"Supercop is Finally in it's Original Aspect Ratio!"
Driven to Kill (2009):
I have not had the pleasure of seeing much of these straight to video Steven Seagal films that he's been cranking out these past ten years or so. I was genuinely interested in seeing Against the Dark and felt that it was an average Vampire (or Zombie) film. This film, Driven to Kill, was initially released by 20th Century Fox in 2009 and has somehow made it's way into Echo Bridge's hands. I haven't seen the original Fox release and I don't really plan on seeking it out, but Echo Bridge is credited in the opening titles. So, I don't know if they were behind this film from the beginning or what.
Steven Seagal is Ruslan, a Russian gangster who is flying from California to New York to attend his daughter's wedding. Once there, Ruslan, meets his soon to be son-in-law and discovers that he's a wanna-be Russian mobster. Ruslan confronts him and he spills the beans that his father wants him to stay in the family business. Ruslan leaves to get ready for the wedding and then all hell breaks loose. Ruslan's ex-wife is murdered and his daughter is now in a coma. Ruslan seeks out the people who are responsible and will make them pay.
This film is all over the place and the acting is bad. Steven Seagal and most of the other actors are dubbed and the dubbing job is horrendous. In some scenes, it does sound like Seagal, but he is just bumbling and you can barely understand anything that comes out of his mouth. In the opening scene where Ruslan is talking to some bimbo, you can barely understand what he is saying. If this was me, I would have gone back and reshot this. I know that Seagal works his butt off and cranks these movies out, but seriously, you got have some integrity on these. But, overall, if you got time to kill; I'd give it a shot. 2.5/5.
This is my fourth copy of Supercop and third review of it. I need to finish my review on the High-Powered Action Pack. To get my views on Supercop, please visit my review for it's individual release. 5/5.
Bravo Two Zero (1999):
Sean Bean is Andy, a British soldier behind enemy lines and is a P.O.W. in Bravo Two Zero. Based on the brutal true story where a group of British soldiers are sent in to stop SCUD missiles. After they're spotted by child herding sheep, Andy his other seven comrades are running for their lives from the Iraqi forces. After Andy is captured, he is put to the test of not spilling the beans of the mission and pays greatly for his country.
The film moves slowly in the first forty-five minutes. But it picks up once they are on the run from the Iraqi troops. I was pretty much hooked after that. I think it's two hour run time is a bit too long, like I said, it was slow for almost an hour. I give the film a 3.5/5.
The video presentation on Driven to Kill is a decent one. I have not seen the Fox Blu-ray, but saw screen captures of it. I am not sure this is the same transfer or not. It is pretty good. Presented in 1.85:1 in 1080p with an AVC encode. Bitrate is pretty high and there's a nice layer of grain present. I have no real complaints with the video on this. It's not that bad, but it's a little far from perfection. 4/5.
The video presentation for Supercop is magnificent! Third time was the charm for Equilibrium; fourth time is the charm for Supercop! Presented in AVC and 1080p with it's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Let's give Filmyard Holdings and Echo Bridge a hand here for this presentation. Oddly, it seems to come from Italy as an Italian language title card pops up at the end of the film after the blooper-credits. The film has print damage and the right side gets a tad blurry here and there, but it's nothing major. While looking over it on my PS3, the Mbps is right around the low to mid-20's in terms of video bitrate. It is a nice and beautiful presentation. While it isn't perfect, I award Supercop a nice 4/5.
Bravo Two Zero will never look good in HD. A lot of the stock footage of the Gulf War is sourced from very poor quality VHS tapes. The interlacing on those transferred tapes is pretty God-awful. The footage that was actually shot by the director and crew is decent but probably filmed with low end film stock. I haven't had a chance to compare this copy of Bravo Two Zero with the double feature that has Men of War. It does get pretty rough in a few minutes during the last twenty minutes of the film when the men are in the Military Prison in Baghdad. I give the video for this film a 3/5.
The audio on all three films is Dolby Digital 2.0. Yes, that is correct; no DTS-HD MA like most of their other releases, this time we get the old school DD2.0 audio. The audio on Driven to Kill is pretty good for a 2.0 track. We can clearly hear the sounds of gun cartridges being swapped out and explosions sounds good. It's not perfect, but I am guessing this is what the director had done in post as there's some scenes where you can barely hear Seagal's mumbling. I award a 3.5/5 for the audio on Driven to Kill.
With the audio on Supercop, it is a bummer. We have been downgraded from the DTS-HD MA 2.0 that we had on the initial Supercop and double feature release with Twin Dragons; then with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 on the High-Powered Action Pack, then harshly downgraded to Dolby Digital 2.0! That's rough, we finally get it in the original aspect ratio. The audio is bit low in first few minutes of the film. However, it does seem to pick up when they break Panther out of prison. I give the audio a 3/5, it's a little more than average for a twenty year old film.
Finally in our final film on this disc, the audio presentation of Bravo Two Zero is tame. I found myself having to turn up the audio on my television a few time to hear what was being said. Like the two previous films, Echo Bridge has given us just Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. Considering this a war film, we could hear things like tanks running around the desert pretty good, but just some of the dialogue was real low. I give the audio a 2.5/5.
While most might not consider this an extra, we get a DVD triple feature packaged with this Blu-ray. It's a Jackie Chan triple feature containing Dragon Lord, Project A, and Project A 2. While I award this only a 1 out of 5 stars; it would be nice if this was a Blu-ray instead of a DVD. We all ready have Project A and Project A 2 on Blu-ray from Echo Bridge. DVD does not mean anything to me anymore, but I don't want to give this a straight zero stars, I'll give it a 1/5.
Considering I got this for $7.99 + tax at Best Buy, I can recommend it at least for Supercop since it's finally available in it's original aspect ratio. Not too big on the fact that they threw in a bonus DVD of Jackie Chan films since, you know, this is Blu-ray that we're talking about here. Bravo Two Zero, I can recommend because of Sean Bean. We all love Sean Bean. What's not to love about Sean Bean? And well, Driven to Kill is ok if you want to see a crappy straight to video Steven Seagal film. I give this Blu-ray release a 3/5.