DVD Title
Gunhed
International Title
Gunhed
DVD Length Original Length
100 Minutes 100 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
ADV Films 2004
Language Subtitles
Japanese, English English
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.85:1 2.0 Stereo
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (13, 0 selectable from menu)
. Trailers: Gunhed, Gravion (ADV), Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda Season 4 (ADV), 2009 Lost Memories (ADV), Farscape Starburst Edition (ADV), Neon Genesis Evangelion (ADV), Martian Successor Nadesico (ADV)
. Includes a insert with stats on Gunhed
. Alternate DVD cover
Captures
Review
Foolish me. I actually took one look at the main menu, and, for a brief moment, thought perhaps ADV had changed their ways. That perhaps they had a new live action title to tout as a decent release, beyond the three Gamera DVDs, unfortunately that's far from the case. From a wretched video presentation to a decent audio presentation and featuring a very sparse amount of extras, Gunhed is a pretty poor DVD in most regards.

 Video:
Star Rating

Gunhed's video presentation is pretty standard for a live-action ADV release, which means one should brace themselves for a disappointment. The colors on this release, for example, tend to be anything but vibrant, and look rather muted. The colors are also off on this release, with the entire movie appearing overly green and brown. The brightness level is just right, though, with details during the, numerous, scenes that take place in the dark corridors being easy to see. However, the contrast level is too low here, most noticeable from the lack of any true black in the film. As for digital inconsistencies, they plague this release pretty bad, as they do with most of ADV's discs. Artifacting is a huge problem here, with the film looking noticeable pixilated, while edge enhancement is apparent as well, with the movie appearing overly blurry. Shimmering, a rainbow band of colors on fine details, is also a problem on this release, most noticeable on things like metal grids and ammo bands in the film.

In regards to the print used in the transfer, it's the international version of the film. This means the credit sequences are done in English. Sadly, like ADV's VHS release, the text that appears on the screen has a jarring error where it appears to jump in place. The text is overly blurry too, almost unreadable sometimes unless you have a partial clue as to what it's trying to say. Here is the opening credit for Brenda Bakke, as an example. As for the shape of the print, it's not perfect. Scratches do appear on occasion during the course of the film, while there appears to be a good amount of grain as well, although it's hard to distinguish due to the amount of artifacting. To end on a positive note, the movie is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, although it isn't Anamorphic for widescreen TVs.


 Audio:

As for Gunhed's audio presentation, no real complaints. Contained on the disc is a 2.0 stereo presentation of the film's original Japanese audio track along with a 2.0 stereo presentation of the film's international dubbed track. Both tracks could have stood to be better, though, with the stereo presentation sounding a little flat, especially the English dubbed track which sounds as if the upper levels of the audio track had the volume reduced. Overall, though, it's not bad. There are no pops or crackles in the audio track, or static hisses in the background. The subtitles, which compliment the Japanese audio track, are well done. Color distinctions also appear when more than one character is talking, with the second set of text appearing white, which is a nice addition. Unlike earlier ADV releases, like The Hypnotist, the subtitles here are removable if needed.


 Extras:

The extras on this disc are a mixed bag, which is actually giving the disc more credit than it deserves. On one hand, I almost want to praise ADV for actually going out of the way to secure the original Japanese trailer for the film and sticking it on this DVD, which tends to be a rarity on region 1 Toho releases. In fact, the trailer looks better than the quality of the film itself, with much more vibrant colors present along with no discoloring (example here). Sadly, this extra appears like it might have been a comprise for a chapter selection menu, which is notably absent from this release. The chapters are there, thirteen in total in fact, but there is no menu to select them on. Looking beyond the lack of a chapter select, the only other extra on this disc are six stock trailers ADV created for some of their other (none of them Toho) releases.

It should be addressed, though, that there are two "extras" that appear in print copy on this disc. One, and it's a odd feature, is an alternate cover for the DVD case, which is printed on the back. One can simply remove the current cover and flip it over if they want to change it out, although it's vastly inferior to the one ADV went with. The other feature is on the insert inside the DVD, which can be flipped over for detailed stats on the Gunhed mech from the film, including dimensions and armament.


 Overview:
Star Rating
Bottom line: ADV tried some new things with this release, some of the odd ball extras are interesting, and the Japanese trailer is a welcome addition. Sadly, though, the sorely lacking video presentation is what brings this DVD down, and I'd really only suggest the title to fans of Gunhed or completists.
-Anthony Romeros
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