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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Gangster > Black Rain – Special Collector’s Edition (HD-DVD)

Black Rain – Special Collector’s Edition (HD-DVD)


Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: B     Film: B



Another film we just previous covered in a new DVD-Video edition now hitting the HD formats is Ridley Scott's Black Rain, another thriller in the mode of Michael Cimino’s Year Of The Dragon (1986) pitting a U.S. justice figure against an Asian Gangster outfit, made only three years after.  You can find the review at the following link:





I liked the film and it was a huge breakthrough hit overseas for star Michael Douglas, even when it was not doing well in the U.S. and dismissed too quickly by too many within the industry.  Time has vindicated its fans and even those like this critic who thought it worked out just fine.  It is not the best film Douglas ever did, but it is one of the better ones for all involved.


Paramount is issuing the HD version in both the Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats and we are looking at the HD-DVD version.  The 1080p 2.35 x 1 digital High Definition image was shot in earlier Super 35mm shooting by then-cinematographer Jan De Bont before he became a director with mixed results.  I was not happy with the new DVD transfer as much as my fellow critic because of Video Black limits and some detail issues.  For an older Super 35 shoot, which imitates the scope frame with less negative film area, it is an improvement in detail, Black and depth enough to just earn its letter grade, though still barely.


The basic DVD soundtracks were Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX and 2.0 Surround sound, but this version adds a DTS 5.1 mix that is more like it.  The film was originally released in Dolby’s advanced analog SR (Spectral Recording) playback in 35mm prints and 4.1/6-track magnetic stereo for its 70mm blowups.  I did not like the Dolby mixes on the DVD or here, but the DTS has as good a balance of Hans Zimmer’s score, the sound effects and dialogue as we are going to get.  It has its moments since it is a Ridley Scott film, but it is not up there with the best mixes on his films like Alien, Blade Runner, Legend, Gladiator, Hannibal and Kingdom Of Heaven.


The extras are the same as the new DVD, though the trailer for the film here is in HD.  There are still no missing scenes, but this is as good as you can see the film without a fresh film print.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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