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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
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Mad City

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 114 mins . M15+ . PAL


Try and imagine this: you're one of two security guards that works the day shift at a terribly under-financed, local museum in a small American hick town where an eight year old kid knows more about archaeology than the museum curator. Now just try to imagine what would happen if you lost such a job, what would you do? Of course youíd do the same as John Travolta! Youíd walk right into that museum packing heat and demand, at gunpoint, to have your job returned to you.

Okay, perhaps thatís not what you, me, or any other sane person would do, but thatís the story weíre given with this movie and as such we have to run with it. Witnessing this stick up while hiding in the bathroom we have Dustin Hoffman, the local underrated news reporter looking to revive his career at any expense. In doing such, the story of a hostage takeover becomes a hot tempered, nationwide, media orgy, for which the lives of the hostages are the least of anybody's concern.

Yet again we see a modern movie taking a cynical appraisal of the mediaís influence upon the naive public, but sorry to say it kids - this isnít Citizen Kane with sideburns and shotguns. The cast is superb, the performances terrific and the storyline is compelling; but unfortunately Mad City doesnít do anything that hasnít been done before. However there are enough twists and turns to hold the film together, and the climactic build up of events should be enough to keep most film viewers entertained.


The video detail for this 1997 release is surprisingly impressive. Mad City is presented with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is widescreen enhanced. The detail is very sharp, the colours are well rendered and grain is minimal. Shadow detail is not a problem, nor aliasing or compression glitches. Film artefacts are quite rare, and there is very little to complain about. The overall detail isnít as sharp as more recent films, but for a flick that has aged six years it is looking sharp, clean, and vibrant.


The audio transfer is also of a reasonable standard. Presented with Dolby Digital 5.1 in English, French, and Italian, the soundtrack comes across as being clean, clear and without any major faults. The film contains mostly dialogue, which comes out clear and easy to understand. The surrounds donít get too many opportunities to perform, but when they do they are used well. The subwoofer supports the soundtrack well, but rarely gets much in the way of opportunity to do so. Overall the audio delivers the film well without going to any major effort to excite.


The extras, or should I say extra, is a static page of the cast and crew. This is nothing more than the credits list which can be found on the back cover of the DVD itself. Certainly nothing to get excited about.


Despite the stress, the sad story, and the ridiculously large mutton-chops, I was still unable to feel much compassion for a guy willing to point a shotgun at the heads of children. There is a certain underlying intensity to the situation portrayed in Mad City and as the stakes rise we get to see the characters take on all new dimensions as their lives and careers are put on the line.

Mad City has been received with both high acclaim and criticism, but Iíd prefer to sit somewhere in between. The film is well rounded even if it doesnít aim to be anything new, and has enough action and plot to keep most viewers somewhere near the edge of their seats for the full 110 minutes. The video and audio transfers are more than acceptable, and despite the lack of extras Mad City is still well worth checking out.

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      And I quote...
    "The film is well rounded even if it doesnít aim to be anything new, and has enough action and plot to keep most viewers somewhere near the edge of their seats for the full 110 minutes. "
    - Nathan Clark
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-636
    • TV:
          LG 80cm
    • Speakers:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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