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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2012

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"U.S. Marshals" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - June, 2012

Synopsis

Deputy Marshal Sam Gerard is once again called to action when mysterious prisoner Mark Sheridan escapes from a plane crash while being transported to New York. Joining the team, against Gerard's better judgment, is Agent John Royce. Sheridan turns out to be quite resourceful for a mere tow truck driver and Gerard quickly learns that Sheridan is a former black ops agent who is being framed for murder. The chase ensues through swamps, city streets, a cemetary, a nursing home, and finally ends in the grain bin of a cargo ship. Gerard manages to solve the mystery surrounding Sheridan's past just in the nick of time and the story concludes with a happy ending and an interesting twist.

Specifications

  • Warner Brothers
  • 1998, Color, Not Rated, 2 hrs 11 mins
  • Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
  • English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes and Robert Downey Jr.
  • Directed by: Stuart Baird
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

This is the lesser-known sequel to The Fugitive from 1993 and is an excellent film in its own right even if it is formulaic. First we have the introduction of our fugitive, a seemingly normal tow truck driver in New York City, whose life takes a downturn when he has a traffic accident and is arrested. Then we have the escape; only this time it's a plane crash instead of a bus/locomotive encounter. The chase scenes are bigger and the action more frequent than the Harrison Ford version. It's all in good fun and the plot is pretty interesting with the added element of secret agents and international espionage. Wesley Snipes isn't the endearing character that Dr. Richard Kimble was but his spy game easily makes up for that. Tommy Lee Jones is his classic self with a grumpy exterior and a heart of gold. The members of his team, same ones as the first film save L. Scott Caldwell who is replaced by a far less interesting LaTanya Richardson, are all there to provide the perfect foil for Gerard's personality. It's a masterfully created ensemble cast. Robert Downey Jr. who plays Agent Royce looks incredibly young compared to the actor we now know as Tony Stark (Iron Man). While U.S. Marshals hasn't been as critically acclaimed as its predecessor, I found it highly entertaining and an easy add to my library.

Technical

I continue to be impressed with the increasing quality of catalog title transfers. This Blu-ray is superb. The original film is a tad soft and grainy but it's obvious an effort was made to do the best job possible. Color is rich, saturated and natural. Contrast is nice and deep and detail is the best it can be. There is no evidence of the dreaded edge enhancement; or any other artifacts for that matter. The only flaw I saw in the disc was occasionally elevated black levels. This was quite sporadic however. The image had lots of depth and pop and the 1.78 aspect made for a very immersive presentation. A note on that, the box says 1.85:1 but the disc is indeed 1.78:1.

Audio is decent but falls a bit short of reference quality. Surrounds are used well (one helicopter flyover was particularly tasty) but I really missed the basso profundo from my sub during the action scenes. Explosions and gunshots sounded compressed and almost sibilant. Dialog was nice and clear and properly placed on the screen. The music sounded awesome as well during transitional scenes. I especially enjoyed a flyover of Chicago during an orchestral interlude. Kudos goes to legendary film composer Jerry Goldsmith for another fantastic score.

Extras

Bonus features are fair with a featurette about the plane crash scene, a documentary on the U.S. Marshal's Service, director commentary and a theatrical trailer.