PictureDriven to Kill comes to Blu-ray presented with a 1080p High Definition rendition of the movie in the original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 1.85:1. Although some scenes have good enough detail to justify the purchase of the Blu-ray over the DVD this is near the lower level in terms of the format's capabilities. The picture is prone to scenes that are mottled by heavy grain which is clearly not intentional - as you can see from the fact that it does not change from scene to scene but from shot to shot! Still, when it looks good, the detail is pretty strong, little softness is apparent and the quality stands up to scrutiny. Unfortunately, for the most part we get the aforementioned heavy grain, lack of focus and softness, digital artefacting, haloing - almost everything that can go wrong has gone wrong at some point during this visual rendition. The colour scheme stands up slightly better, the film is well-lit, skin tones look quite healthy and overall it has quite a glossy, reasonably polished look to it, with black levels solid and shadowing decent enough.
SoundTo accompany this straight-to-Blu-ray release we get a high spec DTS-HD track which has the potential to do wondrous things. Obviously this is not the material to fully showcase the format's true capabilities, but it comes across better here than on standard DVD. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently (but, of course, for some of Seagal's accented mumblings which, frankly, are never likely to be capable of being comprehended), mainly from the frontal array. The special effects are minimal - we're left with gun shots, a couple of grenade blasts and some heavy fisticuffs to pound at your ears and, if you turn the volume up to 11, that's exactly what they do. The score is possibly one of the worst that I have had to review, but is probably quite adventurous and competent for Seagal's recent flicks, with everything from weird rock moments to some never-before-used-for-an-action-scene classic (and I mean classic) Russian folk music. Odd. Still, in DTS-HD, it couldn't come across much better, even if this is far from what the format is capable of.
ExtrasAlthough we don't even get an extras option on the menu, we do get some trailers on startup for movies as wide-ranging as Wolverine and Wrong Turn 3. Still, absolutely nothing worth noting.
VerdictSteven Seagal just won't die. I guess he's hard to kill, and he keeps playing characters who think they're above the law and are out for justice. Recently he's been on deadly ground, submerged in the belly of the beast with his lacklustre DTV career, churning out endless badly made action movies like a man who is already half past dead. Either he has to walk away into the sun someplace out of reach or make a concerted executive decision to do something decent before he retires. Whilst Driven to Kill is a step in the right direction, it's still a way off being theatrically viable. On Blu-ray it is far from benchmark quality, but the video and audio presentation is still noticeably better than on SD-DVD. If you're a Seagal newcomer this isn't going to make you an instant fan, but you'd probably enjoy checking it out on Channel 5. If you're a fan of old school Seagal then this is one of his better recent efforts to rent and remind you of days long gone. Personally I still hope he signs off his action career before he hits 60 with an above-average Under Siege sequel, but I'm probably just dreaming.
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