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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 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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    Lethal Weapon

    Warner Bros./Warner Bros. . R4 . COLOR . 105 mins . M15+ . PAL


    Richard Donner helmed one of my favorite movies when growing up, Superman. He gave me characters that felt so real and I truly did believe a man could fly. When he was placed behind the lense for Lethal Weapon, he used his talents to provide an action movie that was more than just loud guns and big explosions. Bringing feelings to the lead characters of any action film is hard to do when you're expected to wow the audience rather than relate to them.

    Take an aging homicide detective in Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) and team him up with a suicidal Lethal Weapon in Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) and you've got an unlikely partnership but an excellent vehicle for a new breed of action movie.

    When a routine suicide investigation turns into a hunt for international drug runners, you know there is going to be plenty of adventure to follow suit. Add in a merciless henchman named Joshua (Gary Busey) and you've got the ingredients for a hollywood hit.


    The combination of a 105 minute movie, a PAL 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer and a single sided, single layer disc will NOT produce the best in dvd video. It is evident throughout the movie that this could be one of those sub-par Warner Brothers transfers yet it redeems itself from time to time.

    The main drawback is that the low bit-rate produces a somewhat soft image at times that borders on mpeg artifacting being noticeable throughout the quick cuts in the movie. This and the source not being in the greatest condition culminates in a careless effort on behalf of Warner to bring this classic to dvd. Other factors also contribute to this statement - see below.

    On the bright side, the picture can look pretty good with some excellent sharpness and image detail in many day-time scenes. It seems that if careful attention is not paid to the mpeg encoding process, the darker the movie, the more noticeable the effort, or lack thereof.

    Color saturation is pretty good with flesh-tones being a little on the rich side. Black level is present although lacking at times and shadow detail is lost in the soft blockiness attributed to the mpeg codec.

    This may sound like a badgering of the video transfer but it's the best the movie has looked since only being available on VHS and laserdisc beforehand.


    While touting an English 5.1 soundtrack, this soundtrack comes across as somewhat of a let-down. Maybe its the sequels with their bigger budget that have spoilt me but I was expecting a little more. Considering I can't remember what it sounded like in the cinemas many a year ago, I'd assume we are presented with the same soundtrack created in the years before 5.1 was perfected in the studio and became the defacto standard for action/adventure films.

    There are three main elements to this soundtrack; the dialogue, the supporting musical score and the action. Dialogue is always clear and level matched to the rest of the action, the supporting musical score does enough to create the atmosphere of the movie and the action is littered with gun-shots, screeching cars and big explosions - although I found the bass a little lacking.


    I've always been told that you will be rewarded for your efforts and in this case Warner will be seeing diddly squat from me. When you design a menu that is not themed to the movie and only portrays the Warner Brothers logo you can only come to the conclusion that these discs were a rush job just to get product out there.

    This is pathetic and a perfect example of how to drive customers to import a superior product and I fully condone it in this instance. Pull your finger out and make an effort because reviewing your discs is becoming a chore and not a pleasure.


    This would have been a highly recommended disc if it weren't for the lack of quality. The video transfer is at best mediocre yet still better than any of the other available formats, the audio is fine and the extras are non-existent.

    I leave it up to you to decide but take note of the upcoming special edition in the US that will feature a whole new transfer (over an RSDL disc) with both Dolby Digital and dts 5.1 soundtracks so if you can hold out, by all means do so and give this one a miss or a rental.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=280
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