Another Seagal release to poke fun at, play drinking games whilst watching, and heavily criticise it terms of everything from acting to fighting, narrative to continuity. That said, the one thing which makes it ten times worse (which, arguably, makes the aforementioned games even more fun) is the fact that it’s not actually a movie you’re watching here, it’s two episodes of a TV show. Oh, and the episodes were never designed to be spliced back-to-back, so the narrative coherence goes out of the window. Did I happen to mention that they also released the subsequent instalments on Blu-ray six months ago? So you already know what happens in these ones; which characters leave, which characters don’t die? Yes, another classic case of an already-average title getting well and truly mutilated by the way in which it has been released. If they really wanted to get money from releasing this TV show in separate packs, then why not do that, Stargate-style, and then release a big box set at the end? But don’t splice two episodes together! Imagine if they did that for Luther, or CSI, or any other damn show. Even a two-parter is not designed to run continuously from the end of one episode to the start of the next one with no break in-between. Sigh, and at least release the episodes in order – is that really so hard?
On Region B locked UK Blu-ray, the fans out there who can’t help but pick this up will be pleased by good video, and overwhelmed by unbalanced audio that is far too loud, especially when juxtaposed with the quiet mumbles of Seagal himself. No extras? What did you expect? This is a title to pick up cheap and mock in every respect. Or avoid at all costs and, if you really like Seagal’s work, purchase when it’s finally, more respectfully treated in a complete box set. Unintentionally funny, through and through, it’s just a shame few will ever know what Seagal’s TV show was like without its terrible, fatal marketing.
Dark Vengeance comes to UK Region B Blu-ray complete with the same decent enough 1080p High Definition video presentation that the rest of the TV series’ releases have had, presented in the original aspect ratio of widescreen 1.78:1. Detail is generally pretty good indeed, like a reasonably good quality TV show or an average low-budget movie. Shot with Vancouver, Canada standing in for Seattle, it best moments generally come for the interior shots – the undercover cop headquarters offering up some pristine interiors which leave no room for softness, edge enhancement or digital defects. Exteriors generally also look pretty good, with a marginally over-saturated image (intentionally so) making the setting more ‘hot’. Even the nightclub sequences – which actually, for once, look a little bit like a real club – stand up fairly well, the low-level lighting never having an effect on the noise level (which is practically non-existent on what looks like a pure digital HD production). Blacks are strong and deep and overall this is a very nice looking presentation. Again, it’s not quality by the standards of modern Hollywood releases, but it’s good enough to complete with most halfway decent TV procedurals, and of a much better standard than many of Seagal’s recent DTV output.
It’s interesting because one of this TV show’s many numerous production sponsors is credited as being a company called 120dB, which is ironic when you consider that this track is the loudest thing you’ve ever heard. I’d be surprised if anybody can get it up to reference level without damaging their system (or their ears). Even funnier is the fact that, even if you do manage to crank it up that loud, you can still barely hear many of Seagal’s lines. Gone are the days when somebody else dubbed over and provided his ADR – now he at least does it himself – but that does not mean we can hear him, and if we do manage to get it loud enough to make out the dialogue, then you can guarantee that the very next scene will be in a nightclub with booming music that will simply deafen you. It’s an odd, up-and-down track that is designed for people who are quick with their remote volume control, or have sympathetic neighbours. And don’t think you can get around this one by popping on the subtitles – there aren’t any!! Sorry, did you want me to write something about bass and surround usage? Well, in case you hadn’t guessed, it’s heavy-handed through and through, in-your-face, aggressive, unrefined, imprecise and overwhelming, and not in a good way. I’m probably being a little bit harsh, but I really don’t see why they had to make this track so damn loud, especially when you consider the fact that the other releases, whilst far from quiet, have been nowhere near as lopsided in terms of dialogue vs. effects/music balance.
Nothing. Well a trailer, but it’s not a trailer for the TV show so it doesn’t make much sense either; it advertises this release as a movie when it clearly is not.
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