Basic (Special Edition)
Samuel L. Jackson is Sergeant West, a very hardened military man who’s in command of a force of elite soldiers who he has to train. Right after a prolonged training, West sends his men to an island for another live training but when a couple of hours later the squad hasn’t called in yet, a helicopter is sent out to retrieve the soldiers and bring them back to base. What the chopper pilots hadn’t expected however, was to find a couple of soldiers shooting at each other when they arrive. Apparantly only two have survived while the bodies of the rest of the squad have disappeared. Base commander Bill Styles asks his friend and former Ranger and DEA agent Hardy (Travolta) to help with the investigation as none of the two survivors are willing to say anything to Captain Julia Osborne who is occupied with finding out what happened. Hardy, being under investigation himself for taking bribe money, accepts the request of his old friend and will work together with Osborne who hardly disapproves of him and his methods. But Hardy does manage to get the soldiers to talk, although the question is: how much of what they say is true?
Sound and Vision:
If you’re looking for good image quality, Basic will deliver the goods you want. Sharp detail, good contrast, lots of different color palettes without the dvd having any problems with it, … very nice 🙂 Edge enhancement or compression errors are absent and I didn’t even spot any grain or aliasing. Dutch Filmworks have really outdone themselves here.
The soundtrack is also of high quality with the DTS sound nicely using all channels while dialogues are very understandable, even during heavy action scenes. The only minor point we could say is that some more effects would have been nice but that rather got to do with the movie than the technicalities of the dvd.
As usual these days with Dutch Filmworks, their top titles get 2 versions: a special edition which contains a second disk with extra’s, and a “vanilla” version which contains only the movie. The special edition starts off with an audio commentary track, a couple of short interviews with director and main cast, a B-roll (behind the scenes footage) and some more interview fragments with main cast in the “SoundBites” menu. Are also present: some trailers and TV spots. Most interesting though is the “Rangers Documentary” which brings the extra’s on the second disk above the minimum we have come to expect for a major title.
Basic is directed by the man who made Die Hard I and III and has stars like Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta so you would think this has to be a great movie. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t bad, but it seems like McTiernan didn’t really know which direction he wanted to go with the film so he made it go every possible direction one could think of which results in a movie which has so many plot changes that it becomes hard to keep track of what is the truth and what is not. Take with that Connie Nielsen who hardly manages to act good enough for a sitcom a la “Days of Our Lives” and you’ve got a movie which only just manages to keep above average. On the technical side things are very ok as Dutch Filmworks has done a great job but I would recommend watching the movie before deciding to buy the DVD