Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Marine 2 Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 41.9 GB
Film Size: 28.4 GB
Film Rating: R
Region: A

Video
The Marine 2 comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film really exhibits a rough gritty look, something that comes with intention and 16mm film. Grain haters beware as grain is heavily present from beginning to end, much like The Wrestler and Burn Notice on Blu-ray.

The film looks good in high-definition despite a look that will turn off some viewers. Overall upgrade in clarity and detail from DVD is good and the transfer itself appears to be accurate to the look that was set out for.

The special effects in the film are brought out more on the high-def release, although not in a good way. The island explosions towards the end in particular are slightly cheesy, but considering the film’s lower budget it could have been much worse. Thank goodness they did not go with the effects team that handled Without A Paddle: Nature’s Calling or American Pie Presents: Book Of Love.

Now to the colors, colors are actually very strong. At times they feel a bit pushed but never to the point of looking oversaturated. The island settings definitely make for some very pleasing moments color-wise. Black levels are also quite solid, night scenes stay surprisingly deep and are usually quite inky.

There are shots which are very DTV, something you may notice from releases such as 24 or Prison Break on Blu-ray, in which they are slightly out of focus and definitely lack in overall quality. I do not blame the transfer in this case, I blame the way it was filmed. The quality of this presentation is not that of a new-release, it doesn’t have those budgets and probably not the greatest filming equipment.

For a DTV release, it easily compares to the look of 24 or Prison Break on Blu-ray, it can be quite impressive and is certainly an upgrade from DVD, just don’t expect to be dazzled at all times as quality does vary at times. Overall I feel Fox has provided a solid high-def encode and I don’t see the film looking any better. 7.5/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included and I have to say I was not expecting what was provided. I managed to get the DVD release to compare with the Blu-ray release and the upgrade is extremely significant. The sound team clearly put a lot of work into the mix and it shows. From the very beginning moments surround use is active and aggressive, it also exhibits a great sense of direction.

Dialogue is always crisp and clear like most new release films. The mix also features some environment effects so we get a better sense of the island locations. Explosions and gunshots are the most impressive moments though, definitely something that will give your home theater equipment a nice workout.

The DVD feels much more muted in comparison overall and it makes it much easier to appreciate the high-def release as it definitely kicks things up a notch. I thought the mix was well balanced and overall everything was much better than expected. 9/10.

Extras

Extended Scenes (9:21) (SD)
Four extended scenes are included.

Deleted Scenes (2:44) (SD)
Two deleted scenes are included.

Making The Cut (5:48) (HD)
A deleted shots montage.

Behind The Scenes Featurettes (25:43) (HD)
Village Virtuoso: The Final Fight
The Last Resort: Inside The Terrorist Siege
East Meets West: Muay Thai Fight
Production Paradise: Filming in Thailand
Building A Legacy: Ted’s Story
Play By The Roles: Inside The Production

Muay Thai Fight Outtakes (6:52) (HD)
Includes introduction from the Director Roel Reine.

Wow, there are quite a few extras included. My favorites being from the featurettes section, as a nice amount of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews are included. We get a good look at production and clearly the Director was heavily involved in bonus features. For a DTV release this is especially surprising and something I’m sure viewers will appreciate. 7.5/10.

Blu-news Summary
The Marine 2 is a film I had no idea was even being made until a Blu-ray press release showed up in my e-mail inbox. To be honest my expectations were so low for the film, despite the film’s summary sounding similar to Air Force One among other films, and yes I do like Air Force One if that matters in a good or bad way.

The Marine 2 stars WWE star Ted DiBiase, I don’t follow WWE so I had no idea who he was until now. I think he’s a decent actor but how far it will take him we’ll have to see. Overall I think he provides a good performance in the film, the lines aren’t always the best but I think he delivered them fine. I definitely don’t see him doing any non-action roles though.

The film is about a Marine sergeant named Joe Linwood who ends up going on a vacation with his wife Robin. Robin is an assistant to man who is opening a special resort and is throwing an opening party. The party does not go as planned when a terrorist group lands on the island via boats, bringing all forms of weapons and explosions.

Joe Linwood decides to take a walk after arguing with his wife’s boss and soon realizes there is trouble when explosions begin to happen. His wife among others are kidnapped and held hostage and it’s up to him and a few other people to stop the terrorists from killing those they love.

The quality of the story is pretty strong, much better than I expected and I compare it to TV movies such as 24: Redemption. It’s gripping and it will keep you awake for the entire runtime, I watched it quite late and I was surprised I lasted the entire movie.

The violence in the film is pretty strong, which is why the film features an R-rating. There are a few cheesy moments where the fight sequences are a bit weak, moments where a ‘punch’ looks more like a touch, but overall it’s good.

The movie is not going to become anybody’s favorite film, as there are much better movies similar to The Marine 2. I have never seen the first film, but you don’t have to as it has nothing to do with this sequel apart from the title and WWE talent involvement. I think the movie makes some great rental material, and it could be something some may consider purchasing after viewing.

The Marine 2 is something I plan to keep in my collection as I can see myself viewing the film in the future, it’s a nice little action film that is mindless but very very fun. Overall I think many viewers will find them surprised by this DTV production, it’s certainly much better than the majority that I have seen. 7/10.

The Blu-ray release is good, featuring an accurate video presentation and impressive audio mix. The extras are also quite impressive and there are plenty of features to satisfy fans. Overall this release is ‘Worth A Look’ to those intrigued but I suggest you ‘Rent It First’ before considering a purchase.

Additional Screenshots:

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