Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > Murder > Mystery > Johnny Handsome (1989/Lionsgate Blu-ray)

Johnny Handsome (1989/Lionsgate Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Though I like Mickey Rourke and Director Walter Hill, I always had mixed feelings about their uneven collaboration Johnny Handsome from 1989, a film that did not perform well and is not always discussed, but has not been seen by enough people for a general opinion to form.  Of course, Rourke is good in it and the idea of a mobster with a deformed face making a deal to get a “new face” for a price in intriguing, but the film is uneven and gets sidetracked in odd ways.


Based on a book by Taking Of Pelham One Two Three author John Godey, the source is solid and the screenplay by Ken Friedman has some moments, but his own writing history is also choppy and explains why this ambitious project never falls together as it should.  On the plus side, it also has a good supporting cast that includes Forest Whittaker, Morgan Freeman, Ellen Barkin, Elizabeth McGovern, Lance Henriksen, Scott Wilson and Peter Jason, so this was certainly an appealing project, but now it is a curio and is likely to become one all over again.  Having it on this upgraded Blu-ray is not bad either.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is not perfect, but looks good for its age and what may be a slightly older HD master.  Color is good and there are some good shots, but more than a few are softer that one would like or have slight motion blur.  Director of Photography Matthew F. Leonetti (Breaking Away, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Poltergeist, Jagged Edge, Red Heat) gives the film a good look and that shows here.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix can show its age and sonic limits, but as an upgrade of the advanced analog Dolby SR (Spectral Recording) theatrical release soundmix, it is one of the few SR upgrades that is not botched to date and Ry Cooder’s score is a highlight.


Extras include stills, Original Theatrical Trailer and three Making Of featurettes: Wordsmith, Eye Of The Beholder and Action Man.  This was originally a Carolco Pictures release and boy, do we miss them and their ambitious big budget films for grown up audiences.  See it if you have yet to.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com