The Bodyguard DVD Review (Region 2)

Seth Gecko

retired member
<P STYLE='text-align: center'><FONT STYLE='font-size: 18px'><IMG SRC='' ALT='THE BODYGUARD DVD cover artwork' ALIGN='RIGHT'>THE BODYGUARD</FONT><br>Reviewed September 2005 by <A HREF='search.php?do=process&query=Cas Harlow&showposts=1&forumchoice[]=107&forumchoice[]=197' target='_top'>Cas Harlow</A>.</P><P><B>The Movie : 4</B></P><P>Every decade we wait for another great martial artists to tread the footsteps of the indisputable master, Bruce Lee. Since he left our screens, there have been many pretenders to the throne, but few have even come close to displaying the same combination of skills, talent and on-screen presence. His son, the late Brandon Lee, showed so much promise but died tragically young. Of course we have some big names, like Jet Li and the amazing Jackie Chan, who have proven themselves in the industry, but there are also a few less well-known individuals who could have been serious contenders – most notably Mark Dacascos. Enter Tony Jaa, the star of the worldwide hit martial arts action movie, Ong-Bak and the next new hopeful for the title. Ong-Bak was breathtakingly awesome but since then audiences have been waiting patiently for Jaa to return to our screens. In the interim before his next major release we get this, The Bodyguard, starring Jaa’s co-star from Ong-Bak, Petchtai Wongkamlau but – more interestingly – boasting a cameo from Jaa himself.</p><P>The movie kicks off exactly as it means to continue, with a huge gunfight and plenty of ludicrous – and positively comic – moments. The lead character is a rather unlikely bodyguard, who is capable of shooting two guns whilst spinning in mid-air but not as good at actually protecting his mark. After a frantic shootout resulting in many, many silly deaths, the bodyguard finds himself dishonoured and discharged and left to single-handedly take on and take down the gang that assassinated his mark, who are now targeting the son of the man he failed to protect. Along the way The Bodyguard manages to avoid a head-on mid-air collision between three BMWs, engages in a chaotic poolside shootout sporting nothing but a soup bowl over his private area and bump into Ong-Bak star Tony Jaa for a brief bit of kung fu in his local supermarket.</p><P>The Bodyguard has all the frivolity of Ong-Bak but none of the style, all of the silliness of a Jackie Chan movie but none of the fun. Petchtai Wongkamlau – the co-star from Ong-Bak – tries his best to carry the movie but simply does not have the screen presence of any of his counterparts. The movie is slapstick from start to finish with sporadic bouts of violence – nominally bloody shootouts – and bad language, seemingly to justify its high rating. Almost nothing is intended to be serious, despite how serious the protagonists take it and therein lies the rub because post-Team America, action-comedies need that extra edge of subtext to distinguish them from their ilk. It is so over-the-top that Jerry Bruckheimer would laugh at how absurd the action is. Perhaps there is a hidden context that I am unaware of – there seem to be plenty of in-jokes (including Jaa’s verbal reference to Ong-Bak) but I think that the language barrier prevents a great deal of them from getting through to Western audiences.</p><P>At the end of the day, no movie is without any plus points and this is no exception. If you get a few beers and a few mates round – or better still return late after a night out – this is the perfect nonsense C-movie to stick on and laugh at. Unfortunately though, that is the only time you are likely to find it funny and, without that, it is largely unexceptional in any other respect.</p><P><B>Picture : 6</B></P><P>The Bodyguard is presented in a distinctly average 1.78:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced transfer. Considering that it is a fairly recent production, there is no excuse for it being in such poor condition, with occasionally poor detail, moderate softness and light grain running throughout. There is no noticeable edge enhancement but the colour scheme is slightly faded – as if this were an Eighties remastered Hong Kong Legends movie – and the blacks are not as solid as they should be. It is a disappointing transfer that even boasts some marginal print damage.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='' ALT='THE BODYGUARD'></P><P><B>Sound : 8</B></P><P>There are two fairly boisterous audio tracks: a Dolby Digital 5.1 effort and a slightly superior DTS track, both in the original Thai language. The dialogue is presented fairly clearly from the frontal array, with the very active score pumping its way into your living room – seemingly from all around. This is one of the most directional efforts I have come across recently, the score not merely being funnelled through the speakers equally but actually varying from speaker to speaker in terms of content. There are also plenty of frantic shootouts to bring all of the channels into effect, including a bit of bass. The DTS track has the edge in terms of sheer power, but they are both fairly penetrating, solid offerings. We also get English subtitles that are largely comprehensible but still don’t help you get the in-jokes.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='' ALT='THE BODYGUARD'></P><P><B>Extras : 6</B></P><P>We get a thirteen minute making of featurette that – for once actually has English subtitles! Petchtai Wongkamlau pops up to talks us through how the project came to fruition, broken up by bits from the movie itself, outtakes, on-set filming and chats with some of the rest of the cast, including the Down’s Syndrome actor who they refreshingly recruited to play one of the ‘heavies’ to fairly good effect. Then we get trailers for the wonderful Ong-Bak, Born to Fight and the main feature itself.</p><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='' ALT='THE BODYGUARD'></P><P><B>Trivia</B><br><P>For user information we use Bitrate 1.4 to scan the disk for the video bitrate, which also calculates the average bitrate. Below is a graph illustrating the bitrate of the disk, including the average bitrate reading. This disk averaged at 7.92 Mbps.</p></P><P STYLE='text-align: center'><IMG SRC='' ALT='THE BODYGUARD'></P><P><B>Verdict : 5</B></P><P>The Bodyguard is slightly disappointing but quite accessible for drunken late night viewing. The cameo by Tony Jaa does not warrant a purchase in and of itself but fans of his co-star should definitely pick this up as the movie is largely about him. The video quality is average but the sound treatment is pretty damn good and there are a couple of nice extras to round off the disc. Only really worth a rental.</p><TABLE border='0' CELLPADDING='0' CELLSPACING='2' WIDTH='100%'><TR><TD COLSPAN='2'><B>THE BODYGUARD (2004)</B></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Genres</TD><TD><A HREF='' target='_blank'>ACTION</A>, <A HREF='' target='_blank'>COMEDY</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Director</TD><TD><A HREF=' RITTIKRAI
PETCHTAI WONGKAMLAO</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Stars</TD><TD><A HREF=' APIRAKTANAKORN' target='_blank'>PIPHAT APIRAKTANAKORN</A>, <A HREF=' JAA' target='_blank'>TONY JAA</A>, <A HREF=' NAMWONG' target='_blank'>ARANYA NAMWONG</A>, <A HREF=' WONGKAMLAO' target='_blank'>PETCHTAI WONGKAMLAO</A></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65'><B>Region</B></TD><TD><B>2</B> <FONT>(UK)</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Supplier</TD><TD><FONT>Momentum Asia. Released Monday 19th September 2005</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>SRP</TD><TD><FONT>15.99</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Discs</TD><TD><FONT>1</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Format</TD><TD><FONT>DVD9</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Time</TD><TD><FONT>100 mins.</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD VALIGN='TOP' WIDTH='65'>Chapters</TD><TD><FONT>18</FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Picture</TD><TD>Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1&nbsp;</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Sound</TD><TD>Thai Dolby Digital 5.1<BR>Thai <IMG SRC='' ALIGN='ABSMIDDLE' border='0' ALT='DTS Soundtrack'> 5.1</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Subtitles</TD><TD>English</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Case</TD><TD>Amaray</TD></TR><TR><TD WIDTH='65' VALIGN='TOP'>Extras</TD><TD>Making-Of Featurette<BR>Trailers</TD></TR></TABLE><P STYLE='text-align: center'>If you would like to comment on this review, please reply below.</P>

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