Reviews of Region 2 discs from Ultimate DVD #03

Die HardSpeedRomeo & Juliet

A small fraction of Ultimate DVD's huge Region 2 Reviews - now with a new issue every month!

www.BlackStar.co.uk - The UK's Biggest Video Store
Search blackstar.co.uk for DVDs & videos, or use links below to buy the discs reviewed

DIE HARD Rated: 18
Bruce Willis and a skyscraper full of terrorists. With no flaws.

The Movie

One of the first movies to receive a widescreen VHS release, Die Hard finally gets the DVD treatment. Yay!

Simply the most exciting and deftly plotted action movie ever made. There’s never been a more likeable, vulnerable hero than Willis’ John McClane, a more weasley villain than Rickman’s Hans Gruber, or a more accomplished mix of suspense, humour and mass destruction.

Superbly directed by John McTiernan and photographed by Jan De Bont (the same one), I’ve seen this film at least a dozen times and it still seems as fresh and exhilarating 5 stars - Digital Dynamiteas the first time.

The Extras

The six-minute featurette has the usual collection of star sound-bites, plus some fun footage of Willis having a nightmare with a chair and supposedly breakable glass. It also reveals that staff were actually working on the lower floors of the skyscraper during shooting and the crew had to apologize for the machine gun fire.

Great trailer too! The cast biography/filmography could have chosen better examples – ‘…a myriad of films that run the range from comedic (Hudson Hawk) to dramatic (The Jackal)’ – but does include all TV appearances as well. No mention of 2 stars - DisappointingThe Sixth Sense, though!

Jason Caro

Also in this issue: Die Hard 2 reviewed - plus a Bruce Willis interview and DVD biography

Credits
Die Hard - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Bruce Willis
Alan Rickman
Alexander Gudonov
Bonnie Bedelia
Director • John McTiernan
Duration • 127 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby 5.1
Chapters • 30
Languages • English, Spanish
Subtitles • Norwegian, Finnish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Danish, Hungarian, Icelandic, Spanish, English for hearing impaired
Release Date • January 10
Distributor • 20th Century Fox
Buy this at Black Star

Highlight

Chapter 22 – Bill Clay McClane has a smoke with his nemesis, regrets his lack of footwear and hears a tragic revelation from his new cop buddy.

SPEED Rated: 15
Top gear

The Movie

A massive box office sensation on its 1994 release, Speed earns its five stars by delivering precisely what is says on the box. With barely time to draw breath between the set pieces, Jan De Bont throws us into a plummeting lift, a bus that will explode if it travels below 50 miles an hour and an out of control train. It’s all the work of terrorist Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper, so two-dimensional you’d think he was CGI), who likes a quick round of Pop Quiz between the bangs, but is one stick of dynamite short of a full arsenal.

The movie that blasted Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock onto the A-list, Speed deftly capitalizes on their greatest assets. As Jack Traven, he runs, fights and does daring leaps. As the much put-upon Annie, Bullock is sweet, cheery and the sort of girl you’d like to share a cappuccino with. Both are there just to look pumped or pretty and react to the conflagrations around them, which they do with flair.

Revitalized on DVD, Jan De Bont’s top gear thrill ride regains much of the power lost on VHS and cable viewings. Once again, the rush has 5 stars - Digital Dynamitereturned to the rush hour.

The Extras

The 1.33:1 trailer expertly manages to feature the wildest bits of the movie, without blowing the plot. No features or commentaries, but one suspects that most viewers will just be savouring the Odeon-style picture 1 star - Slapped on discand floor-vibrating 5.1 sound

David Richardson

Also in this issue: Speed 2: Cruise Control reviewed - plus a Sandra Bullock DVD biography

Credits
Speed - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Keanu Reeves
Sandra Bullock
Dennis Hopper
Director • Jan De Bont
Duration • 111 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby 5.1
Chapters • 24
Languages • English
Subtitles • Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Portuguese, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic, English for hearing impaired
Release Date • January 10
Distributor • 20th Century Fox
Buy this at Black Star

Highlight

Chapter 15 – Leap of Faith
Stuck on the deathtrap bus, Traven and co must contend with a 50-foot gap in the freeway…

 
 

ROMEO AND JULIET Rated: 12
A plague on both your houses!

The Movie

You know the score: two families, the Montagues and the Capulets, at war. Two young kids from either side of the fence, Romeo (Leonard DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes), fall in love. It’ll end in tears…

Opting for a contemporary urban setting and a style that suggests Shakespeare meets Trainspotting, Baz Luhrmann creates a celluloid art-form that oozes class in every frame.

Retaining the spirit and dialogue of the original, Romeo and Juliet is an assault on the senses, which boasts terrific performances (particularly from the young leads), lavish production design, magnificent photography, a mesmerizing soundtrack and more fireworks than you’ll see this side of Disneyland.

Classic scenes are augmented with modern technology (closed circuit TV features in the infamous balcony speech), while sex, drugs and transvestites all play their part. Shakespeare would never have approved. 4 starsThat’s irony, by the way.

The Extras

Animated pyrotechnics and… erm… bubbles feature in the animated menu, which offers up just chapter selection, languages 1 star - Slapped on discand the trailer (1.85:1).

David Richardson

Credits
Romeo and Juliet

Cast • Leonardo DiCaprio
Claire Danes
Brian Dennehy
John Leguizamo
Director • Baz Luhrmann
Duration • 115 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby 5.1
Chapters • 29
Languages • English
Subtitles • Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic, English for hearing impaired
Release Date • February 7
Distributor • 20th-Century Fox
Buy this at Black Star

Highlight

Chapter 8 – The Party Parties
Romeo and Juliet meet by the aquarium, accompanied by Des’ree’s haunting song I’m Kissing You.

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction

UltimateDVD footer