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Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • For the best 'JCVD' experience, opt for the UK Blu-ray; it respects Van Damme's talents more.

    JCVD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • The JCVD US Blu-ray release stirs confusion with its viewing options and identical theatrical cut to the UK version, amidst contrast issues and lighting affecting video quality.

  • Audio
  • The Blu-ray's audio, especially the lacking French TrueHD track and confusing menu, leads to a disappointing and less immersive film experience.

  • Extra
  • The JCVD Blu-ray is notably lacking, missing key documentaries and a richer supplement package, offering only deleted scenes, trailers, and unmet potential in exploring JCVD's career.

  • Movie
  • JCVD, a profound drama disguised as an action failure, showcases Van Damme's unforgettable performance in a story blending real-life struggles with fictional hostage crises, distributed by Peace Arch Trinity in the US.

    Video: 62

    The US Blu-ray release of "JCVD" by Peace Arch Trinity has garnered attention for its nuanced presentation, offering viewers an MPEG-4 AVC encode that retains the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Unlike the UK version by Revolver Entertainment, this release provides multiple audio options including the original theatrical version, an English dubbed version, a French version tailored for French speakers without imposed English subtitles, and a Spanish subtitled version for a diverse audience. Despite the variety in audio, the release introduces unnecessary confusion by not specifying that these are not distinct cuts of the film but simply the same theatrical cut with different subtitle and dub options. The essential inclusion of optional subtitles for the main feature could have mitigated this confusion, underlining the singular nature of the theatrical cut shared across both the US and UK releases, albeit on discs of different capacities, with the US on a 25GB disc and the UK on a 50GB disc.

    The visual aesthetic of "JCVD" on Blu-ray presents a challenging scenario, asking whether the quality should be judged based on intent or the actual output. The film's bright, harsh lighting is faithfully conveyed through an AVC MPEG-4 1080p transfer, highlighting unusual video qualities such as excessive brightness and contrast issues that manifest in a halo effect around figures, creating a distraction akin to motion blur. Blacks appear too bright, often registering as dark grey, while colors lack depth, exemplified by a red leather jacket appearing tan. Although detail remains sharp, capturing every strand of hair with clarity, and grain levels are average, the overall effect is jarring, leading to mixed impressions about the transfer's success in rendering the film's intended visual style versus its literal visual presentation on screen.

    Audio: 57

    The Blu-ray release of "JCVD" presents viewers with two primary audio tracks: a French Dolby Digital 5.1 and an English Dolby Digital 5.1. However, it's a notable disappointment that the superior French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track available on the UK Blu-ray release was not included in this version. The French Dolby Digital 5.1 track, while serviceable with clear dialogues, falls short in delivering the full auditory depth that one would expect, showing a definite lack in powerful bass and enveloping surround activity. The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, on the other hand, although mirroring the basic sound attributes of its French counterpart, falls noticeably flat in its dubbing quality, which seems somewhat lifeless and arguably performed by French speakers, deducting from the immersive experience the film strives to provide.

    Moving beyond basic audio quality, the setup and navigation of audio options on this release create a layer of complication for users. With the promise of multiple versions of the film according to the setup menu—resulting from varying combinations of language and subtitle options—the reality disappoints with no actual variation in film content but just in audio selections. This miscommunication, compounded by a restrictive menu system that doesn't allow for on-the-fly audio or subtitle adjustments during playback, significantly detracts from user accessibility and overall satisfaction.

    In terms of audio performance across different scenes, the mix delivers mixed results. The opening action sequence hints at potential with its directional sound and light movement but quickly abandons this dynamic in quieter scenes, leading to an underwhelming usage of ambient sounds and surround capabilities. Dialogue maintains precedence throughout, never being drowned out by the sparse bass or soundtrack. However, instances of high-pitched feedback and poorly utilized sound effects in certain environments hint at potential issues in mixing or recording, further hindering the potential for a fully immersive auditory experience. Overall, while "JCVD" aims to engage its audience through its audio landscape, the execution on this Blu-ray release leaves room for improvement, failing to fully capitalize on the medium's capabilities.

    Extra: 37

    The extra presentation of the "JCVD" Blu-ray is underwhelming, particularly considering the potential it had to delve deeply into Jean-Claude Van Damme's intriguing career rejuvenation. Included are merely the original theatrical trailer, a couple of deleted scenes with optional English subtitles, and an unrelated pre-menu trailer. The absence of expected content such as "A Day with JCVD" documentary and the "Making-of JCVD" featurette is disappointing. The included deleted scenes offer brief glimpses into unused material that showcase agility and slight character development, but they hardly make up for the missing in-depth examinations of Van Damme's performance and reflections on his career. The lack of substantial extras leaves a lot to be desired for fans hoping for a richer understanding of the film and its star.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Deleted Scenes: A series of unused scenes showcasing agility and character insights.
    • Pre-Menu Trailer: Trailer for 'What we do is Secret'.
    • Trailer: The high-definition theatrical trailer for 'JCVD'.

    Movie: 70

    Mabrouk El Mechri's "JCVD" presents a fascinating divergence from the stereotypical action genre, framing Jean-Claude Van Damme not as the invincible action hero but as a vulnerable figure caught in an extraordinarily surreal situation. Delivered in a narrative that blends dark humor with palpable sadness, the film is set against the backdrop of a mistaken robbery in Brussels. Van Damme plays a dramatized version of himself, struggling with personal demons and a faltering career, which provides an unexpected but deeply moving dramatic gravity to the storyline. This layering transforms a potentially cliché bank-heist premise into a captivating exploration of celebrity and redemption.

    The cinematographic execution of "JCVD" further amplifies its departure from Van Damme's typical filmography. With its raw and introspective monologue scenes—presumably unscripted—it offers a heartbreaking glimpse into the actor's soul. These moments are crafted with such authenticity that they transcend mere performance, inviting the audience to reconsider the man behind the myth. The film's technical presentation on Blu-ray, distributed in the United States by Peace Arch Trinity, showcases an impressive attention to detail, although it has stirred some controversy regarding the transition from a BD50 format with a lossless track in the UK to a BD25 with only lossy audio in the US version. Despite these technical discrepancies, both versions maintain the film's core essence equally.

    As an entity, "JCVD" is an ambitious piece that elegantly straddles the lines between reality and fiction, utilizing Jean-Claude Van Damme's tarnished public image as both a narrative tool and a subject of critique. It challenges the viewer's perception of Van Damme, offering not only an exceptional performance that could redefine his career but also creating a poignant dialogue on the nature of fame, failure, and human resilience. This film is not merely to be watched but experienced, reflecting on the duality of a man known for his physical prowess yet reveals an unexpected emotional depth.

    Total: 57

    For fans and collectors keen on experiencing 'JCVD' in its most comprehensive form, the UK Blu-ray edition by Revolver Entertainment emerges as the definitive choice. Unlike its US counterpart, the UK version is enriched with the original French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track, ensuring an immersive auditory experience that aligns seamlessly with director Mabrouk El Mechri's vision. Additionally, the inclusion of the profoundly insightful supplemental feature, "A Day with JCVD," offers an intimate glimpse into Jean-Claude Van Damme's personal and professional realm, further elevating this edition's value. While the US Blu-ray disc replicates the theatrical rendition of the film identically to its UK and French peers, it falls short by omitting these critical enhancements.

    The portrayal of Van Damme in 'JCVD' transcends his traditional action-hero persona, revealing a vulnerability and depth that demands newfound respect and empathy towards the actor. This cinematic undertaking showcases Van Damme in a light previously unseen, highlighting his genuine acting prowess alongside his well-documented physical capabilities. The narrative's emotional resonance and authenticity are such that they potentially alter the viewer's perception of Van Damme's earlier works, inviting a reevaluation of his filmography through a more appreciative and understanding lens. However, the diminished presentation quality of the US Blu-ray release serves as a disservice to the film's poignant storytelling and nuanced character exploration, advocating for the superior UK version as the preferable acquisition.

    In conclusion, for aficionados desiring to fully appreciate 'JCVD' in its most authentic and impactful manifestation, securing the UK Blu-ray edition is strongly advised. This version not only preserves the film's original auditory landscape but also enriches the viewing experience with exclusive content that delves deeper into Van Damme's persona. The film itself, a turning point in Van Damme's career, merits a presentation that honors its unique blend of action and introspection. Thus, despite the availability of multiple regional releases, the UK edition stands out as an essential addition to any discerning collector's library, ensuring an unparalleled cinematic journey into the heart and soul of one of action cinema's most iconic figures.