|Category||Science Fiction/Thriller||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.78:1, non 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Year Released||1994||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||94:00 minutes||Other Extras||Biographies - Cast and Crew
|Starring||Jean-Claude Van Damme
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
|16 x 9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or
The broad plot here is very similar to most Jean-Claude Van Damme films - wronged individual seeks revenge against the person(s) responsible for the wrong, usually with as much martial arts action as possible. Sound familiar? Well it is pretty similar to Maximum Risk and Nowhere to Run, to name a couple of films, apart from the setting. In this iteration of the JCVD story, Max Walker (Jean-Claude Van Damme) loses his wife Melissa (Mia Sara) to the actions of an ambitious Presidential wannabe from the future in Senator Aaron McComb (Ron Silver), shortly before starting his new job as a Timecop for the Time Enforcement Commission, the organization created to prevent misuse of the historical timeline. Of course his new job ten years hence gives him the opportunity to return to the past to right the wrongs wrought by the ambitious Senator, who is using the past to finance his presidential campaign. This is done with the usual action assault from JCVD, and as usual everything ends up pretty much okay.
Given that the film starts in 1863 with a little hijack of some gold during the American Civil War, this is a bit of a twist for the JCVD story. But at the end of the day, we get what we always get - JCVD suffering before coming back with a vengeance to beat the living daylights out of an assorted bunch of henchmen. Very familiar, and sort of comforting in a way, but it would be nice if Jean-Claude could at least maybe try to broaden the scope of his films just a little - but then again, that may require some actual acting and that is something about which he knows absolutely nothing. It doesn't help when the rest of the cast are decidedly B-grade either, but for a B-grade action flick this is mildly entertaining. Some of the effects are decidedly not state of the art though - the dissolving of the two versions of McComb in occupying the same space at the same time is especially B-grade stuff, as is the time capsule's launch sequence (the engines by the way look as if somebody has stuck a cigarette lighter in them). Peter Hyams has done a few films over the years that have found their way into my player, and most are decidedly underwhelming - this is no exception. But then again the whole premise of the film is hokum - I mean time travel perfected in 1994? Give me a break.
Still, it is one of Jean-Claude Van Damme's better films and for that I suppose I should be grateful.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.
This is not a particularly sharp nor clear transfer, but that is probably a reflection of the way the film was made. Definition is nonetheless quite decent, and the overall effect is quite natural. Shadow detail was again decent, but nothing spectacular. There appeared to be some hint of low level noise in the transfer, but nothing especially distracting.
The colours were nicely rendered throughout, although it is not a vibrant transfer. There was no indication of oversaturation of the colours at all. The overall effect is of a fairly standard, good DVD transfer without anything to really make you sit up and take notice.
There were no MPEG artefacts noted in the transfer. There were no significant film-to-video artefacts noted in the transfer, although minor aliasing was common throughout the film, without being too distracting. Film artefacts were noted throughout but these again were not too distracting.
This disc is an RSDL disc, with the layer change coming at 60:56. This is barely noticeable and is not at all disruptive to the film.
There are five audio tracks on the DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 and Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.
Unfortunately, dialogue was clear and easy to understand.
There were no audio sync problems with this disc.
The score by Mark Isham left absolutely no impression upon me whatsoever, so either it is tremendously effective or absolute rubbish, depending upon your point of view. Personally I would tend away from the tremendously effective end of the scale. He has definitely done a lot better in my view.
This is a nicely detailed soundtrack with some nice use of the surround channels, although it seemed to lack just a little punch during some of the effects. The result is a decently listenable soundtrack that provides a nice, if not especially spectacular, soundscape. Would suggest that you turn this one up just a tad if you like to get the neighbours annoyed.
The bass channel seemed to be quite underwhelmingly used, and really only got going in some of the explosive scenes.
A good video transfer.
A good audio transfer.
A poorish extras package.
© Ian Morris
9th December 1999
|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|