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4.4 out of 5 stars
91
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 26 November 2014
After the abduction by the US military of an Islamic religious leader, New York City becomes the target of escalating terrorist attacks.

Anthony Hubbard, the head of the FBI's Counter-Terrorism Task Force in New York, teams up with CIA operative Elise Kraft to hunt down the terrorist cells responsible for the attacks.

As the bombings continue, the US government responds by declaring martial law, sending US troops, led by Gen. Devereaux, into the streets of New York City.....

Its a topical film for sure, and it was made before the tragedy in New York, and for fans of the film, its a good job, because there is no way it would me made today, it's just too close to those events.

But regardless of its political message, and its patriotism, it's just too dull in some places, and even though Washington is as good as ever, and Willis plays a convincing hate filled General, it just doesn't deter you away from the blandness of the outcome.

Plus the fact that after the visually stunning scene with the bus, it's as if Fox has said to the producers 'look guys, you've had your big key scene, any other incidents with the film will be cutaways, or a noise in the background', and that is just what happens.

And Benning is totally miscast in this, whenever she utters anything specific to her job, or becomes authoritative, the film verges on parody.

But its worth watching for its message about xenophobia, the impressive set piece, and of course, Washington.

Good, but bland....
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on 19 June 2017
The filming is very expressive. On rainy days, I shut myself up and watch it by myself. The end of the film is still a long way from my perfect ending. The performance of all the actors is very realistic. This film looks fine. The screenwriter of this film is really great.
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on 17 September 2007
The Siege tells a hypothetical story about terrorist attacks on New York City by Islamic fundamentalists, and how an FBI department led by Special Agent Hubbard (Denzel Washington) tries to stop them. A CIA agent (Annette Bening) is also involved, and refuses to cooperate with the FBI, at least at first. When the attacks continue and the FBI and police are unable to stop them, President Bill Clinton imposes martial law and U.S. Army units under General Devereaux (Bruce Willis) occupy and isolate Brooklyn and round up all the young Arab men and place them in an internment camp. This leads to several consequences and to a final showdown that will not be revealed here.

The Siege was controversial already in 1998 when it was released: the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and the Council on American-Islamic Relations both protested strenuously and said the movie was offensive and discriminatory. After the 9/11-2001 terrorist attacks on the United States it can be seen that the movie was in some ways prescient: it practically predicted terrorist attacks on New York by Islamic fundamentalists, a fatal lack of cooperation between the FBI and the CIA, and the imposition of measures that reduced civil liberties for average Americans.

In fact, the key conflict in The Siege is not the conflict between the terrorists and the law enforcement agencies. The key conflict is an ideological one: On one hand there are those who believe that all possible means, including the use of torture and the detention and isolation of suspects with no access to legal process, can be necessary responses to a terrorist threat. On the other hand there are those who believe that use of torture and the reduction of civil liberties can never be justified, and that if one resorts to these measures then one has handed victory to the terrorists.

It is the emphasis of this ideological conflict that makes The Siege so thought provoking and leads me to award it five stars.

Others have panned The Siege as being too anti-military, claiming that the imposition of martial law is farfetched and the U.S. military depicted as too inhumane. Here it must be pointed out that in the hypothetical situation presented in The Siege there was an on-going series of terrorist attacks with no end in sight, a far different situation than that experienced on 9/11-2001.

It's interesting to note that the script for The Siege was written by Lawrence Wright, who later, in 2006, wrote a book, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, and won the Pulitzer Prize for it. This book is also highly recommended.

A few words about DVD extra material. The first DVD release (2000) includes a 13-minute special feature "The Making of The Siege", which is fairly interesting but nothing very special. There is a newer DVD release (2007) subtitled "Martial Law Edition" which includes two additional special features, "The Siege: Taking New York" and "The Siege: Freedom is History". Unfortunately I haven't seen this edition yet.

Highly recommended, at least if you want more than just action and drama and enjoy thought-provoking stories.

Rennie Petersen
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on 15 May 2009
this film was i beileve, made before 9/11, and so has a chilling feel to it when you watch it for the first time. It is an easily watched film and has a good story behind it - action packed but without trashy hollywood over-the-topness. This, coupled with sterling performances by denzil washington and annette benning, makes for a very entertaining view.
recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 September 2013
Most of the reviews on this site are for The Siege,but my review(brief though it is)is for the box set that also includes Broken Arrow and Speed(the original).
All are excellent action/thrillers with top stars performing to their optimum.
Well worth the price for 3 thoughtful,big budget adventures extremely well directed and produced.
As an unexpected bonus all 3 films have English subtitles not advised on the packaging.
Recommended.
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on 1 May 2014
some good acting some good sub story lines.
shame the main plot was over hollywoodised and trite.
...american is good and all arabic speakers are potential bad people. women are good but only if they sleep their way.
ok so the subtext is a little better trying to right the main plot but seriously!

such a shame some great actors and some good ideas.
so many times i cringed.
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on 9 August 2014
Not the best movie ever made, and if 9/11 had not happened no doubt this would have difted into cinema obscurity. But, because of the awful events in the real world NY just a year after its release it has become one of the must see films of the late twentieth century. It lacks the acting, writing and presence of countless other 'worthy' films made along similiar lines of human rights, the abuse of power, ignorance and fanaticism but it has some kind of gut based foresight of a world we know live in. Former US backed Islamic terrorists, the erosion of rights in the US under the Patriot Act (the most absurdly mistitled piece of legislation ever!), crumbling middle east, failure of the West to understand the East and the East's minority of muderous thugs failure to care about anything at all. Washington is great, delivering some super lines, Willis is solid though a little under utilized, Bening lacks credibility and despite a solid enough start ends up a predictably weak female lead. Don't expect oscar winning performances, writing or direction, just watch it and then remind yourself that it was made in 1998 not 1999.
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on 18 April 2012
I remember i used to regularly watch it on VHS over 10 years ago. Watching it now in HD is much better. I still think the film is good. I think Washington plays his role just right and the cutie pie Annette Bening who i think suits short hair. I always enjoy see very cowardly and evil suicide bombers/terrorists getting killed.

Picture quality: 4/5

This is the best BD of the film on the market. The American BD is much worse than this edition. The American BD has only MPEG 2, an average of 17 bitrate, 25 GB and more DNR. This has none of that, except some minor DNR in a few scenes. But, much less than the American one. This film is on a 50 GB disc + is encoded in AVC and has an average of 34 kbps, so it looks better and have less pixelation/compression artifacts. So, grain is mostly intact and i think it looks pretty good and detailed.

Audio quality: 4/5

I remember the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 was pretty good and nothing wrong with it. Good and clear with bass in explosions.

Film: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5
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on 20 May 2009
Eerily prescient (made in 1998) and an unsettling glimpse of how things could have gone in America post-9/11, Washington is great, though Willis only has a few scenes in the entire movie. Needed to be longer and spend more time fleshing out the supporting characters and fully explore the ramifications of setting up internment camps in Brooklyn. Food for thought, though.
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on 6 June 2014
I bought this on a recomendation from a friend , glad I did. Firstly I think Denzil Washington is a really good actor and secondly I suspect that many things in this film are quite prophetic. Politically I see a form of marshall law coming to America as it changes under the weak leadership of Obama ( Barry the Kenyan ) He seems to be dividing the American public and is determined to disarm them leaving them defenceless against a corrupt government. His foreign policy is no better and many Americans that voted for him are now waking to smell the Joe. Will such marshall law see the general public herded into the many FEMA camps being built on the American mainland? Will Russia and China strike when civil unrest reveals itself on the American mainland. A very good film.
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