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Originally released at the cinema in the U K in March 2002 the sequel to the highly popular Blade movie finally comes to Blu-ray in the U K and just like its predecessor Blade 2 in HD has been worth the wait the DVD released in 2002 had DTS ES 6 1 surround sound as well as Dolby Digital EX 5 1 surround sound and Dolby 2 0 stereo sound this latest incarnation has DTS-HD master audio 7 1 there is also the same audio in 5 1 and is in full 1080p resolution which makes the colours and blacks really pop the soundtrack has a greater amount of detail the dialogue is easier to hear and the sequences involving small arms fire such as machine guns now jump out of the speakers and any scene that has an explosion in it shakes the room with lots of low end
There is a rare mistake on the back of the artwork the copy I have says the film is presented in 2 35 aspect ratio this is incorrect the presentation of this film is in the original 1 85 aspect ratio that the director filmed in and the running time is still 117 minutes just like the theatrical and DVD release there are subtitles for the hard of hearing in English and thats all the subs there are a little short-signed I would have said
Comparing the special the earlier 2002 release which was a double disc set this 50gb disc has the same special features and a couple of new ones which includes audio commentary from the director Guillermo del Torro where he unravels the multi-layered world he created for the Blade Universe and commentary from Wesley Snipes and writer David S Goyer
The features that where on the DVD set also appear such as The Blood Pact and deleted scenes with audio from the director and a music video from Cypress Hill
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This 1998 production directed by Steve Norrington is finally released on Blu-ray in the U.K.; this 50 GB disc is encoded using MPEG-4 codec and is in full 1080p resolution with English DTS master audio 6.1, there is also Dolby 5.1 Russian, German, Italian and Spanish soundtracks along with Dolby Stereo Spanish, Portuguese, Czech and there are 13 sets of subtitles including English, German, Italian, Castilian Spanish, Dutch, Latin Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Russian and Italian included in the extras are 5 featurettes which include La Magra, Designing Blade, The Origins of Blade, A Look at Dark Comics and The Blood Tide these are in standard definition, the original theatrical trailer is also included and is in standard definition also.
The first question to ask has the wait been worth it?
In my opinion it is a resounding yes this film has never looked or sounded better, I have owned this Film both on VHS and DVD and this latest incarnation on Blu-ray has made this comic book adaptation even more impressive.
The dark atmosphere of the movie is given more depth with the deeper blacks and brighter colours on Blu-ray and the battle scenes involving swords have a satisfying clang and scraping sound and the rat-tat-tat of the machine guns now leap out of the speakers as they rip across the scene along with the crunch of bones as Blade stomps and punches his opponents this brought to life by the thumping 6.1 soundtrack and the new cover art is also an improvement to the earlier DVD sleeve, it is also the full 120 minute uncut version of the film...
Brotherhood Of The Wolf
Christophe Gans 2001 production Brotherhood of the Wolf is finally given its U.K. Blu-ray release in 2011 but unlike its French counter-part from 2008 which is still the best version available on Blu-ray, the British version is the shorter cut of the film (139 minutes) the preferred version is the 151 minute Directors cut from France.
The good news is that this region B 50gb disc comes encoded using MPEG-4 AVG in full 1080p resolution with French DTS Master audio 5.1 with a full set of English subtitles that appear inside the picture frame and are of a decent size and font, there is also a English dubbed version in DTS master audio 5.1 both soundtracks also come in 2 track DTS master audio, comparing this to the 2002 copy on DVD the Blu-ray is better in terms of richer colours and deeper blacks and a soundtrack which is re-born in all departments, clearer music more satisfying sound effects and more defied dialogue, the only extra is 77minute behind the scenes documentary, the DVD release had the original theatrical trailer and 17 minute interview which is called The Brotherhood of the Wolf The Legend with Michel Louis who wrote the Book about The Beast of Gevaudan which some of this story is based on.I have taken one star off because this is not the Directors cut.
Now to look for that French version on-line...
Once Upon A Time In The West
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Serigo Leone epic picture Once upon a Time in the West is presented in a new meticulously restored version for its Blu-ray release which looks and sounds stunning along with the restored version which is now a unrated cut the disc also has the Theatrical version as well which is still rated PG-13 along with similar special features that the region 2 double DVD released in 1999 that version of the film running time was 159 minutes this time the restored version has a running time of 166 minutes which is closer to the Italian version which had a running time of 175 minutes.
This disc is region-free the signal type is MPEG4 in full 1080p resolution which shows the features beautiful range colours and the now the greater range of blacks the actors sun-baked skin now look even more stubbly and sweaty the sound which is now up-graded to 5.1 DTS Master Audio this jumps out of the speakers, the first gun fight at the railway station which has very little dialogue is now even more impressive as the sound effects sound like they have been on steroids the gunfire now rattles across your living room the dripping water and squeaking water wheel create the atmosphere as never before bringing the viewer even closer to the action.This Blu-ray also has Dolby mono in English as well as dubbed French and Spanish there are subs in English for the hard of hearing, subtitles in French Spanish and Portuguese with commentary contributions from Directors John Carpenter John Milius and Alex Cox and Film Historians Sir Christopher Frayling and Dr Sheldon Hall as well as cast and crew.
The Special features include An Opera of Violence The Wages of Sin Something to do with Death Rail-road Revolutionising the West Locations now and then Production gallery and the Theatrical trailer in HD.
If you love Westerns this for me is the yardstick to measure by along with the Wild Bunch from Sam Peckinpah from the year after.
Curse Of The Golden Flower
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Yimou Zhangs 2006 spectacular epic Curse of the Golden Flower set in the 10th century was given its European Blu-ray release on August 2011 that's four years after the DVD release.
This region free disc is encoded using MPEG4 in full 1080p resolution which shows up the colourful sets and the golden costumes and jewellery in all their glory details such as the beads of sweat on foreheads now show up the up-grade to Blu-ray also shows the emotions of the characters better and during the combat scenes involving bladed weapons spark fly as they clang and scrape against each other this was not so obvious to me watching this production on DVD.
The disc has a Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack which picks up all the delicate ambient sounds such as the rustle of the silk clothes as the characters walk around the music has a lot more detail and the menacing sounding choir dominates and adds texture and atmosphere there are two sets of English subtitles one normal and the other for the hard of hearing.
This has become part of my test disc library with its use of deep rich colours and the blackest of blacks.
There are very few special features compared to its DVD counterpart it has the featurettes called Secrets Within and two others called The Empress and The Emperor respectively and thats it the DVD had the teaser trailer and the trailer and a Photo gallery.
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Unlike the DVD incarnation of this 2006 production the Blu-ray is in the proper 2.35 aspect for all of the 2 hour and 10 minute running time thats a full 5 minutes longer than its DVD counter-part and instead of the choice of digital stereo and 5.1 surround sound Blu-ray has DTS-HD master audio or digital stereo and the signal type is MPEG 4 AVC which shows this spectacular visual delight in the best light.
Everything about this film is impressive from the lighting to the costume design and all the departments in-between Zhang Yimou the man who gave us The House of Flying Daggers and Hero comes up trumps again with the Asian take on Shakespeares play Hamlet as with the bards story this movie is about the complex relationships and passionate characters.
The Banquet in 1080p resolution is a feast for the eyes with mind-boggling ballet like choreographed fight sequences which are interspersed with floods of crimson spatters of blood with deeply satisfying clangs of the swords and other weaponry coming from the surround speakers and dazzling landscapes which using everything from water being splashed by the running horses to the bright colours of the silk costumes to create the atmosphere of the piece.
For those who admire of Zhangs work (I count myself amongst them) the look and feel of The Banquet will not disappoint as it maintains the running themes of the previous movies stunning martial arts spectacular use of landscapes and costumes all this comes together and over loads the senses which looked impressive on DVD but now in its Blu-ray incarnation it tests both your system for sound and vision not to be missed if you are fan of this director highly recommended.