Assassins (Blu-ray) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray ALL - United Kingdom - Warner Home Video
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (1st April 2014).
The Film

Please note, at time of writing, this disc is only available as part of the "Stallone Collection" box set.

***This is a technical review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

Robert Rath is the best hitman around, but the code and sense of duty that once were part of his deadly career are lost in a post-Cold War world of freelance guns. He wants out. Not so Miguel Bain, a driven killer who knows how to claim the top spot of his shadowy profession: eliminate Rath.

The action hit hard and fast when Sylvester Stallion as Rath and Antonio Banderas as Bain square off as Assassins. Julianne Moore plays the wily hacker swept into the duo's fierce running battle. Director Richard Donner infuses this tail with exciting action riffs plunging you into a world where what counts is not making the first move, but surviving the last.

Video

Warner Home Video have released the Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas vehicle "Assassins" onto Blu-ray as part of the "Stallone Collection" box set only (at least, at time of writing). The transfer is 1080p, uses an AVC MPEG-4 encode, and is at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (original aspect ratio is 1.85:1). It's a reasonably impressive transfer, and what catalogue titles should aim for.

What's most surprising about the transfer, is just how good the details are. The feature uses a lot of darkly lit locations, yet detail still shows the benefits of high definition extremely well. Facial close-ups look excellent, with every skin blemish and bit of stubble showing pin point clarity, whilst the environments also impress with the rain drops on taxi cabs, and water being splashed up from the road looking surprisingly good. Shadow details are strong too, mainly thanks to the solid black levels throughout which never crush, and never feel overly soft. Unlike many catalogue titles, "Assassins" doesn't suffer from digital noise reduction, with light natural grain running the duration of the feature, and skin and backgrounds never feeling waxy or like a watercolour painting. There are no signs of edge enhancement, no aliasing, no compression problems, and no scratches or other such blemishes. Some of the outdoor scenes do look a little softer with light colours, but nothing to cause too much concern.

The disc is region free, and the feature runs 132:44.

Audio

The following audio options have been included:
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- French Dolby Digital 5.1
- German Dolby Digital 5.1
- Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono
- Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Dual Mono

For obvious reasons, I opted to view the film using the lossless English DTS-HD Master Audio track, and it was more than adequate. Those expecting some sort of big gung-ho action-fest with gunshots ringing round the sound field will be disappointed, as guns are used with silencers, so the impact noises aren't as booming. That's not to say directionality suffers though, because channel separation is very good throughout. The score utilises the surrounds and LFE well, and effects are subtle and well placed (traffic noise etc). When required, there is a boost in activity, but the track also knows when to remain subdued and build tension. Volume levels are consistent and I noticed no signs of drop outs, scratches or background hiss.

Subtitles are available in Danish, Dutch, English HoH, Finnish, French, German HoH, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.

Extras

The sole extra is a theatrical trailer. It's in standard definition and runs 2:42.

Overall


The Film: C+ Video: A- Audio: B Extras: E Overall: C+

 


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