Unlawful Entry

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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, non-16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1992 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
107:00 minutes
(not 100 minutes as per packaging) 
Other Extras None
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (59:04)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Jonathan Kaplan
20th Century Fox
Fox Home Entertainment
Starring Kurt Russell 
Ray Liotta
Madeleine Stowe
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $39.95 Music James Horner

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Dolby Digital 2.0 
16x9 Enhancement
Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles Czech
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or
After Credits
Yes, in credits

Plot Synopsis

    Robocop 3, Universal Soldier: The Return, Speed 2: Cruise Control and now Unlawful Entry (or perhaps more accurately Awful Entry - as in an awful entry into the discography). Is it my imagination or is there a general lack of real quality films being committed to DVD in Region 4 early in 2000? Perhaps I am being unduly cynical since I have unfortunately had to review all these discs? To be fair, this is not quite as bad as the aforementioned titles, but it certainly is a turgid effort that lasts far longer than the material it contains justifies. To get this to last 107 minutes, there is certainly a lot of filler included that could quite cheerfully have been left out. Had this been restricted to a length of 85 minutes or so, it would have been a far better effort. This is definitely your typical B-grade effort that seems to be the sort of stuff that Kurt Russell likes to gravitate to.

    Mind you, the basic premise of the film is not bad at all. Unfortunately, the execution is not the best. Michael Carr (Kurt Russell) and his wife Karen (Madeleine Stowe) are subjected to a break-in at their home, during which Karen is threatened by the intruder. After the intruder leaves, the police attend the scene in the form of Roy Cole (Roger E. Mosley) and his slightly psychotic partner, Pete Davis (Ray Liotta). Davis becomes a little obsessive about Karen and starts becoming a little more common in her life than Michael would like. It starts out as simple assistance with the installation of a new security system in her home, but gets progressively worse. Becoming completely obsessed with Karen, Davis walks in on Michael and Karen in the act of intercourse, and starts to ruin Michael's business life as the obsession grows. After Michael lays a formal complaint against Davis, things get even worse, especially for Cole after he threatens Davis with exposure if Davis does not seek professional help. This eventually leads to the planting of cocaine in Michael's house which is discovered during a search conducted by the police as a result of an anonymous tip-off. It ultimately leads to the inevitable climatic clash between Michael and Davis.

    And it does end up being as dreary as the synopsis starts to sound. It would probably have helped if there was some excitement generated somewhere in the script, but this just keeps on chugging along like a monotone conversation. And the inevitable conclusion of that monotone conversation is really dull drudgery. About the only thing to enlighten the drudgery is the somewhat gratuitous nude scene involving Madeleine Stowe. Kurt Russell has never really demonstrated to me any great scope as an actor and this certainly is not a start of a breakaway from that mold. This performance lacks any sort of emotional input and ultimately lacks any sort of credibility at all. Madeleine Stowe is almost the exact duplicate as the wife and fails to rise to any sort of emotional level that I find believable. Ray Liotta is actually quite decent as the obsessive psychotic cop, but his performance alone is not enough to pull this film out of the mire. Combined with the rather poor story and the rather unemotional acting performances is some rather lacklustre direction from Jonathan Kaplan.

    In some respects this makes Speed 2: Cruise Control look like a great film, simply because that film has some action in it. This effort lacks anything in the way of real action and the acting and story are of insufficient standard to make this work as a thriller. It was a poor film on VHS and it is an even worse film on DVD, as it is exposed in all its digital underwear as completely lacking any substance whatsoever.

Transfer Quality


    Be warned, there is a serious problem with this transfer, although the extent of the visibility of problem will depend upon your display device. If you have a television that produces plenty of overscan, then you will be mercifully spared the effects of the problem. If your television has little in the way of overscan, then you are possibly going to be afflicted with a potentially annoying problem down the left hand side of the picture during the film. The problem is akin to having the horizontal adjustment of a computer monitor set too far left, creating an overlap effect in the film down the left hand side. On my television, this is not too much of a problem as generally it is hidden by the overscan, but even so there were times when it did result in a slightly off-putting "look" to the film down the left hand side.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    After a couple of very fine transfers from Fox Home Entertainment, this is a significant let down that, coupled with the above problem and packaging inaccuracies, does not bode well for the ongoing reputation of their releases. This is not a great transfer, being quite diffuse and lacking a lot in the way of definition, as well as being a little darker than perhaps it should be. At times it was a little difficult to watch the film as it was too diffuse, resulting in quite a flat, distinctly two dimensional feel to the film. Shadow detail was reasonable, but really for a film of this vintage should have been a little better I feel. It is not an especially clear transfer although, mercifully, it is not a grainy transfer either. There does not appear to be any low level noise problems with the transfer.

    Matching the rather diffuse transfer is a rather muted palette of colours that is so lacking in any sort of vibrancy that it just compounds the overall diffuse image far too much. The result is a reasonably unnatural feel to the film, and really this needed a little more saturation in the colours to make the image more distinctive. There certainly is no problem at all with oversaturation of colour. Overall, I would have to say that this was a far more disappointing looking transfer than I was expecting for a film of this age.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG problems in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts comprised some reasonably minor aliasing inconsistently throughout the film. Once again, film artefacts were barely noted during the film, with little in the way of dirt blemishing what is a quite clean transfer for a film of this age.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change coming at 59:04. This is a decent layer change, just noticeable but not really disruptive to the film at all. Given that this is an RSDL format disc, which should have afforded plenty of space for compression of the data, I would have expected a far better transfer to result.

    Note that the packaging refers to a Hebrew subtitle option, but this is not present on the disc.


    There is only the one audio track on this DVD, the English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded soundtrack. Not that the reference to an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the cover is completely false.

    Dialogue was always clear and easy to understand.

    There were no audio sync problems with this disc.

    The score by James Horner is not a patch on his effort for that film and in general sounds as dull as the film looks. I suppose that we should be grateful for the consistency involved.

    This is not the best surround encoded soundtrack that I have heard, and lacks in general any sort of detail out of the rear surround channel in particular. I suppose that this suits the film somewhat, as there are significant amounts of dialogue involved, but really in the nightclub scene for instance, I would have expected some background noise at least in the rear channel, but there was none. The resultant soundscape is a little flat and dull, just to keep the consistency flowing. Obviously you can toss away the subwoofer for this effort.


    Well, Fox have yet to demonstrate any serious commitment to extras and this is no exception.


Theatrical Trailer (2:02)

    A not especially great effort, although the film it was trying to sell was not that hot. Presented in a aspect ratio of 1.33:1 , not 16x9 enhanced, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound.

R4 vs R1

   This film has yet to be released in Region 1, therefore by default Region 4 is the region of choice.


    A dreary film that really has little to commend it. The fact that its last incarnation on VHS tape was in the $16.95 Selections range probably tells you everything that you need to know about the film. At the asking price of around $40, give it a miss and seek out the VHS tape if you really need the film - I have seen that as cheap as $5 new and unopened.

    A quite mediocre video transfer, with a serious flaw for those with televisions with little or no overscan.

    A quite flat audio transfer.

    The extras are not worth worrying about.

    And is it really asking too much for the packaging to be at least accurate in detail, and that the detail be reasonably sized so that it is at least legible, without having to resort to a magnifying glass?

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris
6th February 2000

Review Equipment
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