PictureThis R2 Japanese edition is, of course NTSC, and when compared to the R1 edition (also NTSC), I couldn't believe how much better this disc looked. Presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic widescreen, it was clear from the start that this transfer was outstanding in its presentation.
There are no signs of dirt or scratches in the print, and no signs of artefacts or edge enhancement. Instead the image looks very clean with good colour reproduction and strong, solid blacks with plenty shadow detail.
The stunning cinematography just looks sublime with bags of detail jumping out of the image at you. This is a first class transfer and deserves top marks.
SoundBeing an aggressive movie, the soundtrack just rocks right from the start. Both the Dolby Digital 5.1 (448kbps) and the DTS-ES 5.1 Matrix (1536kbps) soundtracks use the surrounds constantly with bullets, screeching tyres and all sorts of other effects whizzing about the soundstage, so you can't help sitting with a huge grin on your face. The bottom end is also well used with some serious explosive moments shaking the entire room.
The DTS track here is louder than the Dolby mix, but it is smooth and displays the kind of fine details that are sorely lacking with Dolby. The difference is almost night and day, with dialogue sounding rich and natural, gunfire just seems to sound much more realistic and the accompanying heavy basslined score, sounds utterly sublime. I just want to know why we don't get full bitrate tracks from DTS in the UK, as most of the Japanese discs I have reviewed so far, display a real difference when comparing DTS against Dolby, and I don't just mean louder. There are fine details and nuances in the mix which are easy to pick out with DTS, yet these same items cannot be heard on the Dolby equivalent.
Most people are going to import this disc for one reason, and that is the DTS track, and I really can't blame them, it is absolutely astounding, the disc is demo quality sound mixing and highly recommended.
ExtrasOn disc one is a full length commentary track with Jason Statham and producer Steve Chasman, which although interesting, becomes boring very quickly with large gaps between the interesting stuff you want to know about. Moving onto disc two there are three Trailers (1 French, 2 Japanese), a Making Of which for some reason (probably the French roots of the production) is in French with Japanese subtitles. Finally there are 4 deleted scenes, a Japanese TV spot, Multi-angle storyboards, photo Gallery and a music video by “Knoc-turn'al”. Overall this is a comprehensive list of extras, it is just a shame that the main Documentary at 30mins is in French and Japanese, not much use unless you understand either language.
VerdictThe movie is just one huge home cinema demo sequence with some very wooden acting. But don't let that put you off, its good popcorn fun on a stunning disc, and this R2 Japanese disc with DTS-ES is arguably the definitive version. Recommended.
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