- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
- Resolution: 108op/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Blu-ray Release Date: June 15, 2010
- List Price: $29.99
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
When a movie goes direct to video, it really should be labeled “buyer beware” and believe me, Circle of Pain is no exception. This derivative fighting film that updates Rocky to bring a story of a retired “ultimate fighting champion” of sorts (Tony Schiena) dragged back into the “circle of pain” by a conniving league owner (Bai Ling) in order to have a match up between the league’s current champ and the old star and bring ratings back to the flagging league is dated to say the least.
This film is all bark, no bite, and laden with every fight film cliché you can imagine. There’s the guilt complex on the part of our aging hero Dalton Hunt (Schiena) for accidentally paralyzing his best bud and training partner (Dean Cain) in a sparring accident, there’s Hunt’s gruff and enigmatic trainer (Louis Hethum) brought in to knock him back into shape after five years away from the ring with his sage insights into the meaning of life and fighting, and of course there are smatterings of out of ring scuffles all to wet the appetite for the main event between Hunt and Colin “the brick” Wahle (Heath Herring).
Ultimately, what you get with Circle of Pain is a dull, lifeless, boring and poorly acted knockoff of every Rocky sequel ever made. It’s easy to see why this one skipped the theatres entirely.
The video is pretty solid for this release, looking more lifelike and realistic than filmic and dramatic. Perhaps that’s more due to the production than the transfer, but the black levels are deep, flesh tones are natural, and no artifacts hamper the AVC/MPEG-4 1080p presentation.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a bit lackluster, to say the least. Much like the film itself, it never really packs much of a wallop. Even in the fighting scenes, there isn’t much thump and the rock music score sounds more “tizzy” than in your face. It still works, but it is hardly reference. Dialogue is clean and intelligible.
There are some brief “behind the scenes” type supplements included in addition to the audio commentary. Nothing is compulsory and all seem mostly promotional in nature.
The supplements provided with this release are:
- Commentary with director Daniel Zirilli, actor Tony Schiena and stunt coordinator Arnold Chon.
- Behind the Scenes with Interviews of the cast and crew of Circle of Pain (1.78:1; 720p/60; 0:07.30)
- Interviews with MMA Fighters:
- Roger Huerta and Heath Herring (1.78:1; 720p/60; 0:03.25)
- Heath Herring and Frank Mir (1.78:1; 720p/60; 0:03.34)
- Fight Choreography on the set of Circle of Pain (1.78:1; 720p/60; 0:02.18)
- Tapout Promos (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:02.09)
- Circle of Pain Trailer (1.78:1; 480i/60)
The Definitive Word
Despite a decent video transfer and an acceptable lossless soundtrack, I can only say to skip this one entirely unless you are a masochist.
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