The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler, Jeffrey Wright
Directed by: Allen Hughes
Music by: Atticus Ross, Claudia Sarne, Leo Ross
Written by: Brian Tucker
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 30, 2013
In a broken city bounding with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) seeks redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure, the mayor (Russell Crowe). Billy's relentless pursuit of justice, matched only by his streetwise toughness, makes him an unstoppable force and the mayor's worst nightmare
Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta Jones star in this noir crime thriller where everyone has a motive and no one can be trusted. Seven years after being forced to resign as a New York police officer, private detective Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) takes on his toughest case yet: following the wife (Zeta-Jones) of the city’s hard-nosed mayor (Crowe), who’s convinced she’s cheating on him. But by the time the mayor reveals his true intentions, Billy is already in too deep. Now, with his freedom - and quite possibly his life - on the line, Billy will risk it all in a desperate bid to expose the truth, and seek redemption in a city where second chances don't come cheap.
Mark Wahlberg is a pretty one dimensional actor but I tend to enjoy his films. The trailer for this one didn’t inspire a need to see it theatrically so I opted to wait and watch it at home. The script is rife with convention and adheres to the model of corrupt cops, seedy businessman and political impropriety. As such it remains predicable throughout leaving little for the sleuths among the audience to sink their teeth into. The narrative rotates around Billy Taggert and the obvious questions regarding why the mayor would choose HIM to track his wife. There are several anecdotal offshoots that lead nowhere and only serve to convolute the storyline which quite frankly is fairly thin. Once all is revealed the hope of an engaging twist, or shift from the mundane, gives way to jadedness.
I didn’t find Russell Crowe’s performance to be credible and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jeffrey Wright don’t get nearly enough screen time to be factors. I like Kyle Chandler and although he doesn’t have a big role he made the most of it. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t break any new ground in the lead and comes off exactly as expected (which is fine).
Comparing Broken City to the better films in its genre makes it deficiencies more glaring. It isn’t necessarily a bad film it’s just not a memorable one. In the end my reaction to it would best be described a lukewarm.
The rating is for pervasive language some sexual content and violence.
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:
Broken City comes to Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.6 Mbps.
This is a solid looking high definition rendering from Fox that sports plenty of fine detail with sharp edges and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective during wide angle camera pans. Colors range from warm, vivid and inviting to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Blacks are rich and noticeably deep with a slight boost to contrast that is just enough to give the video a visually dynamic aesthetic without negatively impacting fidelity. Visible detail in low lit scenes/backgrounds isn’t always definitive and I noticed some innate softening however neither proves problematic. I didn’t see any obvious signs of video related artifacts as the video had a pristine and generally pleasing quality.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack handles the film’s predominantly dialogue driven elements with aplomb. Voices have discernable inflectional character with excellent room penetration and tonal description. Low level detail contained within the recording is easily detectable which allows even the lowest spoken passages or background ambience to be distinct. The soundstage is front oriented with the mix of eclectic rhythms/orchestrated music and discretely placed sound effects spread throughout the sound field occasionally broadening depth. This isn’t an active sound mix but its use of the entire system to enhance presence as dictated by the story works well.
- (HD) 6 deleted scenes including an alternate ending
- (HD) Putting it all together – 35 minute making of documentary
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Broken City is a run of the mill crime thriller derived from a script that revolves around political impropriety, seedy businessman and police corruption. My reaction to it was lukewarm. I didn’t find it to necessarily be a bad film however comparing it to the better films in its genre make its deficiencies more glaring. Broken City comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition audio/video quality and a middling supplemental package that includes a decent making of feature and a handful of deleted scenes. If you’re a fan of co-stars Russell Crowe/Mark Wahlberg it’s worth renting on Blu-ray otherwise wait and catch it on cable TV.
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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