Jarhead 2: Field of Fire enlists unsuspecting viewers on Blu-ray with an edition that presents this unnecessary direct-to-video sequel in a pair of versions with a couple of minutes of deleted scenes serving as extras. There’s not much here to speak of. It’s just another in a long line of video sequels designed to stock the bins in the checkout lines at your nearest retailer, in the hopes that uninformed viewers might think they’re getting a genuine new movie in the spirit of the original. I frankly can’t recommend this kind of thing, especially to fans of Sam Mendes’ original movie or the book upon which it was based.
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DTS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: Not Rated, R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 42 Min. 36 Sec.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, UltraViolet
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 08/19/2014
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire is another head-scratcher. It’s clearly an undistinguished low-budget war movie, following some Marines as they engage in a mission in Afghanistan. Watching various scenes, it’s clear that we’re seeing low-end HD video cameras shooting material as fast as the production can get it on the cards, supplemented with generous amounts of gore, gristle and low-end CGI. Shot on a tight schedule in Bulgaria (doubling for Afghanistan), there’s not much to recommend in this movie. As per usual for direct to video sequels, there are the requisite trio of better-known actors whose faces get to grace the misleading boxcover. In this case, that duty falls to Cole Hauser, Stephen Lang and Esai Morales, none of whom is actually the lead of this movie. The actual lead character is played by Josh Kelly, recently of the soap opera “One Life to Live”. One supposes if the viewer is interested in seeing low-end combat action, this might be an idea. But the scenes here are stilted, the dialogue and delivery is stiff, and it’s impossible to believe that we’re looking at an actual combat unit by any means.What sends the problem into overdrive here is that the movie has ostensibly been built as a sequel to Sam Mendes’ 2005 film Jarhead, a film that frankly didn’t do much at the box office or around the awards circuit. (This is not to say that the original wasn’t a good movie – just that it didn’t get that much attention when one would think that it might have.) So here we are, nine years later, and Universal decides to release a sequel to video. Except that the sequel isn’t using the same characters or telling anything like the original story. It’s a totally different story that just happens to involve Marines. The original was based on the real experiences of Anthony Swofford in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. This new DTV offering is a fictional story set in modern day Afghanistan. The original had Sam Mendes at the helm and a host of great actors. The new attempt has Don Michael Paul as director, and a much lower tier cast. The point is that there’s no way the new home video release can stand up to the original movie, so tying the two together with this title can only hurt the ostensible sequel. Except that it’s obvious they’re trying to use the original title to market the new item. And, again, the only people this will work on are the shoppers at Target and Best Buy who encounter the box cover on the way to the checkout stand and don’t pay close attention to the actual contents of the package.Jarhead 2: Field of Fire has been released simultaneously on Blu-ray and standard definition, as of August 19th. The Blu-ray has everything from the standard DVD, and adds high definition picture and sound, as well as an alternate, unrated cut that runs about the same length as the theatrical release. The Blu-ray includes the DVD edition on a second disc within the packaging.
The Production Rating: 1/5
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire is presented in a 1080p AVC 2.40:1 transfer at an average 34 mbps that provides a solid picture from what was clearly a low budget shoot in Bulgaria.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: NA
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English (averaging 3.3 mbps but climbing to 4.7 mbps in some scenes) that tries to add some heft to the proceedings but can’t get over the low-budget nature of the production. A Spanish DTS 5.1 track is also included.
Audio Rating: 4/5
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English (averaging 3.3 mbps but climbing to 4.7 mbps in some scenes) that tries to add some heft to the proceedings but can’t get over the low-budget nature of the production. A Spanish DTS 5.1 track is also included.SPECIAL FEATURES 1/5The Blu-ray presentation of Jarhead 2: Field of Fire includes two minutes of deleted scenes and an alternate, unrated version of the movie. The packaging also includes the DVD release. A digital copy is available online via a code included in the packaging.Deleted Scenes (1:53 Total, 1080p) (AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY AND DVD) – Two minutes of unprocessed deleted scenes are included here. Since the footage hasn’t been properly color timed, things look a bit faded.Unrated Version (1:42:30, 1080p) (EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAY) – This is an alternate cut to the movie, running about 6 seconds shorter than the R-rated version. I have not been able to discern where the differences are – frankly, this movie does not merit spending hours trying to parse those details.My Scenes – The usual Blu-ray bookmarking feature is available here, allowing the viewer to set their own bookmarks throughout the film.DVD Copy – A second disc is included in the package, holding the standard DVD of the movie. It contains the movie presented in standard definition in an anamorphic 2.40:1 picture with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound in English and Spannish (448 kbps). The deleted scenes are included, but not the unrated version.Digital Copy – Instructions are included in the packaging for obtaining a digital or Ultraviolet copy of the movie for your your laptop or portable device.Subtitles are available for the film in English, Spanish and French. A full chapter menu is available for the film.
Special Features Rating: 1/5
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire might have gone down better had the movie not been marketed as a sequel to Sam Mendes’ 2005 movie. As it is, this typical direct-to-video offering has enough trouble standing up on its own. It has all the usual problems of DTV work – low end cast and creative staff, a low budget, a brutally short schedule, and little to offer a viewer other than the unfulfilled promise of matching a much higher budgeted original. The Blu-ray offers the best quality picture and sound that it can, but it’s safe to say with this production that there’s just no there there.
Overall Rating: 1/5
Reviewed By: Kevin EK
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