Plot: What’s it about?
When a wave of terrorism strikes New York, it seems not even the best government agencies can shut them down. The spree began with a paint bomb aboard a bus, which was meant as a warning, although the authorities were unsure what the terrorists wanted from anyone. But that incident was just the start, as soon, a real bomb explodes on a packed bus and leaves no survivors, aside from the children released just before the explosion. At the head of the investigation is Anthony Hubbard (Denzel Washington), as well as his right hand man Frank (Tony Shalhoub) and a crack team of workers to back them up. Soon, Hubbard finds himself in a love/hate professional relationship with CIA operative Elise Kraft (Annette Bening), who seems to have a lock on a lot of the goings on inside the terrorist circles. But when the string of attacks continues and grows in death counts, General William Devereaux (Bruce Willis) marches into town with his armed forces, to declare martial law and end this reign of terror, but at what cost?
This sounds like one heck of a movie and in truth, The Siege is a fun flick to watch, but it just doesn’t live up to the full potential it promises. The cast has Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, Annette Bening, and Tony Shalhoub, among others, but most of the time, their talent seems wasted. A lot of the banter between them is well performed and a pleasure to watch, but the details in the screenplay seem to be lacking, which bogs down the whole film to me. The basic premise is very strong and sometimes the film follows up on that well, but most of the time, this one plays like your typical action movie, which is a let down. But if you don’t mind rather large plot holes and leaps of faith in an otherwise realistic film, then The Siege has a wild ride to offer you and one that is well worth taking overall. The movie is a lot of fun and packs some nice suspense & action sequences, but I wanted this to be deeper and more complex, so I feel somewhat let down in the end. But a rental is more than worth the cash and with this new release, fans have a terrific disc to plunk down the green for, so this one is recommended.
If this film was a disappointment, no blame can be pushed toward the cast, as it does more than enough to elevate this material. As usual, Denzel Washington gives a very solid performance, much better than his character deserves in fact. Washington does his best to supply depth and humanity to his role, but the source material fails him there and gives him very little to work with. But Washington takes those basic elements and weaves together a very solid overall effort. If you want to see more of Washington’s work I recommend Remember The Titans, Virtuosity, Devil In A Blue Dress, Crimson Tide, Courage Under Fire, and The Pelican Brief. Also here is Bruce Willis (Twelve Monkeys, The Sixth Sense), who is given a poorly developed character in all respects and in the end, is unable to bring it all together. Willis is a talented performers in all respects, but even he can do only so much, when given so little. The cast here also includes Annette Bening (In Dreams, American Beauty), Sami Bouajila (Our Happy Lives), Lance Reddick (I Dreamed Of Africa), David Proval (Four Rooms, Mean Streets), and Tony Shalhoub (Men In Black, Galaxy Quest). The director here is Edward Zwick, who also directed such movies as Courage Under Fire, Legends of the Fall, and Glory, among others.
Video: How does it look?
The Siege is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This looks great, especially for an over ten year old catalog title release. The image here is clear and clean, with great detail and depth, as well as a clean source print. This allows the visuals to really come alive here, even if overall detail isn’t up there with the best the format has to offer. When run side-by-side with the DVD, this version shows a sharper, more refined visual texture. I found colors to be natural and consistent, while contrast runs smooth and never misses a beat. A better than expected transfer, great work.
Audio: How does it sound?
A DTS HD 5.1 option is included and while not a stand up and take notice kind of soundtrack, it is better than average. The surrounds open up when called on, which isn’t often, but there is decent action at times. The power is middling, but it covers the bases and adds some nice presence. Even calmer scenes have solid audio, which helps maintain the mood and add tension. No issues with music or dialogue either, as both perform well. This disc also includes French and Spanish language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.