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Daylight (DTS)

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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted May 19, 2001 | E-mail the Author

The Movie:

I've always found director Rob Cohen's films entertaining. While they are not flawless in their writing, I believe, his films have an almost "old school" meets "new school" feel to their storytelling and know what they are - simply entertainment. And so far, I've enjoyed his "Dragonheart" and "Daylight". This film is a pure "disaster" picture like "The Towering Inferno", where a varying group of characters young and old are put into a situation where they must race to find a way out.

Sylvester Stallone stars as Kit Latura, a former emergency worker who was let go during a tragic accident. While driving his taxi, he comes upon a tunnel just as the accident of the movie takes place - a group of robbers hits a truck carrying toxic chemicals with their car, causing an explosion that runs through the tunnel and seals off those who are left inside. Searching for his way in, he finally reaches the stranded people - but finds his next mission to be a little more tough: finding a way out as the tunnel begins to collapse around them.

Some of the supporting characters are a little annoying as they yell at Stallone's character to find a way out, but generally, they didn't bother me too much. I'm not a huge fan of Stallone's, but I think that the two recent best performances he's had have been in this film and "Cliffhanger". In any film like this, we need to care if the people get out or not above anything else, and I think that Cohen is successful in that aspect. It's not a perfect movie, but I think it succeeds in being entertaining and suspenseful.


VIDEO: An excellent anamorphic transfer from Universal, and one of their earlier efforts that still is impressive. Images are razor sharp throughout, revealing very strong detail. Even in some of the smoky, dim scenes in the tunnel, the image stays stable and solid. Colors are accurate and well-saturated, looking fine throughout. Black level is strong and flesh tones are accurate.

There really aren't any flaws that I was able to notice. No shimmering, no pixelation, and as I previously mentioned, even some of the smoky, dark scenes in the tunnel still look excellent. Really fine work from Universal.

SOUND: I first heard the Dolby Digital version and was so impressed I wrote a further article. Here is the text of that article:

" There are certainly many more popular DVDs that impress with their use of sound, such as "Saving Private Ryan", but for the first "favorite" that I'll chose, I'm going to go with director Rob Cohen's "Daylight", the story of Sylvester Stallone as Kit Latura, a disgraced rescue worker who tries to save a group of motorists stranded in a tunnel after a deadly explosion.

It can be argued that "Daylight" isn't always successful in the script department, but the dedication that Cohen displays to use sound to transport the listener into the movie is certainly evident. "Daylight" starts off with a few chapters that simply serve to set up the characters, but once it begins, the sound is completely agressive and wonderfully enveloping. It starts with the tunnel explosion in chapter eight, a two minute scene that shows a wall of fire rapidly advancing through the tunnel, and an explosion that rips through a building above. Not only is the explosion itself one of the most powerful I've ever heard, but the sounds of falling concrete during the first moments of the blast are heavy enough to be felt.

As he goes to save the characters, Kit must pass through a group of exhaust fans - rather than just having the fan sound be a secondary thought, the viewer hears the noise of the fans from all sides. Once Kit makes his way to the rest of the characters, the film begins to use an almost constant array of sounds from all around - we hear groans as the tunnel begins to collapse even further, rushing water as the river above begins to break through, and of course, another powerful explosion to keep the water from coming in any further. During one scene, a structure collapses downwards, and as the characters crawl through a tunnel to escape, the sounds of the small space collapsing around the viewer are absolutely perfect. As the two characters come back into the main tunnel, a giant explosion (there are a lot of those in this film) rips through.

There are no light taps of sound in "Daylight" - the objective seems to be a complete "you-are-there" feeling, and the sound team has certainly succeeded. Every crash is loud, and every rumble is heavier and deeper than the last. The film uses the surrounds constantly, and the result is incredibly effective - their use is never distracting, but kept me even more involved in what was going on on-screen.

"Daylight" keeps going right to the end, and although I don't want to give away the ending, it sounds just as remarkable as the rest of the picture. This is really what I call perfect in terms of sound design, making the act of watching the film a stunning experience for the viewer. This is my first "favorite sound DVD" article and I didn't want to give away every great audio moment, but I do want to highly recommend this DVD if you're looking for a great movie to show off your sound system.

The supervising sound editor on "Daylight" was Richard L. Anderson, who has worked on films such as "Lethal Weapon 4", "Antz", "Virus", "Dante's Peak" and "Daylight" director Rob Cohen's other film, "Dragonheart."

As you can see, I enjoyed that soundtrack immensely, and was impressed greatly by the sheer impact and pure force that it was able to offer. The DTS version wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it offers its own fine aspects. While the DTS version is powerful, it seems to slightly lack the sheer force that the Dolby Digital version was able to bring to the action scenes (the kind of sound that you feel), it also does provide stronger detail and overall, a smoother sounding experience, which is important to bring out the environment of all of the creaking of the tunnel as it begins to collapse. I don't know if I could call one or the other "better" - they both are very good... they're simply different, and offer different positive aspects. Both are also soundtracks that, if you have neighbors, they will definitely hear as well.

MENUS:: Very basic main menus with no animation or anything additional.

EXTRAS:: The "Daylight" collector's edition provides a great deal of additional features, including commentary by director Rob Cohen, as well as a long "making-of" documentary and a couple of other features.

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