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Blu-ray Review Terminal Velocity Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Todd Erwin, May 31, 2012.

  1. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    The long-forgotten action film Terminal Velocity arrives on Blu-ray from Mill Creek, quite possibly to cash in on star Charlie Sheen’s new F/X series, Anger Management. The film boasts some exciting action sequences, and the audio and video presentation are a welcome surprise for a budget title.



    Terminal Velocity


    Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment (licensed by Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment)
    US BD Release Date: May 15, 2012
    Original Theatrical Release Year: 1994
    Rated: PG-13 (for scenes of strong action/violence, and for brief strong language)
    Running Time: 101 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English), DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo (Spanish, French)
    Subtitles: English (SDH)

    Movie: 3.5 out of 5
    I used to like Charlie Sheen as an actor before he became a caricature of himself, leading to his dismissal from his role on the hit sitcom Two And A Half Men. His witty delivery and seething sarcasm were a good fit in films like Major League, Hot Shots, Wall Street, and Platoon. And they are a good fit for the box office disappointment ($16.4 million U.S. gross on a $50 million estimated budget), Terminal Velocity. Sheen plays Ditch Brodie, a former Olympic gymnast and rebellious sky diving instructor who takes an overly anxious and enthusiastic student, Chris Morrow (Nastassja Kinski), on a routine, rookie dive that ends tragically when Chris jumps out of the plane when Ditch isn’t looking and plummets to her death when her parachute fails to deploy. Or did she? As Ditch investigates to clear his name of manslaughter and the flight school from being closed permanently by the FAA, he finds that Chris is not who she appeared to be. He finds photos of her in her apartment in full sky diving gear, but also finds a hit man (an over the top Christopher McDonald) ransacking the apartment, which ultimately leads Ditch to the very much alive Chris hiding out in the Arizona desert from the Russian mafia.

    Terminal Velocity works best when putting one’s brain on hold, ignoring any jumps in logic taken by the serviceable plot, and just sitting back to enjoy many of the thrilling, adrenaline-inducing action set pieces offered up by screenwriter David Twohy (The Fugitive, Waterworld, Pitch Black, The Arrival) and director Deran Sarafian (episodes of CSI, House M.D., and CSI: NY), notably, the two main sky diving sequences that bookend the film. Sheen and Kinski have enough chemistry to carry the film, and James Gandolfini is amusing in a role that very obviously prepared him for The Sopranos.

     



    While not one of the best action films from the 1990s, it does have enough originality, chemistry, and action set pieces to elevate it above the mediocrity of films from the same era (Speed 2, F/X2, Judge Dredd).

    Video: 3.5 out of 5
    Expectations on budget titles from studios like Mill Creek and Echo Bridge are usually fairly low. The 1080p/24 transfer using the AVC codec, retaining the film’s intended aspect ratio of 2.35:1, is a pleasant surprise. Colors are consistent throughout, and overall detail is quite good (although the image does occasionally become soft). Black levels are decent, with minor crush and banding at times if you really look for it, but never overly distracting.

    Audio: 4 out of 5
    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, while not exactly reference quality, is a thrill ride in and of itself. Fidelity and dynamic range are excellent. Surrounds and LFE are put to good use during the action sequences, with good rumbling during explosions and bullets flying from all directions during gunplay, as well as atmospheric effects during the sky diving sequences. Dialogue is clear and understandable.

    Special Features: 1 out of 5
    Mill Creek Entertainment has managed to include the film’s theatrical trailer in a full-screen 480i transfer.

    Overall: 3.5 out of 5
    Audiences may have dismissed Terminal Velocity during its initial theatrical release in September 1994, and long thereafter on home video, and that’s a shame. While not a great film, it’s not a dud, either, and gets a much more respectable release here on Blu-ray by Mill Creek than it did on any other format by Disney.

     
  2. Adam Gregorich

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    Thanks Todd. I never thought I would see this on Blu-ray. I have just picked it up to replace my laser disc. It was a total check out fun ride, especially for under $7 at Amazon. I'm also glad to see Mill Creek step up the quality of their releases. This bodes well for more catalog finding its way to my shelves.
     
  3. Brian McP

    Brian McP Supporting Actor

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    Always wanted to see this movie, but always found Charlie Sheen and Nastassja Kinski a very odd romantic couple for an action movie and I suspect audiences in 1994 would have thought the same (and the current distributors still do as there is no mention of her on the bluray's front cover)
    Still, as you suggest, putting your brain on hold would be the best way around such matters and to simply let the mayhem flow over you, the best approach.
     
  4. Earthtime3978

    Earthtime3978 Auditioning

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    Yes, the film is "long forgotten" but as you elude to it has above average appeal. I'm in the camp that believes the film is pure excellence. Sheen and Kinski are taylor made for each other based on the type of exchanges needed in the film. I haven't seen the blu ray yet and based on your review, it looks like a good candidate for purchase. The audio which even sounds sharp on the laserdisc must really pop on the blu ray. This is a 90s film that holds up under repeated viewings. Thanks for the insite on this gem.
     

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