The sets, stunts, action and even explosions may well all wear clear and visible ‘low budget’ badges on their sleeves, but the video presentation certainly does not fall into that same category, providing Six Bullets with a 1080p High Definition image in its original shooting aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. Largely shot in HD, the detail is frequently impressive, with consistent clarity throughout and no signs of digital tinkering. Skin texture and clothing weaves are well-represented, authentic and realistic; Van Damme may be in great shape but his face is showing a fair few lines now, and they are all on display here. Contrast is good, whilst the colour scheme itself is impressively rendered, boasting some inflected sequences as well as plenty of natural shots, with healthy skin tones and solid black levels allowing for both impressive shadow detail and decent night sequences. It’s far from perfect – there’s still a little motion blur, a frustrating side-effect on some HD-shot productions – but still actually pretty impressive, particularly for a STV release.
Boasting a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, again we get an accompaniment which seldom betrays the budget of the production, providing an engaging if unexceptional score that remains prevalent in the proceedings, as well as decent observation of the effects, which spark out across the array in a reasonably lively fashion. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, largely dominating the frontal array – as you would only expect. Effects range from body blows and knife slashes to gunshots and a few nice explosions, the latter bringing the LFE channel further into play. There’s a little bit of dynamic work on offer, although the sound design is far from noteworthy, and the fronts do get the majority of the action, even if the rears aren’t exactly comatose for the duration. A good accompaniment, especially for this kind of low budget release, it’s not going to win any awards but it will still likely only enhance your moviegoing experience when it comes to this particular title.
Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada.
A good Van Damme film? Well, perhaps his comeback has been more subdued than Stallone’s – and more problematic than either he or his fans would have liked – but there are definitely signs of healthy progression within this, the twilight era in the action relic’s career. Between an excellent bit of acting in the underrated gem that was JCVD, an engaging cameo in the mainstream Expendables sequel, and a couple of surprisingly atmospheric Universal Soldier sequels, credit certainly has to be given to the man for showing commitment to his work; investing in his projects considerably more than some of his contemporaries. Six Bullets is a decent little thriller – exceptional considering it is a straight-to-video release – which adopts a Man on Fire / Taken kidnapping story, delivering what often feels like a low budget variation on the same. Van Damme is on great form – both in terms of action and acting – and even though he is clearly held back by the limitations of the production itself, this is a welcome addition to his slow-burning comeback. Fans will not be disappointed.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get good video and decent enough audio and, although there are no extras whatsoever, I would strongly recommend this as a blind buy to anybody with a healthy (if inexplicable) appetite for the output of all these 80s/90s action icons – in particular, of course, to fans of Van Damme himself. Those who have happened across the title by accident should seek out JCVD first to help dispel any doubts about the fact that this man can act, then pick this up for being one of his best acting performances in an actioner. Engaging.
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