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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Derailed (2002)

"I wouldn't trust you if your tongue came notorized."
- Galina Konstantin (Laura Elena Harring)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: November 13, 2002

Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Tomas Arana, Laura Elena Harring
Other Stars: Susan Gibney, Lucy Jenner, Jessica Bowman, Kristopher Van Damme, Texas Bob
Director: Bob Misiorowski

MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Run Time: 01h:28m:33s
Release Date: October 15, 2002
UPC: 012236131304
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
D D+CC+ C-

DVD Review

Derailed begins with a simple assignment for Jacques Kristoff (Jean-Claude Van Damme)—he must escort a female operative on a train ride across the border. Of course, anyone familiar with the action genre will immediately realize that dire complications will ensue. When Jacques first meets the voluptuous Galina Konstantin (Laura Elena Harring), she immediately discounts his assistance. Apparently waiting for this declaration, the local army appears and tries to apprehend the duo. The subsequent action sequence generates zero suspense and presents a sloppy example of misguided editing.

This entire opening is littered with dull conventions and problematic moments. First of all, why does Galina immediately treat Jacques with contempt? Considering the precious cargo that she carries (more on that later), you would think she would welcome the help. Galina's character embodies the typical "tough woman" in lower-grade action films. The script requires her to originally hate the hero, but story developments will lead her to realize this mistake. Choppy editing also dominates this chase scene, and director Bob Misiorowski utilizes plenty of cheap tricks to raise our heartbeats. Unfortunately, nearly everything here is dull and easily predictable, especially the chain of events leading to a climactic explosion. These awful methods dominate the entire film, and it leads to a frustrating experience.

Very similar to Under Siege II and The Last Siege, the main plot focuses on a hostage takeover aboard a train that could have deadly consequences. Jacques does not realize that Galina carries a chemical virus that would quickly cause serious damage to its victims. Mason Cole (Tomas Arena) knows about her cargo and intends to steal the extremely valuable weapon. Of course, Jacques will fight the terrorists one-by-one and try to thwart their unsavory plans. They will undoubtedly not recognize his tremendous martial-arts skills and ability to avoid certain death. Matters are greatly complicated when Jacques' wife and children decide to surprise him and visit the train. Populated by unconvincing, clichéd individuals, this convoluted story generates more angry sighs than excitement.

Suffering from problems evident in numerous straight-to-video action films, Derailed insults the audience and provides a boring, by-the-numbers tale. Even worse than the dull script is the green-screen work that is obviously fake to anyone paying attention. Van Damme sprints across the roof of the train in a laughable digital environment that adds to the sloppy atmosphere. The miniature work is also terrible, with the key train stunts resembling games betwen small toys. When you add a computerized helicopter that springs from a video game environment, the overall result is disastrous. Van Damme fans should also be aware that most of the uninspired fights lack his usual acrobatic moves. Could our Belgian star be losing his edge? Either way, this film is a complete waste of time.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - P&S1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationoyes
Anamorphicnoyes


Image Transfer Review: Derailed can be viewed in full-frame or 1.85:1 widescreen versions. The pan & scan option showcases unimpressive colors and a bland look typical of the format. Everything has a decent amount of grain, with few elements to recommend in the presentation. Strangely, the widescreen version is not that much better than its companion. The colors are obviously sharper, and we see more items on the sides of the frame. However, it still retains much of the grain and hazy nature of the full-frame transfer. This option is more acceptable, but it still never rises above the mediocre level.

Image Transfer Grade: C

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: This film includes the option of choosing between 2.0 and 5.1-channel audio transfers. The Dolby Digital track is pretty quiet and lacks the decent power consistent with the format. It does utilize the rear speakers during some of the louder battle scenes, which helps to create a more complex soundfield. The Dolby Surround transfer offers a louder presentation, but it lacks the sharpness of its counterpart. Neither choice is particularly impressive, but at least it's not a complete failure.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: I'm almost relieved that Derailed did not include a feature-length commentary. It might be entertaining to hear director Bob Misiorwski and/or Jean-Claude Van Damme heap praise on this embarassing film, but I would rather not spend the time.

This disc does include a 10-minute featurette that quickly covers the central elements of the production. It contains the usual boring statements from the central actors and some mildly interesting special-effects items. The best part is Van Damme speaking about his new goals for his acting career. He hopes to return to more character-driven action pieces in the vein of Lionheart and Bloodsport. He is correct in placing them above his more recent work, which usually occupies the dull, cartoonish segment of the action genre. However, his ideas about stressing character probably vary from mine.

The original theatrical trailer is also available and comes in the full-frame format. It jumps through some of the major scenes and provides little direction while presenting the story.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

It seems difficult to imagine any film outdoing The Quest and Street Fighter, but this one easily ranks as the worst Jean-Claude Van Damme movie I've ever witnessed. Its stale dialogue, totally unbelievable effects, and recycled plot make me long for the early days of Bloodsport and Kickboxer. I recommend this disc only to Van Damme completists and lovers of terrible action films.

 


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