Hostage appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a consistently appealing presentation.
Sharpness worked well. A smidgen of softness occurred in wider shots, but that remained minor. The majority of the movie seemed detailed and accurate. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, however, and I noticed no signs of source defects or edge haloes.
Hostage went with a palette so restricted the movie became nearly monochromatic. The flick preferred a brownish-tan tone and rarely presented varied colors. Within this form of visual design, the hues looked fine, as the transfer gave them the appropriate appearance. Blacks seemed nicely rich and firm, while low-light shots offered good delineation. The movie lacked the sizzle required for an “A”-level rating, but it remained a very satisfying “B+”.
More pleasures came from the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Hostage. Three elements dominated the soundfield: helicopters, cars and bullets. While those last two pieces contributed to matters well, the choppers formed the most impressive part of the track. They swooped and swarmed around the room in a convincing, dynamic manner. Fire, explosions and other typical action fare also helped bolster the track.
The mix also handled more subdued elements well. The score worked quite nicely, with very good delineation of sections. The package meshed together neatly and used all five speakers to fine effect. This created a strong impression.
Audio quality was usually positive as well. Speech was the one minor weak link, largely due to a smattering of edginess. Those examples remained infrequent, though, as dialogue normally sounded natural. Music was quite robust and full, as the score demonstrated fine definition. Effects also came across as lively and accurate. Bass response was tight and deep. Like the picture, the track didn’t excel at a high enough level to merit a grade in “A” territory, but I liked most of what I heard.
How did the picture and sound of this Blu-Ray compare with those of the prior DVD? Sound seems a bit more bold and dynamic, while visuals come across as tighter and better defined. In particular, the image lacks the edge enhancement that marred the DVD. This was a nice upgrade.
All of the DVD’s extras repeat here. We begin with an audio commentary from director Florent Siri. He provides a running, screen-specific chat that gets into a lot of good subjects. Siri discusses the cast and characters, adaptation issues and changes to the script, sets and production design, cinematography and story-telling choices, and various influences.
At times the chat gets a little dry, but Siri manages to flesh out the subjects well. He displays passion for his first American film and the way he conveys his emotion helps make the conversation more interesting. Siri turns a bit pretentious at times, but hey, he’s French- pretentiousness is a birthright for them. From start to finish, Siri goes over information in a tight manner and provides a nice look at the production.
Six Deleted Scenes fill a total of four minutes and 48 seconds, while a pair of Extended Scenes last two minutes. Mostly character exposition pops up here. We can watch all of these with or without commentary from Siri. He gives us the basics about why he cut the scenes.
A featurette entitled Taking Hostage Behind the Scenes goes for 12 minutes and 39 seconds. It presents the standard mix of movie clips, behind the scenes shots, and interviews. We hear from Siri, actors Bruce Willis, Kevin Pollak, Jonathan Tucker, Serena Scott Thomas, and Ben Foster, production designer Larry Fulton, screenwriter Doug Richardson, producer Arnold Rifkin, SWAT technical advisor Peter Weireter, and executive producers Hawk Koch and David Walley.
The program talks about Willis’s work, the characters and changes from the original script, casting, the main mansion set, shooting fire scenes, Siri’s directorial style and film noir ambitions, and the hostage negotiation elements.
I expected “Scenes” to be a standard promotional piece, and it sometimes falls into that category. However, it offers more depth than the usual fluff. Weireter’s notes about the reality of negotiations are especially good. Don’t mistake it for a full documentary, but “Scenes” presents a nice little snapshot of the flick as it runs through a mix of useful topics.
The disc opens with some ads. We find promos for The Expendables and Warrior. These show up under Also from Lionsgate as well, but we don’t get a trailer for Hostage.
While I can’t say I expected much from Hostage, I found the end result to provide a strong effort. It sputters at times but usually remains tight and tense. The Blu-ray delivers very good picture and sound along with a reasonably useful set of supplements. Hostage gives us an enjoyable thriller and a quality Blu-ray.
To rate this film go to the original review of HOSTAGE