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Blu-ray Review: The Negotiator

Posted on Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 10:46 PM by Scott Jentsch

Front Cover ArtworkThe Negotiator
Blu-ray
Warner Home Video
139 Minutes

List Price: $28.99 (Check Price at Amazon.com)

Available 11/10/2009

Rated R

  TheatricalThis Disc
Video Format:
35mm
1080p VC-1
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 2.40:1
Audio:

Dolby Digital
DTS Digital
SDDS

Dolby TrueHD
Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Other:  

Movie: BD-50 (x1)

Disc Contents

  • No Upfront Ads!
  • Movie
  • Special Features
    • The Eleventh Hour: Stories From Real-Life Negotiators (6:51, SD, 2 ch.)
    • On Location: Why Chicago (6:51, SD, 2 ch.)
    • Theatrical Trailer (2:33, SD, 2 ch.)

About the Movie

Starring Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey, the film is a taut tale of a former FBI hostage negotiator who, after being framed for murder, tries to clear his name by taking several people hostage in order to uncover the guilty party.

How Does it Look?

A majority of this movie takes place at night, and many scenes are in a darkened office building (at night). That can present a problem if the disc was not encoded well to prevent macro-blocking and other artifacts. Fortunately, I saw none of those problems while watching this movie. For a 11-year-old movie, it looks great, and doesn't look like a rush job like some other catalog titles I've seen on Blu-ray.

How Does it Sound?

The sound mix works well for this movie! The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack delivers split-surround action when it's called for, and sharp punches to create the impact it should to increase the tension of the situation.

Extras

I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was happy to see that one was included here. Being able to watch the trailer helps one to appreciate how the movie was marketed during its theatrical release, and it's a nice extra to have. The video quality is poor, however, and the sound is 2-channel stereo, so don't expect quality anywhere near that of the movie.

The Eleventh Hour: Stories From Real-Life Negotiators is an interview with a real-life negotiator as he talks about actual negotiations he's encountered. On Location: Why Chicago is a featurette that talks about the choice of Chicago as the location for the movie and the challenges faced by the crew in shutting down the Chicago river and several blocks of downtown each night. The two clips do extend the movie-watching experience a little, so there's some value that they add to this title.

Other Aspects

This disc is BD-J formatted, and our PlayStation 3 was able to support auto-resuming the movie, but not after the disc is ejected. This is one of the biggest usability problems with the Blu-ray format that studios need to recognize and support, and more are doing so. Bookmarking is not supported. I really wish that Warner, and every other studio, would adopt Disney's approach with auto-resuming movies that are interrupted during playback. The Blu-ray Disc Association should pay Disney for the BD-J code that does it, and put it into a common library accessible by all disc programmers!

Conclusion

This is a pretty basic catalog release, and a somewhat surprising release at that. The Negotiator does feature a pretty well-known cast, but the movie itself didn't attract that much attention when it was released, and it doesn't have the long-lasting cachet of movies like Die Hard. This makes it surprising that it would be released on Blu-ray, but maybe that's a good sign that doing a Blu-ray release isn't just for A- and B-list titles.

The small amount of extras and the lack of BD-Live features makes it difficult to recommend as a purchase, but if it can be found for an attractive price, there's nothing that keeps from being worth purchasing either.

If you're not sure about buying this title, put it on your Netflix list and check it out for yourself!

Recommended Reading

Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the disc.

RentBuy


Check Prices on Amazon.com

A copy of this title was provided at no cost by the movie studio/distributor for the purpose of this review. No expectation of the results of this review were set as a condition of receiving the item.



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