Plot: What’s it about?
As a plane cruises across the skies toward its destination, those on board have no clue that a vicious criminal is among them. That would be Jeremy Barrett (Michael Harris), a long time crook who is looking to add another incident to his resume, in the form of a plane hijacking. His plan is to take control of the plane, then move over a large urban area and smash the plane into the buildings below. Of course, this would leave countless people dead and injured, not to mention the massive amounts of collateral damage involved. So when Barrett makes his move and is able to secure the plane, it seems as though his plan will be seen through, unless someone manages to thwart his efforts. The one man who has a chance is FBI agent Nick Halton (James Russo), who is willing to risk his own life to see that Barrett’s plans are ruined. But even if he and his team of commandos can board the plane in the middle of the flight, it be almost impossible to complete the mission. With the lives of the passengers and those folks down below on the line, can Halton and his men stop this madman?
I have to admit, I usually like these direct to video action flicks, but I can also admit that a lot of them just plain stink. I would assume the action genre would be a tough one to tackle with a minimal budget, as you need all sorts of explosions, special effects, and set pieces. But when the crew can manage those finances well enough and make it count, these low budget action flicks can turn out pretty well. I always like to see Ice-T in action, so I was looking forward to giving Sonic Impact a spin, if for no other reason, to count the number of times he scowls during the picture. As usual, he scowls a lot and as usual, this is a fun little movie, but I don’t think I’d want to rewatch it that much. The action sequences come off in decent enough form, but the budget shows at times and that has an adverse effect on the whole experience. The cast is decent though, with Ice-T, James Russo, Sam Anderson, and Mel Harris on deck, all of whom do their best with this one. If you’re an action junkie and you need a fix, then I recommend this release as a rental, it should do the trick.
Who would have thought Ice-T would become a staple of the direct to video action realm? I’ve seen him a ton of these over the past year or so, with more and more hitting the streets all the time. I don’t think Ice-T is a superb actor by any means, but he is fun to watch sometimes and his scowling ranks with the very best of them. He also usually has a couple hilarious lines, which he can deliver with a bad ass attitude each and every time. So no, he isn’t a classical performer by any means, but as long as he stays within his range, he’s not too bad in the end. You can also see Ice-T in such films as Stealth Fighter, Final Voyage, Leprechaun In The Hood, Judgment Day, Surviving The Game, Urban Menace, The Wrecking Crew, and Mean Guns. The rest of the cast here includes James Russo (The Postman, Donnie Brasco), Sam Anderson (Permanent Midnight, Forrest Gump), Michael Harris (Satan’s Princess, Suture), Brittany Daniel (The Basketball Diaries), Mike White (Escape Under Pressure), and Mel Harris (Wind Dancer, Raising Caine).
Video: How does it look?
Sonic Impact is presented in a full frame transfer, which is how the film is supposed to be seen. This is a direct to video release, so this isn’t as refined as a feature film transfer, but this presentation still provides a strong image here. The print used seems clean and I saw minimal grain, while compression errors were limited to some infrequent edge enhancement. The colors have a natural look to them, but still show brightness at times, while flesh tones are warm and consistent also. No problems with the contrast either, as shadow depth is accurate and I saw no visible detail loss. As far as direct to video releases go, this is a fine visual presentation.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which allows for some solid audio presence. The dialogue is crisp and clean in this track, with no volume issues and no harshness to report. I was pleased with the music also, which sounds immersive and full here, although it doesn’t show up as much as I would like. But this track earns the cash when the action picks up, as the surrounds come to life well and the viewer is pulled into the action. This is not as explosive as a higher budget action flick, but given the material, this track is a good one. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround track, if that better suits your needs.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc houses some talent files, the film’s trailer, and an audio commentary with director Rodney McDonald and actor Michael Harris. I found this to be a fun and informative track, as the two share behind the scenes anecdotes, as well as production information, which makes for a loaded and interesting commentary, to be sure.