True Justice: Death Riders Blu-ray Review
If you’ve seen any of the True Justice releases, then you should have a good idea as to what they all look like. Although shot by different directors, there’s a generally consistent level of quality across the show, each boasting a strong 1080p High Definition video presentation in the show’s original airing presentation of 1.78:1 widescreen. It’s far from demo quality reference material, but is perfectly acceptable for a halfway decent TV series. Detail is generally fairly good, with interior shots faring best, following by daytime exteriors, and the darker sequences bringing up the rear. There is some fine object detail and there’s also no overt signs of softness, edge enhancement or digital defects. The fight club scenes look suitably gritty, with a dominant yellow streak, and black levels are strong and deep, allowing for decent enough shadow detail. Although it’s not movie quality, it’s pretty decent for a TV series.
Whilst the video presentation has always been fairly consistent across the first series, the accompanying soundtracks have been a little more hit-and-miss, with the early episodes sporting very score-and-bass-biased mixes which threatened to further drown out Seagal’s already hard-to-hear dialogue. Thankfully the show turned it around about midway through and the latter releases – including this one – have been far more reasonable. Dialogue is, surprisingly, fairly clear and coherent, even for Seagal’s mumbling, and his fans will probably revel in the fact that they can – for once – hear everything that the Big Man says. Effects range from the MMA body blows to the gunshots, sword-slashes and screeching tyres offering up a little dynamic surround action, occasionally bringing the rears into play, and topping it all off with a hint of bass. There’s a little less to play with than some of the earlier releases, but what we do get is presented in a perfectly acceptable fashion.
All we get is a Trailer, which only further adds insult to injury by continuing the misleading mismarketing of the feature as a movie rather than the double-episode that it actually is.
Seagal’s True Justice TV series has been some of his most consistently reliable work in years. It might sound crazy, but having little voice dubbing and less body doubling is a distinct step up for the portly Buddhist fighting cupboard. The ongoing character arcs enable the regular cast members – including even Seagal – to have a more interesting backstory than you’d normally get in a standard action movie (particularly a DTV one) and this double-episode is one of the better examples of that, delving into Seagal’s character’s past; his late wife and his Japanese experiences and training in his youth. It’s one of the better two-episode stories in the show’s first season. The trouble is, it’s been marketed as a DTV movie, with no overt signs that it’s actually a part of the True Justice TV series. Worse still, this particular Blu-ray, which collects episodes 9 and 10 out of the first season’s 13-episode run, has been released not only after episodes 11 and 12 (Urban Warfare) but also after the release of the first two episodes of the second season. Studio Canal really don’t give a damn about this Seagal show which is a shame for its half-dozen fans out there.
On Region B Blu-ray we get decent enough video and audio, and expectedly non-existent extras, and those who’ve been picking up the titles as they’ve been coming out shouldn’t be too disappointing – other than in the fact that we still haven’t got the Season 1 cliffhanger episode 13, despite the fact that they’ve already started releasing episodes from Season 2! I’d recommend importing the entire 13-episode series if you want to digest this show in the best possible fashion. It may not be the greatest TV show on earth – far from it – but there’s no point further souring the experience with such unforgivable marketing and promotion.
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