Assault On Precinct 13 DVD Review
PictureEntertainment In Video has provided a theatrically correct, 2.40:1 aspect ratio anamorphic widescreen transfer and it's a very pleasing picture too, being clear with nice detail throughout. The film was subjected to significant digital colour manipulation giving each scene a distinctive look, as a result colours are muted, or bright but always correct to themselves and never dull depending on the scene. Contrast levels too are set very well with nice deep blacks and blues, the predominant colour of the film. Being such a new film there were no original print problems whatsoever and digitally there were no compression problems and only the merest hint of edge enhancement towards the back end of the film.
SoundThe disc has been given two English 5.1 tracks, Dolby digital and DTS. First off both mixes are very absorbing and dynamic, utilising the full array of speakers available. Being an action film there are plenty of opportunities to get bullets and explosions filling the room. Dialogue is nicely handled, always clear and never drowned out, the score too pitched at the right level to hone the atmosphere. The DTS track manages to up the volume level a notch and also added to the bass depth. However, I felt it was a bit too much and made some aspects of the dialogue and occasional background noise sound too tonally thick. The Dolby manages a similar basal depth but keeps the midrange clearer leading to a more compact but tonally correct experience. This slight difference won't stop those bass hounds diving straight for the DTS track though and excellent as it is, I wouldn't discount the Dolby as, for me, it just had the edge.
ExtrasFirst up we have an audio commentary with director Jean-François Richet, screenwriter James DeMonaco and producer Jeffrey Silver. This is quite an engaging affair, even if it is a bit quiet in places, the three discuss much and really talk to each other, often makes for an interesting listen. Unfortunately Richet's accent is quite strong and one does have to listen hard to understand him, but this is the only fault with this commentary.
Next up we have five featurettes each individually titled but all made at the same time for the same documentary and broken up to fill out the DVD. They are quite informative in there respective titles and contain some nice behind the scenes filming as well as interviews and the usual padding of film. It all comes off as a made for TV special, the 4.3 ratio doesn't help matters, watchable but not deep, much like the film itself.
Finally there are some deleted scenes with an optional commentary by Richet. Most were unnecessary to the plot and removed for pacing reasons, as is the norm, except one involving Byrne's character as he is forced to kill one of his own men rather than take him to hospital, would have helped define his motivation somewhat, but I can see why it was removed.
VerdictAssault on Precinct 13 is an ok film, watchable if only for the action sequences. There are some nice character moments, even if motivations aren't dealt with its nice to have some back grounding in the characters, fluff it is and again don't compare to Carpenter's. As a DVD E.I.V. have provided an adequate disc, it is a very good print and excellent sound, but the rather poor quality extras add to the lacklustre feel to the film and unfortunately is reflected in the total grading.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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