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Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson deliver electrifying performances in this tense, superbly-directed and top-drawer drama about what happens when the rules that command a solider become the rules that condemn him.

Colonel Terry Childers (Jackson) is a patriot and war hero. But when a peace-keeping mission he leads in Yemen goes terribly wrong, he finds himself facing a court martial. Accused of breaking the rules of engagement by killing unarmed civilians, Childer's only hope of vindication rests with comrade-in-arms Hays Hodges (Tommy Lee Jones), a military lawyer of questionable abilities. Together they face the battle of their lives.
[Official Synopsis]

Video


The image here is rich in detail and offers a good sense of depth but the colours are a little muted and uninspiring in the realms of HD quality. Throughout edges aren't particularly sharp and the image can look distinct soft, plus there's a layer of grain that ages the image rather than celebrates it.

The exterior naturally lit jungle shots in the film's opening holds up better than the majority of the internal scenes later in the films, with the bulb lighting doing nothing to sharpen the image and simply highlighting the blasted out detail and softness of the presentation for the most part.

At best this looks like a well upscaled DVD rather than a full HD remaster. the image just has no pop and looks a little too washed out for its own good alot of the time. It's has some highlights but they never quite register as impressive.

Audio


The audio is initially subtle and simple but when the first gunfire explodes in the Vietnam battle it puts the surround sound through the whole range of motions. Layered and wide varied shots blister through the room, bass hammers home the intensity and the explosions just add a whole other layer to this aggressive and more so impressive barrage.

Of  course thats just the action scenes. Generally everything delivers the goods from dialogue to, well, more dialogue but it's those powerhouse opening action scenes that are the only real show off moments.

As we move through the film I noticed a slight muffled edge to some of the dialogue and the crispness of the track only really felt impressive in the louder moments, such as strong dynamic elements of score to build the tension that all continue to come with a solid hit of power. Beyond that it's a relaiable track but not a spectacular one.

Extras


The comentary with William Friedkin is full of detail and delivered in his usual enthusiastic and easy to listen to way. There's lots of technical talk about how the film was shot, the limitations and plenty of behind the scenes stories with the struggles of making a film like this. There are bursts of silence but they don't last too long really.

'Cast and Crew Interviews' (13:09 HD) seems to be the original DVD features judging by the style of the Feature.

'Behind the Scenes Featurette' (23:36 HD) is a classic EPK style making of intercut with clips and again very much DVD in style.

Overall


Rules of Engagement has two solid leads that can really do no wrong even in absolute twaddle. Luckily this isn't twaddle, it's just rather typical but seeing Tommy and Sam bounce off of each other makes it worth a watch and it's enough to elevate even the most draggy of moments. Sure the film itself feels a bit dated and typical of the thrillers of its late 90s / early 2000s era but really it's the rather middling HD transfer here that kept reminding me of that fact, even if the audio punches above its weight. Basically this is a slight upgrade for those who have the original DVD but not really a whole new way to experience this catalogue title.
 Rules of Engagement
 Rules of Engagement
 Rules of Engagement
 Rules of Engagement
 Rules of Engagement
 Rules of Engagement


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