Urban Warfare 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 oversaturated “hot orange” Afghanistan flashback sequences stand up fairly well, and the grain/noise is basically 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.
The first few releases from this TV series boasted aggressive audio tracks that practically deafened in terms of score and effects, but consequently drowned out the dialogue to an almost incomprehensible level. Seagal’s muttering style makes it hard to discern his words even at the best of times, but it is made infinitely worse by that kind of presentation, and pretty-much fatal when there isn’t even the option to switch on some subtitles to help guide you through the confusing quagmire.
Thankfully, the last couple of releases – Lethal Justice and Urban Warfare – actually appear to have better sound levelling. The dialogue too, is, for the most part, better presented. Effects are fairly well done, from bone-crunching body blows shots to frequent gunfights, screeching car chases and even the occasional explosion (the Afghanistan flashback sequence blows the entire budget in less than 5 minutes). Bass is often present and the score suitable enhances the limited proceedings. It’s all generic, basic presentation, but does well enough for this kind of release.
Just a Trailer, which is actually quite a good montage of the best bits from the two episodes, but which still, frustratingly, avoids the fairly obvious fact that this release represents two episodes from a series, and instead tries to pretend it is advertising some kind of feature film.
Urban Warfare is the best of the last five double-episode releases from Seagal's averagely entertaining True Justice TV series. Although the show has been ruined by poor promotion – the 10 episodes available to purchase to date have been released in the following order: 1, 2, 5, 6, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12 – it has somehow garnered a second season and, hopefully, will one day be presented as part of a chronologically-correct box set.
Still, Urban Warfare is a dark and largely entertaining two-parter which delves into Seagal’s character’s black-ops past whilst further fleshing out the other core team players, leading to no end of reasonably brutal close-combat confrontations and one standout Afghanistan flashback sequence.
For those who have followed the series thus far – either on TV or home format – then this is a must-watch entry. For those who are part-time Seagal fans, I recommend waiting for the show to be released as a box set: it’ll be considerably more enjoyable in the correct order.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get decent video and audio, just a trailer, and terrible packaging that makes no mention of the TV series to which this instalment belongs to. I can’t help but mark it down for poor promotion – this show has received arguably the worst marketing that I have ever come across – but fans still shouldn’t be put off: pick up all the separate releases (or wait for the box set) and watch it in the correct order, and there’s a fair amount of lightweight fun to be had.
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