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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Italian, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Croatian, Bulgarian
  Extras
  • Teaser trailer
  • Featurette
  • Animated menus
  • Trivia track

The Rock: SE

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 131 mins . R . PAL

  Feature
Contract

I must admit I am a sucker for a good mindless action film. And when I am in the mood for a mindless action film, I generally look in the direction of Jerry Bruckheimer. Con Air, Armageddon, Gone in 60 Seconds and The Rock all fit into this genre, and they're all great films to just sit back, switch off most of your brain, and enjoy the simple pleasures of gratuitous violence.

The first thing to note about this film is the amazing cast. The two lead actors (Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery) are both Oscar winners, and along with Oscar nominated Ed Harris they all give very convincing performances. As a side note, I am a huge fan of Ed Harris and think it is about time he was given a few more lead roles instead of always playing supporting tasks. But my opinions aside, no one can deny the drawing power of this cast.

A squad of hand-picked former marines led by General Francis Hummel (Harris) has stolen a number of rockets armed with the very secret and very deadly VX gas. The team pack up their rockets and storm Alcatraz, holding 81 tourists as hostages and threatening to wipe out a large portion of San Francisco if their demands are not met. Unlike many madman/hostage films, however, General Hummel has a noble cause; he is seeking compensation for the families of many men who were KIA on secret government ops. Their families were told lies about how they were killed, and denied any form of recompense. Ed Harris manages to invoke a lot of sympathy for his character, even though the act that he is performing is obviously criminal.

"I'd take pleasure in guttin' you boy. I'd take pleasure... in guttin' you... boy. I'd... take... pleasure... in guttin' you... boy."

The FBI’s attempt to neutralise the situation involves a team of elite Navy Seals gaining entrance to the island via underwater vents and eliminating the threat. There are two additions to this squad, the first is an FBI chemical weapons expert named Stanley Goodspeed (Cage), and the second is an elderly convict named John Mason (Connery), who was a member of the Royal SAS and is apparently the only living man to have ever escaped from The Rock. Of course, things don’t go quite as planned and it is up to Goodspeed and Mason to save the day.

  Video
Contract

The video transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

This transfer is one of the sharpest I have seen. EVERYTHING is crystal clear and clearly defined. The colour use is very good, and is strong without being over saturated. Shadow detail is superb, which is handy because a lot of the film takes place in tunnels and low light areas. We can see all the detail that is necessary in these scenes with ease. Flesh tones are spot on also.

There are a few niggling film artefacts, but they are mostly just minuscule lines or splotches and nothing to have a fit over. No MPEG artefacts are present. Everything has that “just right” feel to it.

The disc is dual layered and single sided. The layer change occurs during a scene and is, unfortunately, rather noticeable. There is a large selection of subtitles included on the transfer also.

  Audio
Contract

This transfer offers five different soundtracks; English, French and Italian in Dolby Digital 5.1, and Hungarian and Czech in Dolby Digital 2.0.

Just like the video transfer, the audio presented here is of a very, very high standard. Even though I tried hard, to be honest I couldn’t pick a fault. The dialogue is crisp and very easy to understand, with no audio synch problems. The gunfire rattles the windows, and the surrounds are put to good use throughout. The woofer bounces around during the action sequences, as is the style with this genre of film, and complements the other five channels brilliantly.

The score is set by Hans Zimmer, who is of course one of the best in the industry, and his efforts on The Rock's soundtrack is fantastic. The subwoofer has a big role to play in it, and the surrounds help to make it one of the best scores for an action film that you're likely to hear.

  Extras
Contract

There are only a few extras, but they are of good quality.

Theatrical Trailer: The original trailer, runs for 3:08.

Featurette: A five-minute montage of interviews, scenes from the film and some behind the scenes footage. Presented in full frame.

Tour of the Rock: An interesting bonus, this is basically a set of subtitles that pop up throughout the film giving all sorts of information and trivia on Alcatraz itself, the actors, and much more. I had a chuckle when Ed Harris was having a negotiation with the FBI regarding hostages and the subtitles are talking about how the guards used to enjoy bass fishing from the island. I wouldn’t use this option for the first time you watch the film though, it can be distracting.

  Overall  
Contract

The Rock is a non-stop thrill ride with very good performances and a fantastic score. It is pure entertainment from start to finish, with plenty of filthy language and a plethora of gory deaths. The transfer is of an extremely high standard, probably one of the best I have come across. The extras are about average, and the trivia subtitles are a nice addition. If you are an action fan then there is a good chance that you have already seen and bought the film, but if you haven’t then it should definitely be on your must-see list.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1805
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      And I quote...
    "A stunning transfer of one of the best action films of recent times, this package doesn’t disappoint."
    - Robert Mack
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-NS300
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DE475
    • Speakers:
          Sony
    • Centre Speaker:
          Sony
    • Surrounds:
          Sony
    • Subwoofer:
          Sony Active Superwoofer
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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