DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Unleashed

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Steve Tannehill, Oct 8, 2005.

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  1. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    XenForo Template  Unleashed: Unrated Studio: Universal Studios Home Video Year: 2005 (2005 Release) Rated: Unrated Aspect Ratio: 2.35x1, enhanced for 16x9 displays Audio: English DD 5.1; English DTS .1 Captions/Subtitles: English SDH; French and Spanish Subtitles Time: 1:42:40; extended scenes untimed Disc Format: SS/DL (DVD-9) Layer Switch: Approx. 1:08 Case Style: Keep Case The Feature: In Unleashed, Bob Hoskins is Bart, a Glasgow mobster who makes his collections with the assistance of Danny the Dog (Jet Li), a leashed martial arts killing machine that Bart has "raised" since childhood. Take off the leash and Danny kicks butt like a pit bull. Put the leash back on, throw him in his pit, and he is as helpless as a little child. When master Bart is unceremoniously taken out of the picture, Danny the Dog is taken in by a kindly blind man and his step daughter, Sam and Victoria (Morgan Freeman / Kerry Condon). Sam tunes pianos for a living, and Victoria is about to finish secondary school. Her goal is to become a concert pianist. A familial bond develops, despite the unanswered questions of Danny's past. Of course, Danny's past comes back to catch up with him. Violence, mayhem, and death ensue. This is, after all, a martial arts action movie. But Unleashed actually has a bit of a plot. There is some A-list talent (especially with Morgan Freeman), and although he chews the scenery a tad much, Bob Hoskins plays the part of the gangster quite well. And Jet Li as Danny is very sensitive--a sympathetic character that you hope will win. Oh sure, it is formulaic. Oh sure, some of the situations are unlikely. This is one of those movies where I found myself just turning the brain off and enjoying. I'll get back to Hitchcock tomorrow. The Unleashed DVD comes in two flavors, Unrated and R-Rated. The Unrated version (reviewed here) has an additional bonus feature and extended scenes that are not integrated into the movie very well. When you select "Play" from the main menu, you are given the option for the unrated or the extended version, and if you select the extended version you are told:
    Well, the change in picture quality is quite obvious: the feature switches from 16x9-enhanced widescreen to 4x3 widescreen. The extended footage also loses the 5.1 track and many of the foley effects. To me, this was distracting enough to render the extended scenes useless. That's a shame, because I liked this movie. The Feature: 4 / 5     Video: Unleashed is very stylized at times, and there are color schemes that appear to predominate--the darkened gray of Danny's pit, the warm interior of Sam and Victoria's apartment, the colorful new world that Danny discovers. The colors appear to be accurate. My gripe with this transfer is the edge enhancement. I'm learning to notice this from a mile away. There are too many scenes with EE, from buildings in the distance, to piano lid uprights, to Morgan Freeman's glasses, to Bob Hoskin's head. Why? Why? Video: 2.5 / 5    Sound: There are two English 5.1 soundtracks available on Unleashed, one in Dolby Digital the other in DTS. They pack a punch, with a deep, extended low-end, lots of sound effects, good and easy-to-understand dialogue, and a great music soundtrack. This is what I expect from an action movie. Sound: 4 / 5     Extras:
  2. Director Louis Leterrier: Unleashed (5:13) .78/2.35 in 4x3 frame - talks about the noir aspect of it all, the intimidation of working with people like Morgan Freeman, the awe of working with Bob Hoskins, and the enthusiasm of making an action movie with good fighting.
  3. *Serve No Master (10:02) 1.78/2.35 in 4x3 frame - featuring interviews with the cast and a smattering of behind-the-scenes clips (like the fight choreography with Yuen Wo Ping). While this might be good for someone who has not just seen the movie, it really feels redundant. If I want to see the big fight scene, I'll just chapter select it in the movie, ya know?
  4. The Collar Comes Off: Behind the Scenes of "Unleashed" (12:47) 1.78/2.35 in 4x3 frame - better than the last documentary, although it has overlapping interviews with the last one. Frankly, the two docs should have been re-edited into something a little less redundant that did not feel so much like filler.
  5. "Atta Boy" Massive Attack Music Video (1:49) 4x3 widescreen - eh
  6. "Unleash Me" The RZA Music Video (2:44) 4x3 widescreen - eh *Exclusive to Unrated edition Missing from the Extras section is an easy way to access the extended scenes. That would at least make the interplay issues less of a concern. Extras: 3.5 / 5     In Conclusion: This is a good little movie that has a really mixed presentation on DVD. The martial arts action was great, the stars are great, the story is pretty good. If that's all you are looking for in a movie, you will probably enjoy it. Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5     Release Date: October 11, 2005
    Display calibrated by Steve Martin at http://www.lionav.com/
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  8. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Thanks for the review Steve. I enjoyed the movie, and as a fan of Jet Li, Bob Hoskins and Morgan Freeman, I will definitely be getting the dvd.
     
  9. Mike Wadkins

    Mike Wadkins Supporting Actor

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    there is no reason for the dip in quality i have had the 2 disc r3 dvd for months and the quality is constant
     
  10. ChrisBEA

    ChrisBEA Screenwriter

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    I really liked this movie, looking forward to seeing it again.
     
  11. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    I plan to pick it up. A Luc Besson written movie(missing from the review [​IMG]), makes it an easy purchase.

    and yes I wish Universal would drop the whole unrated switch to 4x3 stuff. They ruined it on Ray and this is another botch job it appears.
     
  12. ScottJH

    ScottJH Supporting Actor

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  13. Mike Wadkins

    Mike Wadkins Supporting Actor

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    Scott thats the one the rated play's out better as a film it must be said
     
  14. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    guys,

    just to repeat...there a 2 play options:

    Unrated (extra scenes) - plays just fine.
    Extended (deleted scenes) - tacked in like RAY.

    the other edition is the theatrical R rated version.

    the picture I found to be way better than THE INTERPRETER, with only slight (brief) EE (projected at 185") visible on Morgan Freeman's face on a CLOSE-UP (normally long shots).

    me thinks Steve's setup is just displaying it the way he saw it.

    fans will enjoy it.

    ps. the director is the same as Transporter 2. and Kiss of the dragon? Luc besson ties in the triangle.
     
  15. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    When the discs start showing up, will someone let us know the differences between the R-Rated and Unrated versions? Or did they just go with "Unrated" due to the extended / deleted scenes? Having not seen the movie theatrically, I can't tell.

    As for The Interpreter, which you keep bringing up, I've noticed more EE on a subsequent brief evaluation, and am about to adjust my video rating down.

    For those of you who don't have any idea what we are talking about with Edge Enhancement, check out Bjoern Roy's Ultimate Guide to Edge Enhancement.

    - Steve
     
  16. Mike Wadkins

    Mike Wadkins Supporting Actor

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    there are no real changes i can detect in the fight scenes there are lots of new plot scenes
     
  17. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    I have noticed Edge Enhancement appears differently on some displays. Some TVs, no matter how well calibrated, add it.

    It would explain some of the wildly differing opinions on some reviews. Not to mention some DVD players MPEG2 decoders are better than others. Some "edge enhancement" is nothing more than poorly decoded (or encoded) MPEG2 material.
     
  18. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    In the case of Unleashed, I saw EE on the ISF calibrated Mits 65-inch widescreen, a non-ISF, but nicely tweaked 50-inch Mits bigscreen, and even on a recently purchased LCD computer monitor. Panasonic, Sony, and Pioneer DVD players.

    Understand, this transfer is hardly defined by the EE on it. It still looks fine for what it is, and for what most people are going to expect.

    Cheers,
    Steve
     
  19. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    true...I did a direct comparison with the Jack Ryan discs on different setups - one had it, the other didn't.

    didn't realise players could also be the culprit.
    then again, on same setup, comparing movies would be fair.
     
  20. Elijah Sullivan

    Elijah Sullivan Supporting Actor

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    Does anyone know if any of these versions is the longer version released internationally under the (original) title Danny the Dog?

    And, just to clarify, is the unrated Unleashed an unrated version with the option to further extend it with non-anamorphic deleted scenes, or is it just the theatrical cut with some branching deleted scenes in crappy quality? If so, this sounds like a total bust. Why didn't they just use the European Danny the Dog transfer? It looked and sounded great and there were loads of features... I'm talking about the R2 release, which I think was 2-disc.

    Cheers.
     
  21. ClaytonMG

    ClaytonMG Stunt Coordinator

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    The unrated version is the unrated film with the option of branching to the crappy extended scenes. Did anyone else feel the sound effect for the truck hitting the car to be to restrained?

    Clayton
     
  22. RickyB

    RickyB Agent

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    I really, really liked this movie. [​IMG]
     
  23. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    Picking it up tomorrow, for Friday Nite at the movies[​IMG]
     
  24. Donnie Eldridge

    Donnie Eldridge Supporting Actor

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    The movie was pretty well balanced story and action wise. I would have liked just a bit more background on Danny's childhood and training. Other than that it was a pretty cool moive. [​IMG]
     
  25. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

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    Interestingly, the UK disc (due out on November the 21st) has an almost completely different set of bonus materials (as well as a slightly different cut of the film, from what I understand).

    Details of the UK version can be found on my website's News page.
     
  26. Bleddyn Williams

    Bleddyn Williams Supporting Actor

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    JulianK -

    Looking at the bonus material for the UK "Unleashed," it looks like the UK set is pretty much mirroring the HK R3 2-disc set, minus of course the DTS.

    I think the HK extras were derived from the French set to begin with...
     

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