Living in Australia the fights between the IRA and English forces isn't a conflict I am too knowledgeable about however I get the general idea. This movie is based on a real life person who turned against the IRA and in doing so reportedly saved around fifty people - hence the title. It looked interesting, so looking at this title is what we did.
Based on Martin McGartland's shocking real life story. Martin is a young lad from west Belfast in the late 1980s who is recruited by the British Police to spy on the IRA. He works his way up the ranks as a volunteer for the IRA whilst feeding information to his British handler and saving lives in the process.
Ultimately Fifty Dead Men wasn't a movie which I can really recommend unless you have a keen interest in the subject matter. For me, it was a bit of a chore to watch despite the occasional solid acting from Ben Kingsley while the small role for Rose McGowan is somewhat surprising too. Of course this movie centers around the role of Martin played by Jim Sturgess and he does a pretty decent job. One main issue we have with this movie is the thick Irish accents which are, at times, hard to understand.
Fifty Dead Men Walking certainly isn't the brightest, most colourful movie ever shot, and this is indeed a rather dark, murky film for the most part. The transfer is encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec and is presented at 1.78:1 which will fill your HDTV. The image is fairly clean, but isn't the sharpest, most impressive looking Blu-Ray released to date. We noticed some black crush, and contrast levels are at times a little off (take the hospital scene - albeit deliberate, but off putting nonetheless).
Perhaps with a bigger budget, better lighting (although they may have wanted to recreate real-life lighting), or a higher bitrate this transfer could have impressed further. As it stands, it's good, but not great.
While the movie was OK and the video passable I didn't have the same feelings with the audio. The primary English track is a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track (16-bit/48Khz) however due to the thick Irish accents in this film which makes some of the dialogue hard to understand but the biggest problem is that the music is often so loud that the dialogue becomes lost and muddled. Still it does have some great moments including the riots which place you in the middle of battle.
The only other audio track on this is a Dolby Digital 2.0 English Descriptive Audio track encoded at 192kbps while there is only a single descriptive subtitle track which gets the job done as expected.
Sadly despite the subject matter the only extra on this disc is a handful of deleted scenes.
Deleted Scenes (8:41): Here we have a series of twelve deleted scenes, some of which are quite interesting and could have been included in the film, although the 2 hour runtime was already stretching it in parts. Nice to have them on the disc.
Review By: Dave Warner