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Death Wish 2 Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0, French Dolby Digital 1.0
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 89 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: MGM
  • Blu-ray Release Date: August 14th, 2012
  • List Price: $16.99

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

Death Wish 2 continues the story of Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson). This time around Paul is going up against a gang of thugs who have targeted his daughter in the streets of L.A. Having seen what each one of them looks like, Kersey now must become a one-man vigilante in hopes of solving this crime and, most importantly, unleashing unholy hell on these punks! What results is a rather phoned in sequel that is somewhat entertaining thanks in part to another badass performance from Bronson.

Long before Arnold Schwarzenegger was kicking butts and well (pun intended) ‘terminating’ people, Hollywood’s go-t0 for action was none other than Mr. Charles Bronson. Known for his funny demeanor, yet also for being rather charismatic in his performances, Bronson churned out numerous films that audiences always seemed to love. Such is the case with the many, many Death Wish films. While nothing will top the original Death Wish, I will easily admit that this sequel (and its other two counterparts, of which I’ll be covering this week), aren’t good movies in the slightest sense. They’re just entertaining, cheesy, typically over-the-top affairs that, at times, will have audiences shaking their heads at what has occurred. In all reality, for my generation, these kinds of films are akin to those of Steven Seagal or Jason Statham. Everything is so ludicrous, so unreal, that we just can’t stop watching. I guess, in the end, that’s all audiences want. A little bit of ‘shut-off-the-brain’ action.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

This 1:85:1 framed, AVC/MPEG-4 encoded transfer arrives on Blu-ray with decent results. For a film roughly 30 years old, the results presented here by 20th Century Fox will please fans as I can’t recall the film ever looking THIS good. Now now, before you get your panties in a bunch by commenting that this transfer doesn’t look good, or even great, by any stretch of the imagination, you need to take into account a few things. First off, this transfer is roughly 30 years old. Short of MGM spending all the money necessary to meticulously frame by frame remaster this (or going the *cough* cheap DNR route *cough*), Death Wish 2 won’t ever look great. Secondly, the film was shot on an extremely small budget, and with many sudden, quick, jerky motions.

Now, with that said, I will admit that I was somewhat pleased with the results found here. This transfer isn’t a home run in the slightest sense; however, it still looks okay. Most notable, especially when in comparison to the DVD counterpart, is the film’s clarity. Sequences that once lacked detail and definition, now are improved. The film’s palette tends to focus on more of the softer side of the color spectrum, with grays and blues dominating. There’s also a slight layer of film grain, one that accentuates the age of the film…in a good manner IMO. All in all, this transfer kind of reminds me of the original Terminator, the kind of transfer that isn’t excellent. But, is one that is okay when held at a glance.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Arriving with a DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 track, I was glad to see MGM didn’t unnecessarily throw a 5.1 track at this, randomly adding in odd effects. With that said, the film’s sound design, dating 30 years, has always been limited. Gun shots sound tinny, explosions lack punch and an overall impact. Dialogue, I will say, is well reproduced via the center channel. Low frequencies are are obviously going to be subdued in a 1.o track, and the overall sound here is almost muffled. All in all, this is about as good as this film will ever sound short of MGM reworking the sound mix.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0.5/5]

The included supplements are featured in High Definition:

  • Trailer – The film’s trailer is shown.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:2.5/5]

Death Wish 2 (and it’s 2 sequels) aren’t solid films in any sense. Rather, the movies are quick, brainless action affairs. MGM’s Blu-ray arrives with a V/A presentation that is probably as best as the film will ever look. Purchase-wise, I suppose it depends on how much you enjoy this 2nd affair.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase Death Wish 2 on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:2.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

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