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Marked For Death (Blu-ray Review)

Marked For Death (Blu-ray Review)Believe it or not, Steven Seagal used to be a badass.  I remember in junior high and high school me and my friends would geek out and hypothesize who would win a fight between Steven Seagal and Jean Claude-Van Damme.  I always picked Steven Seagal, because he was one of the few martial artists that seemed to not exert himself when breaking bones.  Van Damme would get his ass kicked, but always came back in the end.  Steven Seagal would take a hit or two to the face and then would break a limb or two in return.  Man, I was a total geek, but I digress.  Let’s get on with the review.

Film

John Hatcher (Steven Seagal) is a DEA agent who’s a bit burnt out catching and killing bad guys after he loses his partner.  Okay, that’s cliche number one, but then again, you knew that already.  Marked For Death is a revenge tale by the numbers.  The small town that Hatcher is from is being overrun by the Jamaican Voodoo posse from Predator 2 and it’s up to Hatcher to clean up the mess.  Yes, you can expect a really high body count, broken limbs, car chases (in my very own neighborhood), carnage, destruction and so much more!  Max (Keith David) is along for the ride as his friend from the “old school.”  Hatcher teams up with him to take out the scum.  Screwface (Basil Wallace) is the Jamaican drug lord and leader of the crew.  By their deduction, you kill him, you’ll make the rest go away.  Sounds about right.

I would say that Marked For Death is one of Seagal’s top films, the others being the Under Siege films.  The film is pretty basic, but what separates it from being run of the mill is that the violence is pretty consistent.  There are great shoot-outs, hand to hand combat, and that’s all it ever hopes to be.  Seagal was still relatively young, in very good shape, and took control of every scene he was in.  Everyone else is just window dressing when he’s in frame.  You can’t say the same of him today.  Marked For Death is a good old fashioned transitional 80’s to 90’s film and  succeeds on that level.

Marked For Death

Video 

Marked For Death is presented in a widescreen 2.35:1 format which preserves the director’s original aspect shooting ratio. The black bars at the top and bottom are normal for this format.  Considering the age of the film, I’d say it’s spot on.  No visible signs of artifacts, dirt, or scratches.  I will say that certain scenes are a bit soft and the contrast could have used a bit of a boost.  It does retain some of that lovely film grain as well.  Other than that, this blu-ray is leaps and bounds better than the atrocious non-anamorphic dvd that was released years ago.

Marked For Death

Audio

Again, just like the video, for being such a dated film, the quality is pretty damn good.  Marked For Death is presented in 5.1  DTS-HD Master Audio.  Gunshots, shotgun blasts, bone crunching, silencer shots, all come through nice and clean.  Of course, this being one of those transitional films, most of the sound field is front heavy.  It really doesn’t really envelop until the score / music starts pumping.  This film, having the Jamaicans as the bad guys, the tunes and score go for that rasta-percussion heavy feel to it.  That’s when the audio quality truly shines.  It’s that when in Rome thing, if you get my meaning.  😉

Marked For Death

Special Features

Specials features? What special features! They’re non existent.  Not even a trailer.  Tsk, tsk, tsk, Fox.

Marked For Death

Final Thoughts

I love nostalgia, and watching Marked For Death for the first time in, maybe 15 years, took me way back to the days of my youth.  If you’re looking for some Steven Seagal in his prime, look no further than this title.  This is the man in all his former glory.

John Hatcher: One thought he was invincible… the other thought he could fly.
Max: So?
John Hatcher: They were both wrong.

Yeah, baby.

Bring home Marked For Death on Blu-ray!

Marked For Death Blu-ray Cover Art

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

6 Responses to “Marked For Death (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gregg

    So would you say this one is a rental? Those marks seem to reflect a so-so at best viewing experience.

  2. Brian White

    I’m holding out for Hard to Kill.

  3. Gerard Iribe

    Gregg, it’s a rental, but because I’m an actual fan of everything before Under Siege 2 (not including On Deadly Ground) it’s a purchase for me.

    I am too, Brian.

  4. Brian White

    I’m looking forward to the newest Seagal action in Rodriguez’s MACHETTE. Oh look… he’s helping Jessica down off a car.
    Jessica Alba and Steven Seagal in Machette
    What a nice guy 🙂

  5. Sean Ferguson

    I liked Above the Law but his movies kept going downhill after that with the exception of Under Siege which was really good. Of course, it was also directed by Andrew Davis (The Fugitive) and had good actors in it too. I’ll have to watch this one again since I haven’t seen it since it was on the big screen.

  6. Gerard Iribe

    Sean, that would have been 20 years ago.