13 Blu-ray Review
13 comes to US Region A-locked Blu-ray with a decent but certainly not reference quality 1080p video presentation in the movie’s original limited (or non-existent) theatrical-release aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen, which does a perfectly good job for this kind of released. Detail is strong throughout, particularly on the fine object front, with no overt softness, print damage, aggressive edge enhancement, or invasive DNR tinkering. Everything from skin textures to clothing to background detail comes across well. The colour scheme is quite restricted mainly due to the material and the consequent setting, but browns are of the rich, deep mahogany variety, and whilst black levels are a little temperamental, shadow detail is generally good. Overall it’s a far from objectionable presentation which suitably masks the relatively low budget content.
On the aural front we get a decent enough Dolby TrueHD track which, whilst it does not quite have the material with which to show off true range and dynamics, largely presents the film well. Dialogue is presented clearly and coherently throughout the movie, largely dominating the fronts and centre channels. Effects are limited, and, other than the expected gunshots (all of the Magnum variety), there really is little punch to the track. The score is painfully generic, but affords the surrounds a little more to do than just twiddle their thumbs whilst waiting for the next round. Ambient effects are not non-existent – you do get the impression that they are trying to build a certain atmosphere in key scenes (the LFE channel is used quite bluntly at times in this respect) – but this is certainly not an aurally impressive work; although, again, a lot has to do with the material on offer.
There are no extra features.
The original 13 Tzameti largely worked because it was a fairly unusual idea, brought to life on a shoestring budget, with an unknown cast and a minimalistic setting – in suitably gritty black and white to boot. The director himself actually elected to do this US remake himself, following the success of his debut, but unfortunately it simply lacks the same magic and feeling of originality: the new US setting seems inappropriate, the problems with the plot’s premise are much more glaring, the lead actor is terrible, and the supporting cast do nothing but distract from the rest of the story with their largely unnecessary tangential plots. Aside from a great performance from Ray Winstone, there really is little to recommend about this movie. It’s just one of those movies which, almost by fluke, worked first time around – and rather than being a film which should not have been remade, it feels like a film which was too difficult to remake. More money, bigger names, a different setting – these were the opposite of what the original Tzameti was about, and exactly the things which prevent the remake from working.
On Region A-locked US Blu-ray we get decent enough video, acceptable audio, but zero extras. Honestly, this thing has been locked away somewhere for the last few years and one has to wonder why they ever bothered to release it. Fans of the original aren’t likely to be offended by this, but will likely not see the point in it; those new to the project (like I was – I saw the remake first) will probably be better off just checking out the original and skipping this. All it does is give away the ending to a better film. Disappointing.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £18.59
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