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Blu-ray Review: The Siege (1998)

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As some of you may recall, The Siege was released before 9/11, when the thought of terrorists attacking New York City was something along the lines of fiction. Some more of you may recall that The Siege really wasn’t that special of a film. You watch it now, though — several years after 9/11 — and the paranoia aspect of the film is downright eerie. But then it dawns on you that it still isn’t that special of a film, and you just kind of forget about it (again).

Denzel Washington plays the good guy. The nice guy. The guy that gets pushed too far, whether it be from the bad guys or the other good guys that aren‘t so good, and so he plays dirty a little, finding time to deliver an Oscar soliloquy in the process. This can be said for many of Denzel’s roles. And yet, Denzel is one of the better aspects of The Siege. Well, that, and Tony Shalhoub (in his pre-Monk days), but he‘s good in just about anything. Bruce Willis is sort of alright in the film, whereas Annette Bening downright sucks, handing in another “Look! I’m over 40 and men still want to fuck me!” prima donna performance.

So anyway, the plot here: Army general Devereaux (Bruce Willis) kidnaps an Arabic sheik after some army barracks are bombed. This causes a wave of terrorist attacks in the Big Apple, and it’s up to FBI man Hubbard (Denzel Washington) to save the day — but it would really go a lot smoother if CIA agent Elise Kraft (Bening) would just stop bullshitting him and play ball. Things go from bad to worse as the bombings continue, so Devereaux declares Martial Law on Brooklyn, imprisoning Arabic residents in the process.

Fox Home Entertainment has done a nice-enough effort bringing The Siege to Blu-ray. The AVC-encoded 1080p 2.35:1 widescreen presentation is definitely an upgrade over the older DVD releases, but some HD perfectionists may find it a little less-than-perfect. I didn’t have any problems with it, though. The main 5.1 DTS-HD Master Lossless Audio track succeeds in rocking the house. Additional audio options include French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitles are available in English (SDH), Spanish, Cantonese, and Korean.

Oddly enough, none of the special features from any of the previously-released DVDs are included here, save for a theatrical trailer. The only other bonus materials are a few other trailers for other “action” films like Broken Arrow, The Edge, The Flight Of The Phoenix (a film that was so bad, even Chuck Norris reportedly walked out of the theater), and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid, the latter of which is actually a TV spot. The Flight Of The Phoenix trailer appears to be taken from a promotional source of some sort.

While The Siege holds more weight now than it did back in 1998, it’s still nothing to shout about.

About Luigi Bastardo

Luigi Bastardo is the disgruntled alter-ego of Adam Becvar, a thirtysomething lad from Northern California who has wasted a vast majority of his life watching movies - so much so, that a conventional life is no longer in the equation for him. He lives alone (big surprise there) in a rural home with four cats named Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Margaret. Really.