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U.S. MARSHALS

You have got to love Warner Home Video for their bold DVD pricing policies. U.S. MARSHALS retails for only $20.00, yet I’ve seen it in the discount clubs price as low as $14.00. At that price, you just can’t go wrong purchasing this great little DVD.

U.S. MARSHALS is the sequel to the big screen version of the television classic THE FUGITIVE. Since THE FUGITIVE resolved its story line, U.S. MARSHALS turns its focus onto Chief Deputy Marshal Sam Gerard- the fugitive hunting character that earned Tommy Lee Jones an Academy Award for the first film. Since U.S. MARSHALS is first and foremost an action movie, it is doubtful that it will win anyone here an Academy Award for their acting. Don’t get me wrong, I had a good time watching U.S. MARSHALS, even though the film isn’t quite as good as THE FUGITIVE. U.S. MARSHALS does have a high entertainment level which must be credited to Tommy Lee Jones for his solid performance and to director Stuart Baird who beautifully executed a number of standout action sequences.

In addition to Tommy Lee Jones, U.S. MARSHALS also stars Wesley Snipes as Mark Sheridan- the film’s requisite fugitive. Sheridan manages to escape from a prisoner transport plane after it crashes. Of course, Sam Gerard just happened to be on that very same flight, which gives him the opportunity to leap into action immediately after the crash. As Gerard investigates his new fugitive, he discovers the man isn’t what he seems. Gerard is able to uncover that Sheridan was involved in some dirty business that the government wants to keep under wraps. Wesley Snipes is a likable actor who fits easily into the role of the innocent man wrongfully accused. The cast of U.S. MARSHALS also features Robert Downey Jr., Kate Nelligan, Joe Pantoliano, Irčne Jacob, Daniel Roebuck, Tom Wood and LaTanya Richardson. The performances in U.S. MARSHALS are surprisingly good for an action movie and add just the right seasoning to the film.

Warner Home Video offers U.S. MARSHALS as a bargain priced Special Edition. One side of the DVD contains a wide screen transfer, while the other contains supplements. U.S. MARSHALS has been given a Letterboxed transfer which restores the film’s 1.85:1 theatrical framing and contains the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. The transfer simply looks terrific, with a crisp, detailed image and terrific color reproduction. Digital compression artifacts rarely made their presence known on this well encoded DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack boasts a suitable action movie mix. This track may not be the best one I’ve ever heard, but it certainly is no slouch. The track has it share of explosive sound effects and solid bass; the plane crash sequence kicks. Dialogue reproduction is also very clean and Jerry Goldsmith’s score sounds just fine in Dolby Digital. Other soundtrack options include a matrixed Dolby Surround compatible track, plus a French language track. Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

The interactive menus offer one access to an audio commentary with director Stuart Baird, which is worth a listen for those so inclined. Other supplements include Justice Under The Star, a documentary about the U.S. Marshal Service, plus an interactive tour of the film’s plane crash sequence.

For price and entertainment value, I just can’t fault U.S. MARSHALS. Owning this DVD is a lot cheaper than two people going to see it in a theater. This is the kind of breakthrough pricing that allows DVD to go head to head with VHS in the sell through arena. My compliments to Warner Home Video. Let’s hope that other home video companies follow their example.

 
U.S. MARSHALS 



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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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