Felon Blu-ray Review

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by AVForums Aug 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM

  • Movies review

    Felon Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £24.16


    Felon is presented using the MPEG-4 codec at 1.85:1 and 1080p. This is somewhat narrower than its theatrical 2.35:1 ratio but as most of the action takes place within the tight confines of the prison walls then I felt this was not a bad judgement call. Of course all prints should have the option of being viewed in their original format but I didn't think the loss would have amounted to too much in this instance.

    Shot again in a documentary style, as many films seem to be doing these days, Felon is a rather grainy affair. Yes the print is clean and blemish free and contrast holds up particularly well from the bleak bright prison 'yard' to the shallow narrow confines of the dimly lit prison cells. When the action kicks in it kicks in quick and fast and there's no smearing to be seen in the multiple fight scenes which are shown. Colours are muted somewhat both inside the prison walls and in the world outside. Skin tones though are good and some more vibrant moments, including the yellow or orange jump suits the inmates sometimes wear, are distinct against the background and are completely fast within their borders.

    There is enhancement in most of the brighter scenes and whilst it is never aggressive it's constant nature does become a little distracting after a while. There are no other transfer defects that I could immediately spot. Blacks and shadow detail are well catered for with the texture of the bleak cell walls coming across well. Texture detail is excellent in the many close up shots of facial pores. Due to the confined filming though and almost claustrophobic nature of the film there is never really any pop or depth to the film as a whole. The transfer though is solid enough, you'll either be a fan of this documentary, grainy style, or you won't.
    Felon Picture


    The only track on offer is an English full flung Dolby Digital TrueHD affair and it's never used to its full potential. There is little surround use, mainly being used for some ambient effects as other prison noises, radios, chatter and door movements. It's never excessive and fleetingly used. There's never any really crowded scenes to create multiple conversations or swift movements necessitating steerage from one speaker to another.

    The dialogue is up front and usually consistent although there were a couple of occassions when I strained a little to hear what Val Kilmer had to say, it could have just been the gruff tones of his voice at the time. The score is dramatic enough when needed and at times adds a mournful rasp to the background images adding to the tension you will be feeling as you empathise with Dorff's initial incarceration. This score rarely widens the frontal stage though and as such the whole track comes across as a rather narrow affair.

    Tonal range is adequate but then the track really doesn't demand anything more. There's no whiz, bangs or pops to be heard here and the track as a whole is adequate but little more than that.
    Felon Sound


    • The Shark Tank: An Inside Look at Felon. - 0:13:01

      The director introduces this small featurette indicating he wanted to create a disturbing movie about a man's life going completely wrong. He mentions the research he put in the two years it took to write the film speaking with gangs, prisoners and police forces. Shooting locations and cast choices are discussed. It's a good enough short for what it is, neither an extended EPK trailer nor the full detailed making of which are enjoyed by most. 1080p/MPEG-2.

    There is BD-Live functionality and although I have had some discs connect with my updated software this one refuses to.

    There are also trailers for We Own the Night, Starship Troopers 3, The Fall, Resident Evil: Degeneration, 88 Minutes, Prom Night, Vantage Point, Money Train and S.W.A.T.. All of these are shown at 1080p.

    Felon Extras


    Neither bad nor good really, I suppose at the end of the day I was a little indifferent to this film and that's just not high enough praise for any movie. I commend Ric Waugh for the research he put in and some of the scenes he created did make me feel a little uneasy; to those ends he would say that he achieved what he set out to do.

    Kilmer is good enough and better than most other features he has been in, Dorff is capable as always and the rest of the cast walk through their 1 dimensional roles. If you want to see prison brutality then there's many films out there to choose from and most would offer a better viewing experience than Felon

    Rental at best, even if you were to buy this then I think you'd be passing it on very quickly. It has no real potential for multiple viewings either from a plot or characterisation point of view.

    Felon Verdict

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.16

    The Rundown



    Picture Quality


    Sound Quality






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