Johnny Handsome (1989/Lionsgate Blu-ray)
B- Sound: B- Extras: C+ Film: C+
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
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.
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.
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