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The Last Sentinel [Blu-ray]


"The Last Sentinel" Japanese Theatrical Poster

’The Last Sentinel’ includes a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track and a 1.5Mbps DTS 5.1 surround track (mislabeled as an uncompressed Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the back cover). Neither track provides a significant advantage and the default volume levels were the only major difference between the two. Either way, the audio package provides a decent experience that’s held back by the film's production values. Dialogue is a tad sharp and hangs limply in the center channels -- prioritization is generally good, but lines uttered in the midst of chaos are occasionally lost. Thankfully, the film is extremely light on chit-chat and has long stretches of silence throughout. Ambience and interior acoustics aren’t anything out of the ordinary, but I was pleased to hear a substantial amount of movement in the rear speakers.

Like the standard DVD, ‘The Last Sentinel’ includes a filmmakers’ commentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette (4:3 upconverted HD, 15 minutes). Both supplements fail to accomplish the one thing that would’ve made each worth the time -- a candid dissection of low-budget filmmaking and the benefits/perils of the straight-to-video market. While Johnson touches on these subjects in the commentary, neither is given the sort of attention that would have at least added some value to the package. Instead, we get a rather forced point by point analysis of the production, casting, stuntwork, and final edit of the film. There's some interesting biographical information about Johnson, but everything else about the supplemental package reeks of filmmakers who are out of their depth.

Title: The Last Sentinel (2007)

Making of the Last Sentinel Featurette

Even so, the most disappointing aspect of the transfer is that it lacks the three-dimensionality of other properly-encoded presentations. Softness is a random nuisance, contrast levels are spotty, and foreground objects don’t separate from the backgrounds as naturally as they should. Ultimately, the lone saving grace for the Blu-ray version is that its DVD counterpart is actually more expensive. If you’re determined to purchase ‘The Last Sentinel,’ you can at least be assured that the cheapest copy also happens to be the best looking version of the film available.

An appalling flick, a repulsive video transfer, a pair of mediocre audio tracks, and a bland and anemic supplement package make ‘The Last Sentinel’ a release to avoid. Echo Bridge was wise to price their bargain Blu-rays so low -- otherwise, they’d be lucky to move more than a dozen units. The fact that consumers can buy this release for a few dollars more than renting it will probably ensure decent sales and more god-awful straight-to-video releases in the future. If you can resist the morbid curiosity, skip this poor excuse for a film and spend your money on something worthwhile.