Security Blu-ray Review
Die Hard in a Mall
Security has Antonio Banderas adopting the late-career action mantle of Liam Neeson, in this low budget but reasonably efficient Die Hard riff.After an ambush takes out a convoy of US Marshalls, the child witness they were supposed to be protecting flees to the nearest inhabited building – a giant mall in the middle of nowhere, patrolled by a night shift of unarmed minimum-wage employees. Thankfully one of them is an ex-soldier, a captain who takes in the frightened young girl and decides that, even if they have no hope of wiping out their heavily armed opposition, they can at least try and protract the siege long enough for the cavalry to arrive. Director Alain Desrocher's Security can't escape its low budget, but still manages to work well within the confines of it, crafting a Die Hard-lite clone which relies upon a single setting and a succession of reasonably decent action setpieces to sustain interest.It's formulaic and familiar, but still pretty good fun, with Banderas flitting somewhere between a wounded PTSD-suffering soldier in the mould of Rambo, a practical good-guy-in-a-tough spot like John McClane, and his old Desperado two-gun fury, finding just enough to the character to escape being labelled as utterly paper-thin. Opposite him Ben Kingsley chews the scenery and his words, getting the best lines, and allowing underrated martial arts star Cung Le to do the heavy lifting on the action front. Whilst it's easy to see why this one didn't make the Big Screen, it's still a cut above your usual straight-to-video fare, afforded competent efficiency and even a dash of style, which doesn't leave it distinctly memorable but certainly makes it hard not to find pleasantly enjoyable.
Picture QualityFor some reason UK distributors cancelled the intended September release of Security on Blu-ray, instead merely giving it a DVD release. To pick up a copy the best choices are the reportedly Region Free US Blu-ray release, and the Region B-locked German release, the latter of which we look at here. It affords the digitally-shot production a decent enough 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation, framed in the movie's original aspect ratio of 2.39:1 widescreen.
A strong presentation that does the job given the limitations of the material
Considering the budget, Security looks pretty good, with strong detail and consistent clarity, even within the slightly subdued lighting of the mainstay setting – the mall. There's nothing particularly remarkable on offer, and the darker sequences do struggle a little more, with a hint of noise and shimmers of haziness, but it's generally a very serviceable, frequently very good presentation which suits the piece and never distracts from your enjoyment of the action. There's also a hint of style to the way it was shot, creeping in at the edges, and giving a few of the sequences a little more sheen than you'd expect for this kind of straight-to-video fare. With decent enough black levels, and little more than a hint of banding to complain about in terms of digital defects, it's a strong presentation that does the job given the limitations of the material.
Sound QualityThe accompanying soundtrack comes in two flavours, the original DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track in native English and dubbed German. Perhaps the only downside to the German release over its US counterpart is the lack of optional subtitles, with the US disc allowing a myriad of subtitle options.
The track affords it a distinctly 80s/90s era action movie feel (in a good way)
The track affords the piece a surprising degree of immersion, giving it a distinctly 80s/90s era action movie feel (in a good way) when things kick off thanks to a thrumming electronic beat-dominated soundtrack that may be familiar, and arguably even derivative, but does the job nonetheless. Dialogue remains reasonably clear and coherent throughout, notwithstanding both Banderas' thick accent and Kingsley's impossible-to-place accent, and the fact that both spend the majority of the runtime either mumbling or whispering or combinations of the two.
Effects pick up the extensive gunshots, fire, sporadic explosions and car crashes - it's not Hollywood standard, but it is enough to keep things engaging, with some surround use extending through to the rears and more than a little LFE input to give it a nice edge. It's not the kind of thing you'd ever look to when it comes to demo material, but it's a decent enough presentation nonetheless.
ExtrasThere isn't much on the German disc, but then again the US counterpart offers even less, with just an 8 minute Behind the Scenes piece. At least here we get that same Behind the Scenes Featurette and a bunch of Interviews with the main cast members and the director.
Blu-ray VerdictFormulaic and familiar, but still pretty good fun
Whilst it's understandable that Security didn't get a theatrical release, it's a pity that Arrow cancelled their UK Blu-ray release. It may not be an outright straight-to-video gem, but it's a fun little actioner nonetheless, reminiscent of the days when it was quite enjoyable to spot the next Die Hard clone around the corner, whether it was Die Hard on a boat (Seagal's Under Siege), on a plane (Snipes' Passenger 57), or even in a stadium (Van Damme's Sudden Death). Banderas' Die Hard in a Mall is late to the game, but has the benefit of coming at a time when they seldom make films this simple and efficient. For those who fancy checking it out on Blu-ray, it's worth considering either the Region Free US release or the Region B-locked German release, the latter of which comes with a few more extras.
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