Blu-ray Disc/DVD REVIEW
Release Date: February 13, 2007
Film Rating: /
Starring: Keanu Reeves (Eddie Kasalivich), Morgan Freeman (Paul Shannon), Rachel Weisz)
Written by: Arne Schmidt, Rick Seaman, Josh Friedman
Directed by: Andrew Davis
Reaction Time 8-4-96
Imagine a world that doesn’t rely on petroleum anymore. Clean air. Reduced risk of global warming. Free. That was the dream of Dr. Alistair Barkley and his team of scientists before he was mysteriously murdered and his lab was blown to smithereens. It appears other share his dream too but don’t like the concept of “free”. Now one key scientist of the team is missing and two are suspects and on the run from the police, CIA, and FBI. Will they be caught or killed before they find out the truth behind the devastation behind them? Maybe; but what is sure is that one of them holds the secret to keep the dream going.
Both Chain Reaction and Broken Arrow, the other Fox Blu-ray released same day, were action films released by Fox in the same year. Even though Chain Reaction didn’t perform as well as Broken Arrow in terms of box office numbers (it cost $55 000 000 and grossed only $20 000 000), I this it’s a much better movie. The plot squeaks by as acceptable and some time is given for character development. In all it gives this fictional story an authentic feel rather than being just a big budget chase film.
VIDEO QUALITY: 3.5/5
This transfer offers a nice range of colours in both indoor and outdoor scenes. The cool blue around the water experiment device looks fresh and cold and stay intact even in the darkest parts of the picture. Skin tones generally look accurate showing off the colour differences between actors and actresses. While not overly saturated, the colour resolution on this title is more impressive than Broken Arrow’s. This transfer was probably created at about the same time because the image still exhibits similar artefacts like edge ringing and an unnatural looking grain structure. Film grain is quite noticeable against the grey overcast skies and the snow on the ground. I’m never against film grain especially on an HD release. I think it’s wonderful that all of this detail we’ve never seen on DVD is coming through. It’s a part of the medium and the movie experience. But what I find hard to accept is when artefacts such as edge enhancement (that’s found on this release) gives the grain a bit of a harsher look.
Resolution is greater on this BD release when directly compared to the DVD. The aspect ratio looks correct at 1.85:1 and is vertically centered. Faces of people and details in the far backgrounds still aren’t resolved as much as the best transfers of today and sometimes red-lit numbers (such as what you’d find on an electronic clock) appear blurred and undefined. In the end this is a pleasing HD release but we know we can achieve much more.
AUDIO QUALITY: 4/5
Chain Reaction offers a very impressive surround mix for being an 11-year old film. This film was made many years after 5.1 was becoming the norm for movies and I still remember being impressed with the surround effects when I saw it in the theatre in 1996 (I put in my monetary contribution!). Not much has changed with my opinion and I found Chain Reaction to be very immersive. All channels are alive and kicking and can be quite dynamic reaching high up in volume when demanded. Bass from the music is thumping in the main channels but we don’t hear a lot of LFE support so be sure that your front channels can handle a full-range signal.
The score is delivered with a wide soundstage occasionally reaching beyond the main channels. Dialogue doesn’t sound restrained or restricted in detail in any way. For the most part, this is a good mix with only a few scenes that could have had a bit more potential – but that’s my opinion. The audio is delivered with DTS-HDMA lossless audio and will sound even better when the lossless stream can be decoded.
TACTILE FUN!! /
TACTILE TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
SPECIAL FEATURES: .5/5
This disc includes the movie’s theatrical trailer (in HD of course) as well as a trivia track about the film, actors, and the science of it all, including up to date notes on global warming.
IN THE END...
Worthy of a purchase, Chain Reaction is a catalogue title that offers an improvement in both audio and video quality over DVD.
February 18, 2007.