Velocity Trap

Velocity Trap (1997)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Olivier Gruner, Alicia Coppola, Ken Olandt, Jorja Fox
Extras: Commentary track, Trailers, Biographies

’Velocity Trap’ is a science fiction thriller that takes you into outer space where interstellar pirates rule the galaxy. One day a group of thieves attempts to steal $40 billion dollars from a Federal Banking ship that is on a collision course with an asteroid.

The DVD of ’Velocity Trap’ contains a widescreen presentation of the movie in its 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This is one of the few discs from Columbia TriStar Home Video that are enhanced for 16×9 television sets, and it shows. The images in the film are generally very dark, so dark actually that the picture loses detail in the shadows, shrouding most of the imagery in solid black. Highlights are generally good and contrasting without bleeding but a large amount of chroma noise and NTSC-artifacting is evident in the transfer, indicating that the transfer stems from a rather low-end source. Although hardly any compression artifacts are evident, especially the NTSC-artifacting that is visible in the picture can become quite distracting.

’Velocity Trap’ contains an aggressive 5.1 channel Dolby Digital mix. It has a very wide frequency response with a good low end and brilliant highs. Without sibilance, the track has good directional effects and creates an involving surround field that is always transparent.
The disc also contains a commentary track by director Philip Roth, actor Olivier Gruner and special effects expert Andrew Hofman. It is a good and interesting track that covers many different aspects of the production due to the different fields of expertise.

Almost unknown, ’Velocity Trap’ turns out as a much better genre entry than you might expect. While the story offers nothing we haven’t seen in the glorious space operas of the 70s, the computer generated outer space special effects are rather good and the story has enough drive and entertainment value to keep viewers interested.