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HTF Blu-Ray Review: 7 Seconds (1 Viewer)

Neil Middlemiss

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7 Seconds




Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Year: 2005
US Rating: Rated R for Violence, Language and Brief Sexuality
Film Length: 96 Mins
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English, French and Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish & Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: Optional English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Arabic & Dutch




US Release Date: August 12th, 2008

The Film - :star::star:
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out of :star::star::star::star::star:


“Places to go. People To Kill!”



Wesley Snipes is teetering on the edge of the celluloid world where Steven Segal, Dolph Lundgren and Jean-Claude Van Damme have all bought run down condos and scant few remember their hey-days. He has churned at a fair few direct-to-dvd films in the past few years, even starring in sequels to his moderate to low success films like the just released Art of War II. Wesley is a star of limited dimension who shined brightest as the character of Blade in at least the first two films in the Blade trilogy. But he is arguably a distinct notch above the likes of Segal, Lundgren and Van Damme when it comes to talent and appeal, so it begs the question, why is he languishing in the realm of movies that miss theatrical runs? Rumors of his difficult onset behavior persist and a few box office misfires seem to have culminated in his passport to the landscape of European film productions and movies with titles of questionable value. 7 Seconds is one such film.

A disgraced Delta Force captain has become part of a scheme to rob armored cars carrying casino loot. This ex-captain, Jack Tolliver (Wesley Snipes), is well trained, professional, razor sharp and, along with the rest of his crew, double crossed. While making their getaway, the vans carrying the spoils of their heist are brought to a halt and the money is taken by thugs with Russian accents and machine guns. They open fire and his crew is almost entirely wiped out, but he manages to escape with his life and a mysterious briefcase containing a treasure for which its owners are willing to kill for. During his escape, he kidnaps a British military police officer enjoying her day off. Despite their violent first meeting, she soon becomes an unlikely ally in his quest to find out who betrayed him and how to get to get back his lover who has been abducted by the well-armed Russians and is being ransomed for the briefcase.

Much like Snipe’s recent direct to video crime drama, Chaos, 7 Seconds tries hard to knot its story into a crime caper with twists, surprises and healthy portions of action. And, as with Chaos, it gets weighed down by weaknesses in performance, lackluster plotting and an overwhelming sense of mediocrity.

Directed by Simon Fellows and written by Martin Wheeler, 7 Seconds has some ideas that come with intrigue and, on paper, must have seemed worthy of a little investment. The film is set (and shot) in Romania, a poor substitute for grander European cities that helped elevate Ronin and the Bourne films. And from the opening moments, it is clear that the budget for 7 Seconds was limited. Not that a budget should matter with a film like this, but with script and direction that appears unaware of how to mine its story for drama and wit, the budget is all to often a trump card for nifty action, explosions and a click set piece or two. Not here. There is promise in the concept, but such promise is quickly squandered with the tedious use of flash backs designed to spoon feed us information that if we didn’t catch the first time, we are watching the wrong type of story. By taking from us the chance to put things together; to remember faces, exchanges and whatnot that set up the twists, there is little point putting time and energy into the twists. Roadmaps with neon signs should not be the staple of chicaning storylines.

The film is populated with general and formula characters; the plucky heist hand for comic relief; the absurdly malevolent and torturous bad guy with a peculiar characteristic; a greasy club owner and a smattering of slow-around-the-curve-law enforcement types and mono-use thugs. Wesley Snipes pours his typical tone into the Jack Tolliver character, perhaps with a little more venerability, but cut from the same cloth as most of his non-blade roles. His ally in the film Sgt. Kelly Anders is played by Tamzin Outhwaite. Her resolute and sharp sleuthing agent of the British military police is good for the film and a distinct highlight among flat faces. The bizarre baddie with an unusual handicap has a one or two of dark comedy and truly unsettling moments; however they are far too fleeting to amount to an actual high point.





The Video - :star::star:
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out of :star::star::star::star::star:


Sony Pictures Home Entertainment deposits 7 Seconds on Blu-Ray in 1080p High definition with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. From the very first moments, the flaws in the image quality are apparent. Besides the dirt and dust debris you’ll see, the image is flat, unremarkable and soft. To be honest, for the majority of the 96 minute running time, 7 Seconds looks like a standard DVD transfer. I didn’t notice DNR, but I honestly don’t think anything at all was done to this print up before dropping it squarely at the bottom of the ranks for Blu-Ray quality standings. I think you will be disappointed in how this disc performs on your display. Those with displays of 42 inches or lower will feel robbed – anyone with displays 65 inches and above (like mine) will take the disc out and double check that it says Blu-Ray. If you don’t expect a high-def looking image (except from a precious few shots here and there), your might find this tolerable (of course, that’s if the movie itself doesn’t leave you feeling cheated).



The Sound - :star::star:
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out of :star::star::star::star::star:


This disc comes with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track in three languages (English, French & Portuguese) as well as a Spanish and Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital track. The Dolby TrueHD English track was a disappointment. At times murky and indistinct among the channels, with an indiscrete center channel for the dialogue, particularly during the opening act, 7 Seconds is underwhelming. Some thump in the bass and an uptick in surround action during the films climax help a little, but this is far from reference. Very far.



The Extra's - :star: out of :star::star::star::star::star:

Trailers
This release comes with HD trailers for Redbelt, Starship Troopers 3: Marauders and Resident Evil 4: Degeneration




Final Thoughts

7 Seconds is a letdown. An abundance of tough talk but with little wit or true intelligence to be found. The muddled plot isn’t complicated, just not thought through enough to keep you interested. Forgiving Wesley Snipes fans will find enough of his charm to carry them through the mostly dull car chases, average fight scenes and bevy of folk we don’t really have much invested in. All others will likely find themselves checking their watches, making multiple trips to the fridge for snacks, text messaging their friends or, like me, struggling to stay awake.



Overall Score - :star::star:
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out of :star::star::star::star::star:





Neil Middlemiss
Kernersville, NC
 

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