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Warner Home Video presents
Under Siege HD-DVD (1992)

Jordan Tate: So what are you? Are you like some special forces guy or something?
Casey Ryback: No, I'm just a cook.
Jordan: A cook?
Casey: Just a lowly, lowly cook.
Jordan: Oh my God, we're gonna die.

- Erika Eleniak, Steven Seagal

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: February 02, 2007

Stars: Steven Seagal, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Busey, Erika Eleniak
Other Stars: Colm Meaney, Damian Chapa, Andy Romano, Patrick O'Neal, Nick Mancuso
Director: Andrew Davis

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language and brief nudity
Run Time: 01h:42m:48s
Release Date: October 31, 2006
UPC: 012569818316
Genre: action


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- BD+A D

DVD Review

The action movie filmography of Steven Seagal runs the gamut from dismal to rollicking entertainment. One of the very best from him is this shipboard one-man-against-an-army picture, with a high killcount and plenty of suspense. It doesn't hurt that there's an excellent cast opposite Seagal.

Casey Ryback (Seagal) is serving as the captain's cook on board the U.S.S. Missouri as the ship takes part in activities commemmorating the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. On heading out to sea, what is supposed to be a surprise party for the captain turns out to be a takeover of the ship by its Commander Krill (Gary Busey), in league with a rogue CIA operative, William Stranix (Tommy Lee Jones). What they don't know, however, is that the cook is actually a highly-decorated Navy SEAL. Locked in a meat refrigerator by Krill, Ryback must escape and try to take back the ship before its nuclear weapons can be stolen and sold to terrorists, with his only assistance being a seasick Playboy Playmate, Jordan Tate (Erika Eleniak).

Seagal isn't the most emotive actor out there and director Andrew Davis works with that to best effect; when Ryback gets deeply emotional here, the most he manages is a hard swallow. What makes the picture work is that he's cast opposite two veteran scenery-chewers, Busey and Jones. They take their villainous roles and run with them, having a ton of fun and making them very nearly cartoonish, but always highly dangerous. They get some great moments of dialogue too, giving the action picture a sense of anarchy and cleverness often missing from such offerings.

The action is fast, furious and gory thoughout. Seagal's martial arts training gets a full workout here, as well as plenty of knifework, gunplay and the indiscriminate application of high explosives. The result is a satisfactorily high kill count that will gratify most High Body Count Night get-togethers. Suspense is ratcheted up tight thanks to some excellent editing and a moody score from Gary Chang.

The romantic interest is sloppily tacked on, but Eleniak is pretty game about the whole thing. Her interactions with Seagal (such as the quoted one) are priceless, and help make up for the overly-convenient presence of a woman onboard the ship. Some may be irritated at the movie's contribution to the mythos of the Navy SEAL as unkillable superninja murdering machine, but it's a ripping good action feature with plenty of suspense and mayhem to make up for its dubious politics.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The HD transfer marks an upgrade over the standard version mostly in its shadow detail and differentiation of blacks; what is a solid mass of black uniforms in the War Room on the standard disc is seen to vary widely in tone in the HD version. The splashes of color are also vivid and eye-catching. Unfortunately, things go downhill quickly after that. There's plenty of edge enhancement present, and mosquito noise is prevalent throughout. This picture seems to have been somewhat overcompressed, which seems dubious for a fairly short movie without many extras. Textures and fine detail are often lacking. Skin tones display a tendency to erupt into vertical ribbing that is highly annoying. There is sadly a lot of room for improvement here.

Image Transfer Grade: D+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
+
English, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: The 5.1 DD+ audio is overwhelming and makes for a greatly immersive experience. The ambient shipboard sounds are very well done, with creaks, whirs and hisses erupting from every direction. The gunshots and missiles have all the oomph one could ask for, and the knife fights present plenty of squishy nastiness. Even the music has plenty of bass and LFE rumble throughout, making this an excellent action soundtrack.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu
Scene Access with 29 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Elite
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The sole extra is a non-HD trailer for the film that gives away many of the best moments.

Extras Grade: D

 

Final Comments

Nonstop action and fun, though there are few bonus materials and the video transfer isn't the best. The audio rocks, though.

 


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