|Category||Action||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.78:1, 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 3 - Dolby Greek, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown|
|Year Released||1993||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||116:04 minutes||Other Extras||Featurette
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||2.0|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Dolby Digital||2.0|
|16x9 Enhancement||Yes||Soundtrack Languages||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 ,
English (MPEG 2.0 silent, 64 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The immediate reaction to this film is how short the stints of each character seem to be - do not blink or you will miss Samuel L Jackson's role in this one. Gather together a great bunch of actors then give them characters that expire in five minutes or less seemed to be the philosophy here! As usual for a Quentin Tarantino penned effort, never let a good story get in the way of a totally over the top gun battle, so Tarantino fans should be happy with this one, but it leaves me a little cold. Christian Slater is mildly engaging as the good guy, although credulity is stretched a little with the character going from loser to gun-toting, fast talking drug dealer in about five minutes flat. Patricia Arquette is suitably cast as the slightly offbeat ex-call girl love interest (and she does not let the family name down at all). But the real highlights here are the shorter roles: Gary Oldman is brilliant as the white pimp who thinks he is black, whilst Dennis Hopper has real command of the father tormenting the Sicilian hitman Coccotti. Brad Pitt does a nice little turn as the drug addicted Floyd whilst Christopher Walken is typically well cast as the obligatory bad guy. Tony Scott of Top Gun fame stirs the mix here and a not especially brilliant job is done in my view. Still there will plenty that disagree with me on that point. Overall, I found this to lack a little credulity and it took a while for it to hit its stride, but the obligatory gun battle is suitably comical in a black kind of way.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is not especially sharp and seemed to lack a little in definition, particularly lacking any real depth to the picture. To be fair however, it seemed that this may be a reflection of how the film was shot, although the transfer rate was fairly steadily in the lower-middle range. Whilst I would not describe the transfer as grainy, it is not as clear as I would have expected of a relatively recent film. Detail was quite good though and there are no real complaints as far as that goes: it simply does not however rival the better transfers around in this regard. There did not appear to be any significant problems with low level noise, although the style of transfer would certainly mask such a problem fairly well.
You certainly will not find a feast of bright, vibrant colours here. The opening part of the film is shot in Detroit and the transfer style is very gray/brown, almost monochrome at times with a lot of muted colours in the external shots. Internal shots have a little more vibrancy to them but nothing really flashy at all. As the action moves to California, the colours become a little brighter but still not overly vibrant. Overall, this really is a quite restrained looking transfer as far as colours go.
There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer, whilst film-to-video artefacts comprised some minor aliasing. Film artefacts were quite prevalent during the film but nothing too noticeable nor too intrusive.
There are two audio tracks on the DVD, the default English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track and a silent English MPEG track. Obviously, I listened to the default track.
The dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.
Somewhat unusually apparently for a Pioneer DVD player/Roadshow DVD combination, there did not seem to be any significant audio sync problems. There was the odd example of some poorish ADR work on show though.
The music score comes from Hans Zimmer, and somewhat quirky effort it is too. There is a gorgeous percussion theme that runs throughout the film which is quite effective, but there are also some well known classical pieces used too. Overall, the score is a little dissonant to the on-screen action at times, but this seems to suit the film well.
Whilst this is a surround encoded soundtrack, there was not too much use made of the rear surround channels at all. The soundscape is clearly forward balanced and it is quite an effective and engrossing one, although the action sequences cry out for a little more emphasis than the 2.0 soundtrack can give. There is no use of the bass channel at all.
The overall video quality is better than average, but nothing more.
The overall audio quality is respectable.
A decently reasonable package of extras.
© Ian Morris
27th November 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|