colonel Madden - William Sadler, General Claude Haynes - Barry Corbin), the operation botched because the apparently emotionless fighting machine develops a case of civilianitis, the fighting machine (Solo - Mario Van Peebles) being consigned to the scrap heap, the fighting machine helping humans with their plight and developing a conscience, yada yada yada.
Where this movie redeems itself is in the fact that Mario Van Peebles actually gets you to care about his fate - he manages to imbue the character with a degree of vulnerability and humanity. Don't get me wrong - this is no masterpiece of filmmaking, but it lifts itself above most of the other poor attempts at this genre, and is at least worthy of consideration. That is, if you can get past the first 15 minutes of really bad dialogue and bad stereotyping.
The transfer was generally up to the usual Columbia Tristar standard, with a sharp and clear picture throughout the majority of the movie. Some film grain was apparent in some of the long helicopter shots. Shadow detail was generally good other than the opening of the movie which lacked in this area. No low level noise was noted.
The colours were clearly rendered. There are no vibrant colours in this transfer except for Solo's computerized displays, but the greens and browns of the jungle are well rendered, as are the reds and oranges of the various explosions.
No MPEG artefacts were seen. No film-to-video artefacts were seen. No film artefacts of any significance were seen.
Dialogue was clear and easy to follow at all times.
Audio sync was problematic with this disc, with sync being marginally out for large portions of this movie. It was not badly out, but enough to be noticeable, and quite irritating. It would often be out for portions of a scene and would then return to normal. This was apparent on both my standalone DVD player and on my DVD-ROM, so it is an inherent problem with this disc. This may be inherent in the movie's audio, but not having seen this film theatrically, I cannot comment on this.
The score by Christopher Franke was a typical undistinguished action movie score.
The surround channels were very aggressively used throughout the movie, particularly for action sequences, creating a very enveloping and exciting surround experience. If it were not for the dialogue sync problem, this disc would earn very high marks in the audio department.
The .1 channel was used aggressively and frequently to underscore the action sequences.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is a good aggressive surround mix but suffers frequently from very bad dialogue sync.
The extras are unremarkable.
© Michael Demtschyna
12th October 1999
Amended 15th April 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output|
|Display||Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer|
|Speakers||Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer|