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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Mechanic [Blu-ray]

 

(Michael Winner, 1972)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: United Artists

Video: Euro Video / Twilight Time

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:40:05.220 / 1:39:52.027

Disc Size: 22,076,342,470 bytes / 31,613,603,957 bytes

Feature Size: 20,910,643,200 bytes / 30,305,101,824 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps / 35.00 Mbps

Chapters: 13 / 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 14th, 2011 / June, 2014

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS Audio English 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit
DUB: DTS Audio German 768 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1106 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1106 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit / DN -5dB)
Commentary: DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -5dB
Isolated Score: DTS-HD Master Audio English 1918 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1918 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB)

 

Subtitles:

None

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• 4 trailers in 576i

BD-Live

 

Audio Commentary with cinematographer Richard H. Kline and Film Historian Nick Redman

Isolated Score

Original Trailer (2:28)

Liner notes by Julie Kirgo

 

 

Bitrate:

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

Description: Charles Bronson delivers [in this] action-drenched (Variety) gangster thriller that delves into the dangerous minds of the underworld's most elite killers. Visually alive (Cue) and 'totally engrossing (The Hollywood Reporter), The Mechanic is a movie you won't want to miss! Arthur Bishop (Bronson) is a mob hit man who operates in a world of his own an uncompromising world where conventional rules of morality don't apply and where one wrong move could cost him his life! He's always worked alone but, as age catches up with him, Bishop takes on a competent and ruthless apprentice (Jan-Michael Vincent) and teaches him everything he knows. Together they become an unmatchable team of globetrotting killers until the pupil's ruthlessness puts him on a collision course with his teacher!

 

 

The Film:

Based on the story by Lewis John Carlino, Bronson plays Arthur Bishop, a hit-man in California who is the best in his career. "The Killer of Killers"! Bishop, even hitting old age, is still the best at what he does, but his work as a cold-hearted assassin start to hit him and after a hit on a good-friend Henry McKenna, he suffers a breakdown and realizes a back-up wouldn't be so bad. He then discovers a protégé in Steve McKenna (Henry's twenty-ish year old son) strangely interested in Bishop's work. Bishop finds Steve as the perfect candidate and he is taken under Bishop's wing learning everything he knows. The hiring soon becomes a mistake when "The Organization" realize Bishop has made the choice to hire McKenna on his own, which is violating the code. What will happen next?

Excerpt from Corey at MovieWeb located HERE

"The Mechanic," which opened yesterday at the Victoria and other theaters, is about Arthur Bishop (Charles Bronson), a cool professional killer who lives in lonely splendor in the Hollywood hills, with a pool in his living room and an ache in his heart. Although Arthur is a genius at planning the accidental deaths of others (including an old associate, on whom a contract has been let), and although he spends a lot of time keeping fit (jogging, handball, karate, flying a plane), something is awfully wrong in Arthur's life.

He suffers such fits of acute anxiety that he sometimes faints, and he can make it with his call-girl friend only when she creates elaborate fantasies about his sex appeal. Arthur even looks funny: he has the face and physique of a man of 50 who takes immense care of himself, but his hair is of a blackness and a consistency that suggest that Arthur—for the sake of vanity—dunks it in pitch.

Excerpt from The New York Times located HERE

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

This European Blu-ray of The Mechanic surpassed my expectations. The, almost 40-year old film, looks surprisingly good in some instances of this single-layered DVD.  It is reasonably clean, has decent detail and there is some pleasing depth. This isn't perfect though - colors seem a little faded and there is a shade of noise evident in the darker scenes. Flesh tones seem accurate and there is some less-clunky grain visible. This Blu-ray produces a consistent presentation without manipulation that I can determine. It's a darn-sight better than SD could relate and I expect that it is the best digital way to see the film presently available.

 

Not a lot between the two transfers. The Twilight Time is more robust - dual-layered and has a higher bitrate. It may be marginally crisper and show some pleasing depth not as prevalent on the German disc. The Twilight Time may show slightly warmer skin tones in a few scenes. Also 1.85:1 and very clean. I suspect it is the same source - very consistent. The US Blu-ray may win in regards to the video, but it is not overwhelming.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The DTS stereo is probably reasonably accurate in regards to the original presentation but it is still compressed and would have benefited to some degree by being lossless. Jerry Fielding's original score isn't particularly memorable but sounds consistent as it runs along beside the film. There are no subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked disc.

 

Twilight Time have a decent mono track - going lossless with a DTS-HD master in the original English. I noted superiority over the European transfer in terms of depth - especially the heavy action sequences later in the film. The US package offers optional English subtitles (see sample above) and is region FREE (limited to 3,000 copies!).

 

 

Extras :

The supplements consist of 4 SD trailers and it has a untested BD-Live link.

 

Twilight Time easily beat the Euro Video by adding an audio commentary with cinematographer Richard H. Kline and film historian Nick Redman, as well as their usual isolated score option, an original trailer and some liner notes by Julie Kirgo.

 

1) Euro Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - LEFT

2) Twilight Time - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I think The Mechanic is a better crafted film that many people give it credit. Bronson was a solid actor despite often being recognized for his iconic tough-guy roles. There is a decent chase scene in the film and some ever-building suspense. They remade this in 2011 with Jason Statham but - no offense - he is no Bronson. The Blu-ray leans to the modest end but still represents an entertaining presentation in the home theater. Fans should consider indulging! 

 

This is another Bronson fan-favorite. The Twilight Time wins out in every category and those keen shouldn't wait too long as this is a limited edition. Thumbs up!  

Gary Tooze

June 27th, 2011

June 20th, 2014


 

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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