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A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze

Reservoir Dogs (15th Anniversary) [Blu-ray US version]

(Quentin Tarantino, 1992)



Studio: Lions Gate


Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:39:07.942

Disc Size: 23,365,718,616 bytes

Feature Size: 18,814,728,192 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.03 Mbps

Chapters: 33

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: February 6th, 2007



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: MPEG-2



DTS-HD Audio English 3039 kbps 6.1 / 48 kHz / 3039 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 6.1-ES / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital EX Audio English 640 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 640 kbps



English, English (SDH),Spanish, none

Pulp Factoids Viewer
Playing Fast and Loose (15:44)
Profiling the Resevoir Dogs (7:05)


Critically acclaimed for its raw power and breathtaking ferocity, it's the brilliant American gangster movie classic from writer-director Quentin Tarantino. They were perfect strangers, assembled to pull off the perfect crime. Then their simple robbery explodes into a bloody ambush, and the ruthless killers realize one of them is a police informer. But which one?

The Film:
A show-off piece of filmmaking that will put debut writer-director Quentin Tarantino on the map, "Reservoir Dogs" is an intense, bloody, in-your-face crime drama about a botched robbery and its aftermath, colorfully written in vulgar gangster vernacular and well played by a terrific cast, this piece of strong pulp will attract attention but looks like a modest b.o. performer.



Clearly influenced by Scorsese's "Mean Streets" and "Goodfellas" and Kubrick's "The Killing," Tarantino would love to be grouped in such company and employs many bravura effects in making his bid. Undeniably impressive pic grabs the viewer by the lapels and shakes hard, but it also is about nothing other than a bunch of macho guys and how big their guns are.

Strikingly shot and funny opening scene has eight criminals at breakfast arguing about the true meaning of Madonna's "Like a Virgin." This vulgar, unlikely discussion, coupled with subsequent shots of them emerging from the restaurant like the Wild Bunch, instantly demonstrates that a smart filmmaker is at work here. Telling a story much like "The Killing" or "Odds Against Tomorrow," script fractures very cleverly into an intricate flashback structure that mixes the post-robbery mess with telling character and plot details from the planning stages.

Excerpt from Variety located HERE.

The Video:    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The codec used here is MPEG-2 (The same one for SD DVDs) but it has a higher bitrate, something around 23Mbps. So since this is not AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10 / H.264), the standard codec used for High Def DVDs, limitations should be expected. To begin the image has an unnatural digital look with a certain blurriness/lack of detail and a more harsh transition between color tones. Moderate noise is also present, and a reddish shade is predominant in some dark areas. I didn't have a DVD available too compare, but looking at the grabs available HERE this reddish cast also seems to be present in all DVDs (some more than others) but more lightly here, maybe because the colors in this Blu-Ray are more evident these shades get more detached. You can see this shade I am talking about in the grabs bellow, mostly in the faces. They are not that ugly, and as soon as you become used to them, it is fine.



There are some MPEG-2 Blu-Ray release which the transfer look smooth and you can hardly distinguish from other AVC releases, but they all have higher bitrates. "Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence" is a good example, it is a Dual-Layered MPEG-2 Blu-Ray with a bitrate around 38Mbps, presenting an excellent image quality. But this one is single-layered with a limited bitrate and similar in quality to another single-layered release, REDS.



Now, the image here is not that bad, it is just not scaling the heights of High Def... but it definitely looks better than any of the current SD DVDs available. This review is limited by a lack of a direct good quality source of comparison (theatrical). I actually can't tell for sure what it is supposed to look like, something that could be easily determined by watching a theatrical presentation. The great improvement here compared to SD DVDs is the obvious one; resolution. Colors and contrast are superior as well, but in the end I believe there is room for improvement.

Luiz R.



Screen Captures







The DTS-HD option is outstanding for a standard DVD, but just acceptable for a Blu-Ray. Background details are modest and you don't get the feeling of the close, small, and echo-prone environment where most of the talk happen. The Dolby Digital mix is worse, the DTS-HD is a bit more open and crispy. Probably this is the best sound mix available, but it stays behind the good uncompressed mix that are a standard for Blu-Rays.


The great thing about the extras is the 16:9 high-def presentation but in content they are rather basic. I don't know if the documentary is a new and exclusive content, but I would say it is the only valuable supplement, bringing some comments about improvisation process and the movie concept. No subtitles available for any of the supplements.


BOTTOM LINE: If you don't have or didn't watch this is a nice buy, if you are a fan of Tarantino this is recommended. This is the only high definition release and the overall best available and I don't see another US one coming out in the next couple of years, possibly the differences in quality don't worth the wait anyway, life is short. Since this is also one of the few Blu-Ray options generally not considered a mainstream movie, it is refreshing and worth even more for its alternative style.

Luiz R.




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About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze