U.S. Marshals

Special Edition

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Details At A Glance

Category Action Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 126 minutes Other Extras Cast & Crew Biographies
Production Notes
Featurette - Anatomy Of A Plane Crash
RSDL/Flipper Flipper (extras)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 4 Director Stuart Baird

Warner Brothers
Starring Tommy Lee Jones
Wesley Snipes
Robert Downey, Jr.
Joe Pantoliano
Kate Nelligan
Tom Wood
Irene Jacob
Case Snapper
RRP $29.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 2.0 
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ?
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes, but derogatory

Plot Synopsis

    U.S. Marshals is one of the more controversial Region 4 DVD releases, for reasons which will become apparent later. It is the sequel to The Fugitive, which is a brilliant movie and a brilliant DVD. U.S. Marshals has a lot to live up to! As far as action movies go, this one is above average, with quite an interesting plot, decent stunts, and great sound, but it just doesn't measure up to the original.

    Tommy Lee Jones reprises his role as Deputy Marshal Sam Gerard. This time, the fugitive is ex secret agent Sheridan (Wesley Snipes). Sheridan uncovered some very nasty goings on whilst he was in New York, which resulted in the killing of two agents. He disappeared, but resurfaces when he is involved in a car accident in Chicago. He is extradited to New York via plane. Unfortunately, there is an assassin on the plane, who fails to complete his assigned task, but who does succeed in making the plane crash. Sheridan escapes, and Sam Gerard is assigned to bring him in. Sheridan, meanwhile, is trying to find out who set him up in New York so he can clear his name.

    This is where the movie fails. It is hard to feel any sort of sympathy for Sheridan, even though the movie tries mightily hard to make us sympathetic to his cause. Harrison Ford in The Fugitive had us feeling sympathy for him from the word go. Wesley Snipes just comes across as a coward and a ruthless killer, which he supposedly is not.

    Nonetheless, there is plenty of eye and ear candy to keep the story moving along, so it is still a worthwhile movie, just not as good as its predecessor.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is close to perfect.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer was razor sharp and crystal clear. Shadow detail was excellent. No low level noise was apparent. There is a slight video skip at 102:25 which is also present on the Region 1 version of this disc, so it is simply bad editing rather than a fault of the transfer. It looks like two different takes of the same scene had to be combined for some reason, and they just didn't quite fit together.

    The colours were beautifully rendered and clear at all times.

    No MPEG artefacts were seen. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some minor aliasing, particularly in a single shot of some venetian blinds. Film artefacts were generally quite rare, though they did have a bit of a tendency to occur in little groups. There were a few more film artefacts than there should have been, but this was not particularly troublesome.

    This disc is a flipper in the sense that the major extra is on the other side of the disc. The movie itself is on Side A of the disc in its entirety.


    There are three audio tracks on this DVD, English, French and Italian Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded. There is no Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack at all on this disc. The original theatrical release of this movie was in Dolby Digital 5.1, and the Region 1 DVD has an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. This is unacceptable. I listened to the default English Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded soundtrack. I did note that there is a sticker over the features box which explicitly states that the soundtrack is Dolby Surround only. This sticker peels away to reveal the original features box which stated that the disc had 5.1 sound, so at least in Australia and New Zealand there is no real excuse for expecting Dolby Digital 5.1 and being disappointed when it is not present on the disc.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand, though a few words here and there were difficult to understand.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The music by Jerry Goldsmith was in his usual style, and very similar in style to The Fugitive. It was frequently present, and complemented the on-screen action very appropriately, enhancing the drama, tension and excitement of the movie significantly.

     The surround channel was frequently and heavily used for music, ambience and special effects, creating a usually very enveloping soundtrack. At times, the sound was all up-front-and-centre, but this only rarely occurred. I specifically compared the Region 1 English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack to the matrix mix that we have been supplied with, and there is significantly more directionality in the 5.1 soundtrack as compared with the matrix mix. This applies to both the front soundstage and to the rear soundstage. Dialogue is also clearer and easier to understand in the 5.1 mix. A lot of the time, there is minimal difference between a 5.1 mix and a matrix mix (eg Das Boot), but in this case, the 5.1 soundtrack is sorely missed.

    The .1 channel had lots of signal supplied to it from the processor in ProLogic mode. Listening to the 5.1 mix, the .1 channel was used aggressively by this mix as well.


    There are only limited extras on this so-called "Special Edition" disc. A significant number of extras have been omitted from this release compared with the Region 1 version of this DVD. Omitted are; Animated Main Menu, English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, Director's commentary track, Featurette (19 minutes) - History Of The U.S. Marshals, 3 TV spots and the Theatrical Trailer.


    The main menu is plain but functional.

Anatomy Of A Plane Crash

    This is presented as a series of short snippets of footage, probably lasting 10 minutes in total or so. It is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, which makes the storyboards much less prone to aliasing than they would be otherwise. Nonetheless, some cross-colouration is apparent, giving away the composite source for this material. It is accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0, surround-encoded audio. One significant annoyance is the fact that when you insert side B of this disc, you are forced to sit through a multitude of copyright messages before the main menu appears.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    These are quite extensive and worth reading

Production Notes

    These are reasonably extensive and interesting to read.


    U.S. Marshals is the least special "Special Edition" DVD I have ever seen, with virtually no extras. Because of the missing Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, and the missing extras, I cannot recommend this disc, and instead recommend you purchase the Region 1 version. I debated whether I should give this disc a lemon award, but I decided against it on the basis that it remains a good-looking and good-sounding DVD, it is just that the Region 1 version sounds better.

    The video quality is nearly perfect.

    The audio quality is very good for a matrix mix, though the 5.1 soundtrack is clearly better.

    The extras present are very limited. We have been drastically short-changed with the extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
24th March 1999

Review Equipment
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