The Rundown (Blu-ray)
SRP $29.98 2.35:1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 UNIVERSAL
 

Peter Berg's best film is arguably his first, "VERY BAD THINGS", but his engaging visual style helps make "THE RUNDOWN" better than its script limitations.  Following the cliche "Buddy" film, "THE RUNDOWN" pairs Dwayne "the rock" Johnson and Seann William Scott, as something like a bounty hunter/enforcer of sorts and his latest target, his boss's son, who has been resting far too much on his laurels in the Amazon.  The story is ridiculous, but the leads appear to be having fun and their breezy style is entertaining to watch, making the film move along at an enjoyable pace and helping to overlook giant holes in the plot. Throw in a love interest(Rosario Dawson) and a really bad guy(Christopher Walken) and you've got an entertaining if silly film. In spite of cartoon characters all around Johnson, he stands out here with genuine charisma, and while it's a same to find Christopher Walken playing the same kind of character in so many films, at least it's "Christopher Walken," and he somehow manages to add something worthwhile to every character he inhabits, as is the case here.

UNIVERSAL has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/VC-1 blu-ray. Colors are pushed to extremes, and it results in slight oversaturation. Detail is impressive and notably better than on dvd, however, "THE RUNDOWN" never stands out as an example of superior high-definition, even though it's never particularly flat in appearance, either. Blacks are inky, allowing for impressive definition in darker scenes, numerous, considering the jungle setting for much of the film.

UNIVERSAL has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, a notable step up over the dvd Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus mix on hd-dvd. Dynamic range is greatly improved over the other formats with better balance of music, effects and dialogue. Discrete, panning and bass effects appear frequently, pushing the limits of any sub-woofer, but all the more impressive with consistently clear dialogue. The mix handles the action scenes best, but the lack of more nuanced effects prevents the mix from achieving a reference quality score.

Two, very dull commentaries are offered. No matter how much one likes Director Peter Berg and Johnson, these two can't keep the listener engaged here. There are far superior commentaries on many other films out there, but these two can be missed.

The featurettes, carried over from the previous formats, offer nothing worthwhile, although the deleted scenes section has a few worth catching. All of these are presented in standard resolution.