|Category||Thriller||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1|
|Running Time||111 minutes||Commentary Tracks||Yes, 1 (Producer - Thom Mount)|
|RSDL/Flipper||No/No||Other Extras||Cast/Crew Biographies
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Dolby Digital||2.0|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English 2.0
Producer's Comm 2.0
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1|
English for the Hearing Impaired
The movie stars Mel Gibson as Dale McKussic, a former drug dealer who is trying to lead a legitimate life. His former associates, however, find it hard to accept his retirement. The movie also stars Kurt Russell as Nick Frescia, a Los Angeles police officer who works in the narcotics office. Dale and Nick went to school together, and remain friends, despite Dale's former life.
The movie opens with Dale accompanying his lawyer on a cocaine sale. Dale is quick to smell a set-up, and disposes of the cocaine. His suspicions are proved true when Nick turns out to be one of the buyers. After this, Nick goes to Dale's favourite restaurant, where Dale informs him that he is no longer in the drug trade, and he was only trying to help out his lawyer. During this encounter, we meet Jo Ann Vallenari (Michelle Pfeiffer) who owns the restaurant. Nick is instantly attracted to Jo Ann, and it becomes clear that Dale is attracted to her as well. Love triangles are a Hollywood cliché, and are generally very predictable. This one isn't and it is a pleasure to watch this one unfold.
We next learn that 'Carlos' is coming to town. Carlos is a very big drug dealer from Mexico, and a former associate of Dale's. We also learn that an informant is feeding the FBI information, and we learn who the informant is via a clever bit of editing. Dale remains unaware of the informant.
Jo Ann next gets to meet Escalonte (Raul Julia), a Mexican police officer who is involved in the operation to arrest Carlos.
Dale's house is placed under surveillance, and the plot unfolds from here. To describe the plot in detail from here would be to ruin the suspense, so all I will say is that this is an excellent plot with a number of very interesting and unpredictable twists and turns and with a very satisfying ending.
This movie never falls into the trap of spoon-feeding the story to the viewer. Rather, it relies on excellent writing, great acting, strong character development, and respect for the audience's ability to figure out the story for themselves. These are features that are all too rare these days at the movies.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The movie was pretty much razor sharp at all times. Shadow detail was somewhat lacking, particularly early on in the movie during low-lit sequences, but no noise was present to interfere with the picture quality.
The colour was reasonably well preserved throughout the transfer. Early on, some the darker scenes were undersaturated, but this was not a major problem.
No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some telecine wobble early on, and a short period of vertical aliasing of a door frame in Dale's house from 75:23 to 75:41. This was not a major artefact, but it was a little distracting. Film artefacts were reasonably rare, but still more frequent than you would expect to see in a current transfer. The artefacts were certainly not distracting in any way.
Dialogue was always completely clear and intelligible, which was a pleasant surprise given the film's vintage.
The music is excellent. Dave Grusin is responsible for the soundtrack, which has a sophisticated yet laid-back feel to it, and it superbly complements the on-screen action.
The surround channel was used fairly sparingly during the movie. The music was mixed into the surround channel, and occasional effects (such as helicopters) were mixed to the rear. A little ambience was placed in the surround channel as well now and again. Compared with current soundtracks, this one tended to be more up-front than enveloping.
The .1 channel was not specifically used, but low frequencies were sent from my surround processor to my subwoofer. This mainly occurred with music.
The theatrical trailer is present on this DVD. It is presented at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, and with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack (stereo only).
The other extras on this DVD are still frames for the cast and crew biographies which are quite extensive, and still framed production notes.
The video quality is quite satisfactory given the film's age and only the most finicky would find fault with it.
The audio quality is reasonable, and there are no specific problems.
Finally, the extras are the best of any Region 4 DVD so far with the inclusion of the Producer's running commentary which adds significantly to the understanding and enjoyment of this movie. This earns this DVD the highest rating I have given any DVD so far in the extras area.
2nd November 1998
|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|