True Justice - Season 2: Blood Alley Blu-ray Review
If you followed the first season of True Justice, then you know what to expect from the video quality. It’s decent enough presentation – particularly for a TV show – but it doesn’t stand up when promoted as a feature film. Hitting UK Region B-locked Blu-ray, complete with a 1080p video presentation in the second season’s original broadcast format of widescreen 1.85:1, these two episodes of Season 2 of True Justice look reasonably good, boasting the same kind of production values that fans have come to expect from the low-budget-but-hides-it-well TV show.
Detail is generally fairly good, and quite pleasantly this season premiere boasts a fair few quality exterior sequences, which occasionally even look a tiny bit impressive. There is some fine object detail and there are also no overt signs of softness, edge enhancement or digital defects. The colour scheme is reasonably well rendered, with plenty of colourful interiors and a few unusual tints (like the nightvision green). Black levels are strong and deep, allowing for decent enough shadow detail and impressive night sequences – beneficial when this particular outing is mostly set at night. Whilst it’s far from demo quality reference material, it is perfectly acceptable for a halfway decent TV series.
The trouble comes, of course, with those squished scenes. Obviously the image aspect ratio had to stay the same – 1.78:1 – but, at the same time, be stretched. So, what they look to have done is stretched the image vertically so that you now lose a tiny bit of the image at the top and bottom of the screen. This understandably has a side-effect on the image quality, as the resolution is knocked down a notch, and the video processing is more visibly dodgy. It doesn’t ruin the picture, but you can definitely tell a quality drop during the ‘stretched’ scenes, of which there are, unfortunately, many.
The second season continues on in good fashion with this solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which boasts reasonably clear and coherent dialogue (yes, even from Seagal, who is dubbed far less than on the second season premiere release) largely emanating from across the frontal array. There are some more energetic moments, like when the slaves are screaming and being herded around; or during the final sniper attack which is perforated by high-impact shots that ring out satisfyingly across the array. There are even a couple of explosions thrown into the mix and, of course, a fair few bone-crunching body blows. Surrounds aren’t given a particularly extensive workout, but with some reasonable LFE input there’s nothing wrong with this aural accompaniment and it promotes the material in a perfectly satisfactory fashion.
As if things couldn’t get any worse for Seagal’s already-pretty-average, but treated-even-worse-than-even-it-deserves TV show, True Justice – we’ve already had to contend with episodes being spliced into DTV ‘movies’ and episodes being released out of chronological order – now they’ve gone one step farther, deciding the best way to make Seagal look slimmer and healthier is by...squashing the image. What’s next? Superimposing his head onto a thinner person’s body? Using Tron: Legacy-style CG to de-age him?
If you somehow managed to pick up Season 1 of True Justice in its entirety (i.e. imported it) or at least watched it in order on TV – and if you enjoyed it – and you’ve also already picked up the Season Two Premiere, Soldier of Vengeance, then you will want this release just to continue the story.
This Region B-locked UK package has pretty average video (largely thanks to the distorted squashed image) and reasonable audio, with absolutely no extras – but that’s little surprise – and it should only be considered by those who have picked up or watched every single other episode in the series so far. Die Hard fans indeed.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £15.99
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