HTF UMD REVIEW: The Rundown (Highly Recommended!)

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by David Galindo, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. David Galindo

    David Galindo Screenwriter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Likes Received:
    [c]The Rundown (UMD)
    Region 1 • PG-13 • Dolby Digital • Available Now


    This is Universal’s first foray into the UMD format, and man oh man did they ever deliver. This is one of the best UMDs available, hands down.

    Thoughts on the Movie

    The Rundown is a prime example of why I dislike movies such as xXx. This movie has a sense of adventure, a free spirit that really helps the movie to become superior to other action films. It’s almost like asking… hey, what would happen if the Rock and Seann William Scott were trapped in a jungle? Well, let’s toss their car off a cliff and find out!

    The Rock is a man known as Beck, who hunts down people for his boss. His last assignment: track down Travis (Scott) in the Amazon and bring him back. Do that, and the Rock gets enough money to fulfill his dream of being a restaurant chef owner. Ah, but the evil Hatcher (Christopher Walken, who is one of my favorite actors ever) stands in his path, and so on. This movie has plenty of action, but the best bits are the hand to hand situations Beck and Travis find themselves in. And Walken nearly steals the show, but he does that in nearly every movie by just showing up.

    This is just a plain fun movie. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you pick this one up. Peter Berg directed this movie like he wanted to top any other action movie in his path. It’s not merely enough that the Rock gets a shotgun and starts tearing it up, but he duel-wields shotguns instead. Wait till you see how he reloads them both at the same time. Same goes for the duel-wielding whip guys, and the three hundred plus bulls that show up as the literal Calvary. This movie just has a really awesome vibe to it, and I loved every bit of it.

    Video Quality

    Let’s hear it for Universal and Buena Vista, because they are the only ones who understand what it means to keep the aspect ratio, apparently. That’s right: the Rundown is in its original 2.35 ratio, and it looks fantastic. The black levels are good, it’s very sharp and clear, and the colors, while not quite as vibrant as King Arthur or Black Hawk Down, are still great. Quite a promising start for Universal UMDs!


    Audio Quality

    Wow, this movie is loud… really loud, full, and intense. What a fantastic sounding movie. While some audio bits are completely muted from the DVD, such as the really deep thump tune in the club at the beginning, it’s still one of the best sounding UMDs so far. There are some real nice fake surrounds, such as the whip fight, and it will give your headphones/external speakers quite a workout. If you must watch it with the PSP speakers, it’s definitely loud enough for a good listen.



    This is where I was really surprised. First, the semi bad news: there are forced trailers in the beginning. But all you have to do is press the square button (or select Menu from the onboard PSP control menu) to skip them, so it’s not a big deal at all.

    If you’ve seen the Rundown DVD menu, you’ll likely remember how kinda bland they were. It was a picture of the Rock with flames behind him, but it was a still image only. The whole menu system on the DVD was completely devoid of movement.

    Well, they took those menus and really stepped it up for the UMD. The flames in the menus are animated now, and even the Rock’s face glows with the fire behind him. Selecting different choices on the menu moves each submenu in and out of the screen, while the music and flames play continuously. We get a chapter selection, and while the chapter previews are not animated, the menu more than makes up for it. Bottom line: the presentation absolutely rocks.

    Ah, what’s this? We get three bonus features, adding over thirty minutes of bonus stuff! First up are some Deleted Scenes (14:02) that are pretty amusing, and worth checking out at least once. Next up is Rumble in the Jungle (10:38) which takes us behind the scenes of the movie. It’s a great feature, but oddly the music track that runs through the feature on DVD is missing on the UMD. Not a big deal, but odd nonetheless. Finally, Appetite for Destruction (8:21) shows us how they blew up stuff, knocked down a tower, and managing the cattle. The DVD had quite a bit of bonus stuff, but most of it was pretty bland… I’m happy to say they have brought over three of the best features on the DVD to this UMD. Woo!

    So, we get the best bonus stuff from the DVD, better menus and presentation than the DVD, and a nice chapter selection. Who would have thought?



    I’ve saved the best news for last. This great looking, great sounding, awesome everything UMD retails for $15-20, and I picked it up at Sam’s Club for $12. Yes, that’s right. $12.

    To say I’m floored is an understatement. While UMD pricing has been sporadic lately (Want bonus features? Buy Buena Vista UMDs for $25. Cheap price with no extras? Get Sony UMDs for $15, etc) Universal enters the UMD scene with value priced movies with great features. While some questioned my extremely low rating of Fox UMDs, with their expensive prices ($25) with no chapter select, crap video and audio, and zero extras, they know why I did that now. It actually IS possible to have it all for a low price.

    And this isn’t just with the Rundown UMD, but with Universal’s other releases this week as well (Van Helsing, Riddick (review later this week), Fast and the Furious and Assault on Precinct 13). Universal is now the leading studio of excellent UMDs.

  2. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

    Apr 8, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    David Scarpa
    Here's My take on the Fast and Furious

    The Fast and the Furious

    107 min/PG13 (Sexual Content and Language) 16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen 2:35:1

    Universal Hits the PSP Ground Running With Six Titles including the Chronicles of
    Riddic, Dawn of the Dead UR, The RunDown, Assault on Precinct 13, and Van Helsing
    all released on the same Day. The Good News is that Original Aspect is Preserved
    on all Six Titles.

    The Movie:

    Well you'd Just about have to be living under a rock not to have seen this Action
    Blockbuster starring Vin Diesal and Paul Walker. I Won't Spoil the Details for those
    PSP'ers who Have'nt. Diesal Stars and Paul Walker Channels the Spirit and Acting Range
    of Keanu Reeves in this story of the High Speed World of Illegal Street Car Racing.
    This movie Propelled Diesal into action Superstar status and allowed Walker to at least
    act in the Sequel and Timeline, giving him some much needed Bread for his table. One
    thing Fast and Furious isn't is Boring and Diesal does exude much Charm as Dominic Torretto
    the Leader of the Pack of illegal Racers.

    The UMD

    What Can I say Universal Has Impressed with the Video and Audio Quality of this Disk.
    It opens Unfortunately with Forced Trailers of the other PSP releases and then Moves on
    to a Nice and Simple Menu allowing you to Play the Film, Change Languages or Choose Extra
    Features. The Video is Presented in it's original Aspect Ratio. It's a Very Clean Print
    featuring Colors that leap off the Screen. One thing you should be concerned with in a
    movie that features High Speed Racing is Artifacting. Here there are no signs of Compression
    Problems and even scenes that move at ridiculous Speeds are absolutely free and Clear of
    any Artifacting. I can't even Imagine watching this movie Running off my Memory Stick with
    the Inherit Ghosting Problems of Memory Stick Video.

    The Sound is equally amazing and would say this is the Best sounding UMD in my Collection.
    The Movies music is a blend of Techno and Rap and quite Frankly it Cranks. My Pair of
    Pelican Headbanger Earsubs were given a workout and I had to turn it down a few Notches
    at times. Despite that the Dialog is Clear and perfect. This UND Rocks Soundwise.

    The Extras

    Universal is at least providing some extras Beyond Trailers on thier Disks. The Fast and the
    Furious ports over some of the extras found on the DVD including Deleted Scenes, a Featurette
    on Tricking out an Import car, a Visual Effect Sequence Breakdown, and the "Click Click Boom"
    Music Video.


    Universal has shown with the Fast and the Furious that it intends to treat the PSP much as it does
    with DVD with Good Transfers and Audio, Generous Extras, and a Pretty Good Price Point $19.98
    meaning you can find this disk for between for Between $12 and $15 bucks. Looking at the releases
    from Yesterday I amazingly have ordered all of them and if Fast and Furious is any indicator, I
    look forward to viewing them all.

Share This Page