Movie Renter's Guide Number 154 - January, 2008 - Part II


"The Rock" (Blu-ray)



All of San Francisco is taken hostage when a vengeful General seizes control of Alcatraz Island, threatening to launch missiles loaded with deadly poison gas! With time running out, only a young FBI chemical weapons expert and a notorious federal prisoner have the skills to penetrate the island fortress and defuse the lethal situation!


  • Hollywood Pictures
    1996, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 16 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • English PCM 5.1
  • English/French/Spanish DD 5.1
  • Directed by Michael Bay
  • Starring Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris, Michael Biehn, William Forsythe
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Strong
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Yes


Easily one of my favorite films from director Michael Bay, The Rock is a high octane edge of your seat action thriller that is relentless in pace. Sure it has some plot holes and a bit too much testosterone, but it’s a lot of fun. This Blu-ray release seems to be pretty much identical to the UK version that I reviewed last year. I was hoping that Disney might fix a few issues, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Fans will probably still be quite happy with this presentation though, and I’m glad to see it finally hitting shelves here in the US.


The video transfer is a bit of an inconsistent ride. Quality wavers so much from scene to scene it is almost hard to rate. At times the image is very clean with nice detail and dimension, only to jump to another locale and have a lot of film grain and a loss of fine detail. Most of the image issues revolve around lighting, with low light situations coming out a bit soft and grainy. Whites are clipped at times, and noise is obvious in some of the brighter sequences. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not, since the image is stylized most of the time. Detail can be fantastic at times though, especially in close-ups. While not perfect by any means, it is still a solid HD presentation of the film.

The audio is similar to the video in terms of consistency. This is an aggressive mix ,and since the film has so many action sequences, be prepared for an all out assault on the soundstage. Bass is heavy and at times a bit too thick. Compared to more recent soundtracks, the bass seems a bit overdriven in relation to the mix and lacks the detail of some reference soundtracks out there. Dynamics are also a bit spotty. Sure the mix is loud, but it also sounds slightly compressed in nature. The score and on-screen action seem a bit held back at times and even locked in the front soundstage more than I would expect. There are some nice panning effects though. While I don’t think this is a bad soundtrack by any means, it just doesn’t have the chops to be called a reference presentation.


Lots of extras on this Blu-ray release. A feature commentary, quite a few production features, a look at the premiere, a look at the Navy SEALs, Outtakes, interviews, trailers, and a look at Alcatraz.