Reviewed August 14th, 2000 by Chuck Arrington
Terrorism. America has never had international terrorists reach her shores…that is until now. New York city, gateway to the world. Center of bustling activity & today she’s being held hostage. A city bus filled to capacity with children, adults & senior citizens has been hijacked & parked in the middle of a busy intersection. The police are called in to bring about some kind of resolution to an incredibly tense situation. Unable to solve the problem, the FBI is called in to assess the situation & take whatever action is necessary & prudent. The loss of human life is not an acceptable solution.
Enter Special Agent Hubbard (Denzel Washington). His plan is to talk the terrorists down. Systematically he explains to them that there is no need for this kind of posturing and surely, their needs can be met in some other way. Apparently, they are listening & they release the children & then the Senior citizens. But, just as Hubbard thinks he’s got them, they blow up the bus with all the remaining people on board.
This event coupled with an attack on the FBI building in New York makes the City fathers’ think about an alternative course of action. One that will relieve the local authorities of their duty & in their place, the US Army will stand guard & martial law will be the rule of law.
Needless to say, it takes no time for these events to dissolve into race hatred & bigotry & American against American is soon the order of the day.
The conclusion of the film is just as engaging as the whole of the picture. Suffice it to say, The Siege is a frightening look at what happens when reason gives way to fear. Compelling movie that’s executed extremely well.
The audio is presented in a 5.1 . platform that does an incredible job at conveying the mayhem the Siege is all about. The explosions are enough to shake the tiles from your ceilings if you have tiles on your ceilings that is! The audio is rich with good front to rear usage as well as left to right transfer.
Beautiful widescreen transfer that had no errors that I could detect. The images were crystalline & the colors were true & did not bleed. There was no pixelation, chroma noise or any other transfer error that made its presence known. In all a great picture.
Here’s the poorest part of the disc. The only feature that’s included is the trailer for the film. Other than that…bupkus!
The Siege is an extremely tense & action packed thriller that has all kinds of twists & turns. The problem I have is the racial overtones. It’s always “Ok” to demonize anything from the Middle East. The racial attitudes presented in the film towards people from that region were repugnant. The terrorists may have come from there but that doesn’t make everyone bad! Somehow, that got lost in the mix. Perhaps the director was trying to show how bigoted America is or perhaps he just wanted to show what happens to those who don’t think first but act first without respect for the consequences of their actions. It used to be the sambo for Blacks, the sinister “Charlie Chan” for Asians, Drunks for Irish and now it’s terrorists for the Middle East. I guess I’d just like to see a new twist on an old idea as opposed to the re-establishment of bigoted concepts & ideas. That having been said, The Siege is a very good film that does have its share of flaws but it’s an enjoyable ride all the same recommended.
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