|Category||Action||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Year Released||1997||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||120:05 minutes||Other Extras||None|
|Region||2,4||Director||Jan De Bont|
Fox Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or
For those who may be even slightly interested in what may be referred to as the plot, this is little more than a rehash of Speed, with the bus replaced by a dirty great ocean liner and with the necessary alterations caused by the ocean setting rather than the freeways of Los Angeles. Annie Porter (Sandra Bullock) returns but now she has a new policeman boyfriend in Alex Shaw (Jason Patric). Taking a vacation away from Los Angeles on board the Seabourn Legend cruising the Caribbean, they have chosen the wrong ship and the wrong week. Coming on board the ship is one slightly disgruntled former employee by the name of John Geiger (Willem Dafoe) who was responsible for the design of the ship's navigation and control system, but was sacked when he developed copper poisoning as a result of his work. He now wants his revenge, and this cruise gives him the opportunity as on board is also a rather valuable collection of diamonds. So taking control of the ship, Geiger puts everyone on a whole heap of improbable collision courses, whilst trying to make off with the diamonds. And that is about as much of a plot as there is here.
If you thought the plot in the original Speed was fairly loose, then be prepared to be dumbfounded by how bad this one is. There is so little - nay, nothing - of this plot that has any credibility at all that it is staggering that the screenplay actually got approved by anyone at the studio. These are just not plot holes, but canyons the likes of which are only found on Mars. There is absolutely nothing in the plot with even the remotest inkling of credibility. As a result, things start off bad and get progressively worse, to climax in one of the most utterly ludicrous sequences ever committed to film in what is supposed to be an action film: this sort of stuff is more at home in comedy, and more especially in spoofs. I am of course talking about the crashing of the ship into the waterfront district of the town. Sandra Bullock should have stuck to her guns and insisted upon Keanu Reeves signing on for the film, as then it would perhaps not have been made. And I cannot believe that I just wished to see Keanu Reeves in a film! As it is, Sandra does her best to save this nautical disaster by indulging in some rather nice ensembles, but like Jennifer Lopez in Anaconda (coincidentally from the same year), it did not work. Jason Patric hardly survives the comparisons with Keanu, indicating how poor his effort was, whilst Willem Dafoe was so far over-the-top that he was excruciating. It did not help either that there seemed to be zero chemistry between the two leads. Then you add in the unique "style" of Jan De Bont, and this so rapidly descends into the mire that you really do wish that the whole ship had sunk early in the film. Suffice to say this garnered a whole bunch of nominations for the Razzies in 1998 and deservedly so. The staggering result though was that it only actually won one, for worst remake or sequel. Just goes to show that 1997 was not a vintage year for films if not even this turkey can collect more than one Razzie!
If you really must get hold of a Jan De Bont film, then stick with the infinitely superior Speed rather than this putrid waste of celluloid (or rather aluminium foil as it is a DVD).
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.
Whilst not in the league of the original, this is nonetheless a quite sharp and reasonably well defined transfer. Perhaps some of the shadow detail could have been a little better, but in general there were no problems in that regard. This is a reasonably clear transfer, but not as good as I would have expected for a film of such recent vintage. There does not appear to be any low level noise problems with the transfer, although at times the picture does seem just a little grainy.
Overall the colours are reasonably vibrant and quite nicely rendered, although not quite as good as the original. There did not appear to be any oversaturation of colour at all. There were a couple of instances of quite unnatural colours, most notably a very unbelievable aqua blue colour for the sea leading up to the climatic ramming of the pier. That aside, this is a reasonably natural looking transfer.
There appeared to be a consistent MPEG problem in the transfer, as nearly every pan shot showed a lack of focus and resolution, especially early in the film. Film-to-video artefacts comprised some reasonably minor aliasing notably later in the film, and some rather off-putting shimmer in the closing credits. Once again, film artefacts were barely noted during the film, with hardly a speckle blemishing what is a quite clean transfer.
This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change coming at 50:01. This is a decent layer change, just noticeable but not really disruptive to the film at all.
Note that the packaging refers to a Hebrew subtitle option, but this is not present on the disc.
Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.
There were no audio sync problems with this disc.
The score by Mark Mancina is not a patch on his effort for Speed even though it takes a lot of the themes from that film and reuses them. On the whole, this is one of the better aspects of the film, but that really is not saying too much.
This is however one very nicely aggressive soundtrack, highlighted by some great detail out of the rear channels and some thunderous use of the bass channel. In many respects the soundtrack is over the top and suits the film very well indeed. The ambience detail out of the rear channels is especially noteworthy, with some nice overlaying of the front and rear channels. The soundscape is not totally natural but you are very nicely inserted into it, and when you crank it up just a tad, this rocks awesomely.
The video transfer is pretty good.
The audio transfer is very good.
The extras are not worth worrying about.
© Ian Morris
20th January 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|