Wednesday, April 25, 2012

High-Powered Action Pack: "Equilibrium" (2002)

Movie: 4/5
Video: 4/5
Audio: 5/5
Extras: 0/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Equilibrium, a tasteful futuristic sci-fi action flick. This is a pretty solid feature in which in the future we take drugs to hold in our emotions; to show your emotions is punishable upon death. It's a pretty straight forward film and very entertaining. Preston (Christian Bale) is a top soldier in the future; discovers his assigned patrol partner, played by Sean Bean, is not taking the drug. Preston kills him and then with a stroke of chance, he drops his vile containing the drug and is quickly seeing the world in a whole new way.

After arresting a woman who is been founding hoarding "illegal" items is awaiting death row, she slowly gets to him to help him see the path. Upon going out of the borders of their utopia, they found a group of dogs which are set to be slaughtered when a puppy runs to Preston and soon he cannot see it die and takes it off to "tested for disease". Preston soon joins the resistance to bring down the utopia so that mankind can possibly learn how to feel again.

Kurt Wimmer wrote and directed a very good film and all of the actors involved gave great performances. One of the problems I have is that there should have been more focus on the psychological aspect of Preston's struggle once he decides to quit taking the drug. If they gave another five to ten minutes to focus on that, it would have been a better movie. The action is pretty sweet too with Bale's character kicking butt left and right. Emily Watson gave a great sensual performance in her role. And Sean Bean, well, he's in his usual Sean Bean role and we know what happens to him most of the time. The film gets a 4/5.

Equilibrium is, without a doubt, the main reason to buy the High-Powered Action Pack. Echo Bridge has finally gotten an HD master for the film that is finally in it's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The initial individual release of the film was presented in an open matted, yet cropped VFX scenes, presentation. Normally, if it was open matted, I wouldn't mind because what the director intended is still there, but the cropped VFX scenes of the "gun-kata" and other scenes kills it for me. And the original release was very tempting for me, but I kept passing on it.

The video presentation for Equilibrium is not the best, but, for a ten year old film it does the job. The film shares the disc on a BD50 with two other films, being The Lookout and Supercop. The colors are pretty vibrant; there's clear and sharp definition. If you look closely at the film; there is a lot of dirt and specs and print damage on the film. Compression is noticeable in a few scenes and there's a bit of pulsing towards the end of the film. I know that might scare potential buyers away, but overall, it's still a solid transfer and the only alternate is a very expensive Japanese release. I think this master was probably made back in 2002 whenever the film was made. I doubt we'll get a remaster, but, Equilibrium scores a 4/5.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio presentation is pretty good on this release. There's good range in hearing harp noises in the music and helps get the tone across and then you jump to the next scene where the action is booming. Echo Bridge did a great job on this portion of the disc. The audio gets 5/5.

Without any extras; the film on this portion of the disc scores a 3.5/5. We have a very nice master provided to us by Filmyard and Echo Bridge. This should have been how it was when it was originally released in May 2011. If you buy this six film set, this title's new master in OAR makes it worth it alone. Recommended.

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