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Rising Sun

MGM/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 124 mins . MA15+ . PAL


How does one begin to describe the cultural differences between east and west? One doesn't, but it should be noted that what a writer can get away with in a novel doesn't necessarily translate to film. Based on the Michael Crichton novel, the portrayal of Japanese business affairs in America are borderline culture bashing that caused a stir both in the novel and the feature film.

Web Smith (Wesley Snipes) has been assigned to a special case involving the discovery of a female body on the boardroom of the US headquarters of a multinational Japanese company. Teamed up with John Connor (Sean Connery), Web and John will delve into a world where American culture has no understanding or lack of respect for.

It is soon revealed that John Connor is more adept at communicating with the Japanese and understanding their philosophical nature that ensures more riddles are uncovered as others are solved. Add in a supporting cast featuring Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Mortal Kombat) and Tia Carrere and there are some interesting side plots that don't seem to have any real bearing whatsoever.

If you don't want to be disuaded from this DVD, please don't read on.


I'm starting to get a little worried here with the recent slate of Fox titles not really pushing anything of reference quality at all. This transfer is another example of what NOT to do with old D2 masters used for the laserdisc pressings.

Are we really meant to accept a 16x9 transfer that clearly looks like it was upscaled from a non-anamorphic transfer. There is an obvious lack of detail in the image that exhibits hints of horizontal smoothing only found in average laserdisc transfers. You'll notice more clues when you start seeing pink and green/cyan halos around white sections of the image. Particularly in Connerys beard. I usually see this effect in scanners that aren't calibrated properly which seems to indicate the the telecine process wasn't at optimal accuracy.

Color rendition seems a little off with reds exhibiting a purple hue leading toward a higher than necessary blue level. In one moment there is a scene full of blue light that bleeds alot which confirms my conclusion.

Black level is ordinary with video noise normally attributed to a composite signal. The closer I look, the more I am reminded of a laserdisc signal. Shadow detail is virtually non-existent with most detail disappearing into a sea of dark grey.

I am losing confidence here. If done right, the increased resolution of a PAL 16x9 transfer should blow the non-16x9 NTSC transfer out of the water. Alas, they are both bathing in the same puddle.


We are given an English 5.0 soundtrack that doesn't seem to utilise much of the 5 channels at all. To be quite frank, being so used to good soundtracks you can usually pick where an effect or ambience will take place and as the scenes make their way across the scene you feel cheated when what you expect doesn't eventuate. In one of the opening scenes where Harvey Keitel enters the crime scene, I waited for the whispers and ambience to appear in the surrounds. Nothing.

Dialogue is lacking in fidelity aswell as the obvious lack of foley use produces a raw sound that didn't record too well. Not a fault of the dolby digital soundtrack though but it does deter from the experience.

There are times when the surrounds do come to the fore and that is usually when the score kicks in and envelopes you. Upon conclusion of the track, the soundscape collapses back down to a mono sound field. Mono? Yes, there is not much channel separation up front.

The lack of the .1 channel is not really missed as there seems to be some low frequency action sent to the mains to emphasise some gunshots and engine revs.


Give us a semi animated menu and a full screen theatrical trailer and charge $39.95 for the disc. I don't work in marketing but I did do well in mathematics and these figures just don't add up.


I wasn't too impressed with this movie and the transfer didn't do much more to make it any more interesting. There are just some things with the movie that don't sit right. Two cops taking on a large group of Japanese hitmen and winning?

Sean Connery takes on the role of John Connor with ease and is the stand-out performer here with Wesley coming off a nagging second best. Bring on Blade 2.

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      And I quote...
    - Steve Koukoulas
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