Jack Said Blu-ray Review
'Jack Said' is presented in widescreen 2.35:1 with MPEG-4 1080p coding.
The video presentation is a somewhat of a mixed bag; a fact that I feel is partly attributable to the stylish manner in which the movie is delivered. The level of detail on show is well above average; for example, the crinkles and creases of the multitude of “east-end gangster” leather jackets on show are plainly visible, as are Natalie's pert “attributes”! Facial close-ups can be impressive and expose pores, facial hair and other such fine detail. The naturally lit, outdoor/cityscape segments appear stunning (and exude a pleasing depth), when compared to the darker, stylised portions. The colour palette is largely muted to afford a more moody atmosphere and for the most part this works. The tonality is earthy and dark, which suits the subject material. At times though the palette can appear distinctly washed out but I believe that this is intentional. The contrast ratio is for the most part strong, displaying some nice blacks but it can struggle at times. The dark nature of the presentation affords some opportunities to display some nice shadow detail, even if there are a few scant instances of digital noise. I also noted a few instances of colour banding but these were largely infrequent.
Basannavar has obviously employed lots of filters to enhance the highly stylised delivery, which can make the image seem somewhat soft on occasion. This is especially evident when these scenes are compared to the naturally lit outdoor scenes, which are sharply defined and contain much more fine detail. I'm not too sure if the decision to sacrifice this level of quality for unconvincing film-noir styling was a wise one. Although certain scenes can appear somewhat soft, the overall feel of this transfer is pleasing and easy on the eye. There are a couple of scenes to show off the benefits of Blu-ray but the fluctuations in image quality prevent this transfer from getting top marks.
'Jack Said' comes packed with a dts HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.
Right from the opening credits the score makes its present felt and is the only really powerful aspect of the audio presentation. At times it is effectively used as the only audible component during certain scenes. It features various contemporary artists, such as Muse, and suits the subject material. There are also some nice touches throughout; for example, as Jack leaves the noisy bar, the jukebox fades to sound boomy and distant. The bass levels are impressive at times and there's some nice surround bleed and other enveloping effects.
Aside from the score there are a couple of ambient effects scattered throughout, such as the crack of gunfire, but the vocals dominate for the majority. This aspect of the track is crystal clear, with the high pitched yells of Natalie and the deep, gravelly baritone of The Guv'nor, always perfectly represented. The “action” effects, such as the various punches and kicks, are well represented, if sounding a little false on occasion. There are some sparse surround effects throughout but the majority of the surround activity comes courtesy of the score.
While the actual content is somewhat is vocal/score heavy, it is a pleasing and well mixed track and adds significantly to the entire presentation. It is only let down by its lack of variability.
As this is a low budget release, the extras package is somewhat sparse, with only two features available.
“The Making of Jack Said” (HD 19mins) - This feature takes a look at the making of 'Jack Said'. Cast members, producers, the director and writer, Paul Tanter, all provide insight into how this movie was made. There's b-roll/completed footage and lots of interviews, explaining casting, characterisation and the complex plot. Philips does most of the talking in this informative and interesting mini-doc.
Deleted Scenes (HD 11mins) - Included here are 9 deleted scenes for your viewing pleasure. Some are interesting and provide expansion on the plot but none provide any revelations that should have been included in the finished product.
Trailer (HD) - Here we have one high definition for the feature presentation.
'Jack Said', released in 2009, is a prequel to 2008's 'Jack Says' and is directed by relative newcomer, Lee Basannavar ('Briefing'). The story is an adaptation from Paul Tanter's series of popular and highly stylised graphic novels. The movie charts the story of an undercover cop, who is slowly drawn deeper into London's criminal underworld. Sound familiar? Borrowing heavily from other highly successful releases, such as 'Sin City' and 'The Departed', this release is not even in the same league as the aforementioned blockbusters. The acting is woeful; even the inclusion of the usually enjoyable Danny Dyer cannot bring the thespian attributes of the rest of the hammy cast up to scratch. I have to admire director Lee Basannavar's attempt to inject some style and verve into the production. Unfortunately, this is simply not enough to make this movie work, with the entire piece feeling like an extended version of 'The Bill', rather than a gritty, film noir production.
The video is somewhat of a mixed bag. At times it can appear close to some of the best BD releases in terms of quality but the decision to employ various filtering and other techniques can result in a somewhat soft and washed out palette. The audio presentation is dominated by the pleasing score, which adds to the entire feel of the piece. There is not a whole lot of ambient surround activity but the vocals are always clear. The extras package is somewhat lacking, with a making-of feature standing as the only worthwhile additional supplement. So we've got, in my opinion, a very weak and amateurish production, in conjunction with an above average video/audio presentation and a sparse extras package. I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone but I'm sure that it has got its own comic-book based fan base, who will undoubtedly snap up this BD release.
“Talk is Cheap”
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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