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Driven To Kill (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=143925&d=1243610961
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109940&d=1210373637

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

68






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 98 Minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Steven Seagal, Dmitry Chepovetsky
Directed by: Jeff F. King
Music by: Peter Allen
Written by: Mark James
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 19, 2009







"Honor must be earned"



Film Synopsis:

Get ready for bullets, blood, and bodies hitting the ground, because international action superstar Steven Seagal is back with a vengeance! Enter the lethal world of Driven To Kill - a take-no-prisoners crime saga that pits Seagal against a deadly criminal syndicate! Seagal stars as Ruslan Drachev, a highly-respected former enforcer in the New York-based Russian Mob, who long ago abandoned the gangland lifestyle to pursue a more peaceful career as a crime novelist. But his world is turned upside down when he learns that his daughter is engaged to marry a Russian gangster who also happens to be Ruslan's cold-hearted nemesis from the bad old days. When a shocking act of brutality forces Ruslan to return to the sinister underbelly of his past, he must mete out his own merciless, murderous brand of justice, until no enemy is left standing!




My Take:

Driven to kill is a direct to video action film that was shot with a limited budget and fairly unknown cast. Seagal plays Ruslan Drachev a former Russian mob badboy who made an agreement, years ago, to leave New York and not return. He has a daughter Lanie that was raised by her mother Catherine, who is now married to attorney Terry who has a questionable background. Lanie is engaged to be married and Ruslan returns to attend her wedding. He meets her fiancé Stephan, and finds out that he is the son of Russian mob leader Mikhail who Ruslan has history with from the old days. Ruslan questions Stephan who says that he is not his father and wants nothing to do with mob life. On the day of the wedding two thugs break into the house and attack Catherine and Lanie. The attack is set up to look like the motive was burglary. Lanie is critically wounded and Ruslan convinces the police that in order to protect her it is best if everyone believes that she died. He then goes in search of those responsible and on a quest to uncover the motive behind it. This leads him back into the dark/violent world that he left behind years ago.

I can remember when Steven Seagal was among the top box office draws for martial arts based action films. His particular style of fighting and slick tough guy persona made for entertaining action that was easy to appreciate. I wouldn't call myself a devout fan. I haven't faithfully followed his career and seen all of his films (especially the more recent ones) but I think it would be fair to say that overall I have enjoyed his movies. The fact that this film was shot on a limited budget in and of itself isn't a problem except that this film just isn't very good. The contrived plot and less than authentic sets/surroundings are obvious and when coupled with the poor acting by the cast, shallow characters, and noticeably staged action pieces it felt rather insipid. Steven Seagal's attempt at a Russian accent resulted in dialogue that at times was unintelligible and garbled. The special effects aren't especially convincing and the fight sequences feel rehashed. The hand held camera work isn't the best which made some scenes visually hard to follow. I did enjoy watching Steven Seagal unload on a few of the nameless Russian henchmen but other than that I found it hard to find much to laud in Driven to kill.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong violence throughout, language and some sexuality/nudity.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 72



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692



Video: 64


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Driven to kill comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.

This is a lackluster high definition video presentation that is among the worst that I have seen on Blu-ray Disc. Images are routinely soft and lacking in fine articulation. There are occasional moments where a close up will reveal a higher level of discernible texture in facial features but rendering still falls short of the crispness and resolute depth of the better Blu-ray Discs I have seen. Wide angle shots are among the worst offenders as many of them appear out of focus. The video is grainy, noisy and contains some rather ugly artifacts that appear to be compression related. The worst example coming during chapter 9 at the 38:34 mark as Ruslan and Stephan sit in a car. In the upper part of the frame above their heads (near the sun visors) breaks up into white blocks that move and dance around. Blacks are fairly deep but crushed and shadow detail is just average which makes dark segments appear one dimensional and flat. Colors are cleanly rendered but are not particularly vibrant and fleshtones have a balmy tonal quality that leaves them looking dull and a bit lifeless. The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack yields quality that reveals the limitations of the film's budget. Dialogue with is clearly conveyed (with the noted exception of Seagal's gravely muttering) through the center channel. The mix has a distinct front channel emphasis with mild rear channel ambience used to fill in background sounds such as street noise and music/crowd noises in sequence that takes place in a strip club. The action based sequences containing gunplay lack the dynamic quality to provide realistic impact/emphasis to heavy duty weaponry like shotguns and automatic machine guns. I found this to be quite obvious which made these segments much less involving. The music score was played back through the main channels with splashes of rear channel ambience used to broaden depth. It sounded fine although I found the music to be a bit strange. For an action film I found this presentation to be sorely lacking and a disappointment.



Bonus Features:

There are no bonus features.




Final Thoughts:

Driven to kill is a below average action film that showcases an aging Steve Seagal who still has some chops but that wasn't enough to overcome this rather disappointing effort. Unfortunately for fans this Blu-ray Disc presentation doesn't fare any better. Its poor video quality, one dimensional sound and zero bonus supplements add up to a lackluster experience that isn't recommended.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 20
Is he still making movies? BTW, where is Wesley Snipes? They should get together with Dolph Lungren and make an 80's retro style action movie. Hell, Mickey Rourke made a comback.
post #3 of 20
I can imagine the look on your face when you received this for review .

Thanks for the warning , not that I needed it , but thanks .
post #4 of 20
Steven S is still alive? Wow. Thought he was KIA. lol

I normally like some of his movies but lately it has become like the current economy.
post #5 of 20
Ralph....is this the lowest rated film you ever reviewed?
post #6 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by stepyourgameup View Post

Is he still making movies? BTW, where is Wesley Snipes? They should get together with Dolph Lungren and make an 80's retro style action movie. Hell, Mickey Rourke made a comback.

Snipes and Seagal perhaps, but Dolph is already in an 80's style action movie. He will be in Stallone's The Expendables coming out next year. Sly is kicking ass with the cast on that one Sly, Statham, Lundgren, Jet Li, Tery Crews, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, Rourke, and a potential cameo from the Governator.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by VXXJesterXXV View Post

Snipes and Seagal perhaps, but Dolph is already in an 80's style action movie. He will be in Stallone's The Expendables coming out next year. Sly is kicking ass with the cast on that one Sly, Statham, Lundgren, Jet Li, Tery Crews, Eric Roberts, Steve Austin, Rourke, and a potential cameo from the Governator.

Hey, if it has Eric Roberts is in it, I'll check it out when it's released.

btw, Seagal is going to be on an A&E Reality show this summer, called "Steven Seagal: Lawman". Turns out, Seagal has actually been a deputy in some county in Louisiana for quite some time.
post #8 of 20
I used to really like Seagals films. For over a decade though, every movie he is in he wears a long jacket, with a vest, to hide his expanding waistline. For someone who is supposed to espouse discipline in martial arts, he obviously doesn't display that in his physique. The low score for his latest endeavor is no surprise.

Art
post #9 of 20
Here is another terrible Steven Seagal movie. He was in another terrible action movie with vampires as well. Personally, I have not seen either, but I have heard from many people that the 2 films were really bad. I think this is the lowest HD score I have seen Ralph give any movie.
post #10 of 20
Driven to Eat...the fat Steven Seagul story...
post #11 of 20
Couldn't disagree more with the rating. If you take the Seagal prejudices aside, the movie is pretty good. I'm not saying it is Oscar worthy or anything, but deserving of a higher score than 68. The acting is on par with some movies that have been reviewed as of late (Gran Torino comes to mind) and the action sequences are entertaining. As for the plot/setting, who would believe that some guy and his crew take over a battleship and it is up to the cook + wedding cake stripper to save the day? That was still a good movie (though, again, not great). I think that Seagal is in the same boat as Van Damme (sp?), Schwarzenagger (sp?), and some others, where every movie he makes won't be taken seriously. I think if this movie were approached with a completely unbiased mindset (perhaps an unknown actor as Drachev), then it would rate higher. I would say it is more like an 80, rather than a 68. It is easily worth renting, but if purchased, I could understand getting the DVD vs. the Blu Ray.
post #12 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bvbull200 View Post

Couldn't disagree more with the rating. If you take the Seagal prejudices aside, the movie is pretty good. I'm not saying it is Oscar worthy or anything, but deserving of a higher score than 68. The acting is on par with some movies that have been reviewed as of late (Gran Torino comes to mind) and the action sequences are entertaining. As for the plot/setting, who would believe that some guy and his crew take over a battleship and it is up to the cook + wedding cake stripper to save the day? That was still a good movie (though, again, not great). I think that Seagal is in the same boat as Van Damme (sp?), Schwarzenagger (sp?), and some others, where every movie he makes won't be taken seriously. I think if this movie were approached with a completely unbiased mindset (perhaps an unknown actor as Drachev), then it would rate higher. I would say it is more like an 80, rather than a 68. It is easily worth renting, but if purchased, I could understand getting the DVD vs. the Blu Ray.


Greetings,

Thanks for sharing your impressions bvbull200. Actually the numeric rating of 68 is a technical rating that applies only to the audio/video. The film received a 1 out of 5 rating. Not to say that changes anything but just for clarification.


Regards,
post #13 of 20
The last half decent film I saw Segal in was EXIT WOUNDS from back in 2001. Everything since has been pretty low quality. I won't be renting this latest.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

Thanks for sharing your impressions bvbull200. Actually the numeric rating of 68 is a technical rating that applies only to the audio/video. The film received a 1 out of 5 rating. Not to say that changes anything but just for clarification.


Regards,

Oops, I knew that. Then, what I meant was, its a 2.5 - 3 out of 5 for sure.
post #15 of 20
The cover art is odd.
post #16 of 20
Such a horrible low scores ,you gave lately so I must assume this film is not good or sucked.
post #17 of 20
Steven hasn't released a good movie in years, and most of his recent flicks are barely watchable for free on TNT. I still remember the days when folks like Arnold, Steven, Van Damme and Stallone were dominating the action movie game. Now, Steven has been reduced to making half-hearted straight to video action releases. What a shame...
post #18 of 20
I cracked up when I saw the score of 1, lol. Some people should just give up and get it over with.
post #19 of 20
Actually tend to agree with this review, wasn't a big fan myself [IMG]http://***************/9/P/i.jpg[/IMG]
post #20 of 20
Seriously, stop ganging on him. He's already not-so-shiny career was broken in half when things went sour between him and his long-time right-hand/friend, with whom he was trying to break ties when a planned movie preparations didn't go according to plan (Segal suspected he's trying to trick him on the production money or something similar IIRC.)
When Segal didn't bulge first the guy brought in the big guns of the Gambino family to "help him" - then they brought Segal to an "Italian restaurant" then to a "ride" around Brooklyn to get his signature on the paper this scumbag former "friend" tried to get signed...

...as it later turned up in the last big Gambino trials (John Gotti's brother "One Eyed Pete" Peter Gotti and his henchmen were convicted) where Segal served as a star witness of the prosecution, he said after the "ride" a mob guy told him that 'had he said the wrong thing he would've been killed' that night.

Of course Segal didn't go to the FBI either, he went to a different mob syndicate for protection or so says the urban legend...

Anyway, ever since (early 2000s) he's trying to puzzle back his stuff, obviously battling with aging etc so no wonder if he hit the bottom of the barrel sometimes - I never particularly liked his movies but he's still the only well-known aikido guy on the screen so I am willing to give him some time to find his own niche...
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