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Steven Seagal has his legions of fans whom I'm certain are going to be mighty pleased that HARD TO KILL ($25) has been released on DVD. HARD TO KILL doesn't have any pretensions about being anything other than a tight little action movie, which meets the criteria for its intended audience. However, I have to say the implausibilities of the story line do take the suspension of disbelief to the limit. In HARD TO KILL, Seagal portrays Mason Storm, a police detective who gets some very incriminating evidence on a highly placed individual. With a high powered enemy, Storm becomes a target for assassins who wipe out his family and leave him near death. Storm is DOA at the hospital, however our hero proves that he really is hard to kill when another cop discovers that his corpse is still breathing.

Since Storm remains a target, the other cop lets the world think Storm him, placing the comatose detective in a long-term care facility as a John Doe. Seven years pass before Mason Storm finally regains consciousness. However, as soon as he awakens, Storm finds that he is still targeted for death. Enlisting the aid of nurse Andy Stewart (Kelly LeBrock), Storm is able to escape when the killers come back to finish the job they started. After making a miraculous recovery from seven of immobility, Storm goes after the men responsible for killing his family. The climax of HARD TO KILL is filled with all the martial arts fighting and gunplay that Seagal’s fans have come to expect from their favorite action hero. The cast of HARD TO KILL includes William Sadler, Frederick Coffin, Bonnie Burroughs, Andrew Bloch, Branscombe Richmond, Charles Boswell and Zachary Rosencrantz.

Warner Home Video offers HARD TO KILL in both wide screen and full screen versions on opposite sides of the DVD. There is nothing seriously wrong with the full screen presentation if you must watch a film this way, however maximum enjoyment can only be found in wide screen. The wide screen presentation is pretty close to the film’s 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio and includes the anamorphic enhancement. The transfer looks great, especially for a film not coming directly off theatrical release. Image wise, the transfer is crisp and detail is excellent. Color reproduction is also super; flesh tones appear natural and strong colors don’t display a trace of distortion. There were no problems with digital compression artifacts on this DVD.

HARD TO KILL has been upgraded to a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel mix for the DVD release. Directional effects were well deployed and the surrounds were a bit stronger than I expected for a film from 1990. Dialogue reproduction was also quite good, as was the bass. The DVD also contains a matrixed Dolby Surround compatible soundtrack, plus French Dolby Surround and Spanish monaural tracks. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus contain the standard scene and language selection features; they also grant access to eight theatrical trailers (for various Seagal movies), production notes and cast biographies/filmographies.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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