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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Sony Action Series Wave: Half Past Dead/Maximum Risk/XXX State Of The Union/7 Seconds (Blu-rays)

Sony Action Series Wave: Half Past Dead/Maximum Risk/XXX State of the Union/7 Seconds (Blu-rays)

 

Picture: Sound: Extras: Films:

 

Half Past Dead (2002) B/B/C/C-

Maximum Risk (1996) B/B/D/C-

XXX - State of the Union (aka XXX2/2005) B+/B+/B/C

7 Seconds (2005) B/B/D/C-

 

 

Sony is unloading its catalog with a series of action films that never really did well, and they are hoping that their arrival to Blu-ray will turn some heads. Although this roundup does make sense in certain ways as we get a Seagal film, a Van Damme film, and a Snipes film, plus Ice Cube, so some quick math will determine that by taking four failed films together you barely get one decent film. However, those who are action junkies and thrive on over-the-top action films, these four discs should wet your appetite, but the bigger question is, how do they fare on Blu?

 

Half Past Dead is one of Seagals worst films to date and that in and of itself is a huge accomplishment as he has done some awful films. Perhaps the films biggest drawback is its PG-13 rating, which never seems to work as the language and action is taken back to a juvenile pace. The 1080p High Definition 1.85 X 1 image looks good though, there are some moments of grain, but very minimal and the overall definition is quite good, even black levels are super detailed. The Dolby TrueHD audio is unimaginative, but its as exaggerated as the film, so go figure. Extras include a commentary track, deleted scenes, the making-of, and the theatrical trailer, which will appeal to fans of the film. The funniest scene though in the film has to be early on when Seagal is driving this car really fast with Ja Rule in the passenger seat and then slams on the brakes and sends him about 50 feet in the air, he hits another cars windshield, then gets up as if nothing happened and says, Im gonna kick your ass. Classic!

 

Maximum Risk is another tired Van Damme film that also never really worked; released in 1996 it fell silently among many other better action films. The film is never convincing as Van Damme is taking the place of his twin brother and assumes his identity, which includes his problems as well as his girlfriend (Natasha Henstridge). The 1080p High Definition 2.40 X 1 image looks fairly good overall with good color and detail, but with some marginal amounts of grain present. There are also a few moments of softness as well, but the majority of the problems exist due to the poor production aspects. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is substantial and works well, despite a rather unoriginal sound design. Extras are like the high quality acting non-existent.

 

XXX State of the Union is the major letdown to the first film, which I actually enjoyed, despite its flaws as well. This time changing out the leads, watering down the script, and trying to let lighting strike twice were only the beginning of the problems. While XXX was one of the better Sony titles released on the Superbit lineup in the world of DVD several years ago, it was also issued to Blu-ray, but without a DTS audio track, instead a PCM 5.1 mix, the sequel here gets an upgrade though with a Dolby TrueHD mix, hopefully they will re-issue XXX like that as well down the line. The audio here is quite good as well and demonstrates some of the finer qualities of the film, while the 1080p high definition transfer at 2.40 X 1 also looks good and is perhaps the better of the four transfers. Extras are plentiful here as well with a commentary track, a visual effects commentary track, a few featurettes, a documentary, and deleted scenes, which make for a well-rounded release, even despite the films shortcomings.

 

7 Seconds was Wesley Snipes failed straight-to-video project from 2005 that few people heard of, even fewer saw, and now on Blu-ray maybe will find an audience, maybe. Its a shame too because we know what Snipes is like when he is doing solid projects, unfortunately from time-to-time he wakes up and thinks he needs to do films that Seagal and Van Damme passed on and dampens his credibility as an action star. This is one of them. The 1080p High Definition transfer is decent with a 1.85 X 1 framing that gets the job done, but nothing overall exceptional in the production to really warrant a stunning transfer. Same goes for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix, which is loud and explosive, but just as unimaginative as the other three titles overall. No extras, boo hoo.

 

 

- Nate Goss


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