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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Hostage [Blu-ray]


(Florent Emilio Siri, 2005)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Miramax Films

Video: Miramax Lionsgate



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

Runtime: 1:53:17.624

Disc Size: 24,672,931,333 bytes

Feature Size: 21,698,887,680 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 23rd, 2011



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3814 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3814 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround



English (SDH), English, Spanish, none



• Audio Commentary by Director Florent Emilio Siri
• Taking Hostage Behind the Scenes (12:40)
• 6 Deleted Scenes with optional Commentary (4:55)
• 2 Extended Scenes with optional Commentary (2:03)





Description: Action extraordinaire Bruce Willis (Die Hard, Pulp Fiction, The Sixth Sense) stars as Jeff Talley, a big city hostage negotiator who voluntarily trades trauma for house calls when he becomes Chief of Police in a sleepy town. But when a random crime escalates into a deadly standoff, Talley finds himself thrust into a situation far more volatile and terrifying than anything he could ever imagine! Also starring Kevin Pollack (The Usual Suspects, The Whole Nine Yards), Jonathan Tucker (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma, The Mechanic), this explosive hit packs the punch in more ways that one.



The Film:

In the original Die Hard, erstwhile TV star Bruce Willis made the transition to big-screen action hero by convincingly portraying an average man who races against time to overcome almost insurmountable obstacles by virtue of his courage, determination, and resourcefulness. Audiences love him in that kind of role, which is why Hostage works so well. Bruce plays Jeff Talley, a former Los Angles Police Department hostage negotiator turned small-town police sheriff. He's called upon to find and apprehend three teens who, following their robbery of a convenience store, have taken refuge in a private home that's a veritable fortress. These kids don't realize what they've stumbled into: The owner (Kevin Pollak) is connected to New York mobsters who are out to recover the large sum of money he's stolen from them. Adapted from a complex novel by Robert Crais, Hostage is no less intricate than its source, and newly minted director Florent Emilio Siri -- previously the designer of edgy video games -- rates kudos for juggling several subplots while maintaining nail-biting suspense throughout.

Excerpt from Ed Hulse at Barnes and Noble located HERE

The template for all home-invasion movies remains 1955's The Desperate Hours, in which an upper-middle-class family defends its suburban home from a band of three crooks, who hole up in a tense standoff with the local police. Though gussied up by multiple, non-related abductions, Hostage basically recycles the same premise and all the reliable tension that goes along with it, except that modern conventions apparently dictate that the Red Cross deplete its plasma reserves. With Bruce Willis on board, the film works hard to duplicate the streamlined excitement of Die Hard, yet director Florent Siri thinks he's making Straw Dogs, and the appalling gratuitousness spoils an otherwise skillful (though madly implausible) thrill machine.

Excerpt from Scott Tobias at The Onion located HERE

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

The image quality on Hostage varies from being rather bland to having some striking detail and depth. It can look thick - bordering saturation - and I'd have to say for a single-layered transfer it looks surprisingly strong. Flatness is overcome on the Blu-ray from Lionsgate/MiraMax. It is not at the top-tier for the format but supports the bombastic moments of the film with gusto. Overall, I think it looks okay with some occasionally impressive moments that seem to surface at just the right time. The film has decent cinematography - there was obvious effort but into production and it might have benefitted visually from dual-layering. As it stands I doubt anyone will make a fuss as it is pristinely clean and the 1080P provides a presentation worthy of the film.
















Audio :

The DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a healthy 3814 kbps is a powerhouse exporting the many aggressive effects and spreading them around room. Bass can be booming and there is ample range. Audio can be drowned out a few times but for those into the soundstage attribute - this should perk your ears up. There are optional English or Spanish subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked although is also available in region 'B'.


Extras :

This offers all the same supplements as the 2005 DVD with the modest commentary from director Florent Siri where there are some star tidbits and a bit of production. Included are the standard Behind-The-Scenes featurette entitled 'Taking Hostage' with a few interviews soundbytes and on-set clips. Tack on 6 deleted scenes and 2 extended scenes (totaling less than 7-minutes) - both offering optional commentary from Siri. There isn't much to talk about regarding the film so the extras have the air of being unnecessary 'filler'.



Hostage isn't so bad. As an action/thriller this holds up well even if it doesn't have the heart or guts of Die Hard - which is probably an unfair comparison anyway. Bruce Willis is the lynch-pin of the films survival and it is not an unpleasant presentation - especially if you are in the mood for such a dynamic attack on your retinas and ear drums. It's not a great success film-wise but holds together and the Blu-ray offers decent enough value for $10. From that standpoint I wouldn't reject it. 

Gary Tooze

August 16th, 2011



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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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