The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 105 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Shane West, Ed Burns, Ving Rhames, Jonathan Pryce, Sergey Gubanov, Martin Sheen, Tamara Feldman
Directed by: Greg Marcks
Music by: Bobby Tahouri
Written by: Michael Nits berg & Kevin Elders
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 21, 2009
"Security comes at a price"
When Max Peterson (Shane West) receives a series of mysterious cell phone messages that promise him untold wealth, he soon finds himself the victim of a deadly international plot. Chased by a lethal team of government operatives, Max races across the planet in a desperate attempt to unravel a conspiracy that threatens the stability of the entire world. Edward Burns, Ving Rhames and Martin Sheen co-star in this techno-charged edge-of-your-seat action thriller!
The title hardly befit's the film as there is little conspiracy in Echelon conspiracy. The story follows a formulaic premise and has a contrived plot that just leaves it feeling extremely ordinary. The most recent film that it mimics the closest is Eagle eye however its execution is flimsy, its dialogue is rather corny, and the characters are uninteresting. The requisite romance angle is thrown in but it feels disingenuous. Shane West isn't a strong leading man and his acting chops need work. Ving Rhames and Ed Burns stayed very close to the type of character portrayals they always present which was fine. Martin Sheen wasn't given much to work with and Jonathan Pryce didn't have enough of a role to be effective which was a waste. Some of the action based elements were fair (like the altercation in Kamila's apartment) but the redundant use of special effects (the exploding vehicle), and the limited number of sets/locations used felt cheap. Its attempt to make a point about politics, technological invasion, and its inherent dangers to society, were noticeably transparent. When it was over I didn't have any strong feelings about this film one way or the other. It isn't a movie that left me thinking once it was over or made me want to see it again so I guess that says something in and of itself.
The rating is for sequences of intense violence and action, some sexuality and brief language.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Echelon conspiracy comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.
Overall I found this to be a satisfying yet somewhat inconsistent high definition video presentation. Ostensibly detail is abundant as close ups and mid level camera shots offer excellent delineation and crisp definition. Occasionally the perception of detail wavered leaving those same shots lacking fine articulation and clearly defined edges. Wide angle camera pans are a mixed bag. I noticed during the long range shots of the Russian cities of Prague and Moscow that buildings/structures in the background were fuzzy/noisy and that resolution appeared slightly diminished. The color range varied with some scenes having an intentionally muted/cooler palette while others featured warmer tones that offered vibrant textures and vivid primaries. Reds were a bit exaggerated but I never found them distasteful. Fleshtones had good tonal variety with warm lifelike complexions. Contrast was elevated which resulted in crisp whites that were slightly washed out. This didn't negatively impact black levels as they had excellent depth and appreciable gradational quality. Scenes containing uneven or dim lighting revealed plenty of detail in shadowy backgrounds and darkened areas. These segments didn't have the resolute clarity and dimensional perspective of some of the brighter scenes and on occasion looked a little flat. I saw splashes of grain here and there. Its presence was never intrusive but I found its intermittent visibility to be a bit of a distraction.
The high resolution Dolby TrueHD audio presentation did a nice job rendering the film's soundtrack. Dialogue had excellent intonation and clarity which allowed subtle tonal differences in the voices of the cast to be noticeable. This was a well balanced surround mix that quite often engaged the entire system. Dynamic range was excellent and the audio had an open expression that allowed it to extend well into the room. Surround activity wasn't extensive however the action based elements provided an enriching level of immersion that generated a seamless soundstage. The chase sequence in chapter 11 filled the room with realistic near field sound effects, energy filled dynamics and suspense building techno rhythms. The LFE channel was frequently active and reproduced the film's music and lower bass frequencies with deep impact that had excellent tactility.
There are no bonus features
Echelon conspiracy is a below average thriller that conceptually doesn't bring anything new to the genre. It's a bland rehashing of several premises used in much more successful films which leaves it feeling unoriginal and on occasion a little campy. Its high definition presentation from Paramount Blu-ray is a good one that features excellent audio/video quality. As a new release I found its lack of any bonus supplements to be surprising. If you are a fan of this type of film you can give it a rent but I wouldn't recommend it as a blind purchase.
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