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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Drama > Thriller > British > Monster > Anthology > Erotic > Cable TV > All Superheroes Must Die (2012/Image Blu-ray)/Cherry Tree Lane (2010/Image DVD)/Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012/aka Lake Placid 4/Sony DVD)/Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season (2012/E1 DVD S

All Superheroes Must Die (2012/Image Blu-ray)/Cherry Tree Lane (2010/Image DVD)/Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012/aka Lake Placid 4/Sony DVD)/Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season (2012/E1 DVD Set)


Picture: B-/C/C+/C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D/D/D/C     Main Program: C-/C-/D/C



Here are some new releases featuring gratuitous sex and violence that don’t always work out…




A few years ago, we covered The FP, a forgettable, self-congratulatory mess about people fighting in a real videogame world and killing each other.  Now, hack Jason Trost is back with All Superheroes Must Die (2012, U.K. title: Vs.), essentially is more or less the same exact set-up, but this time in a downsized world of costume superheroes, but with no fun or point despite (again) some potential.


The various Watchmen/Kick Ass clones (putting Trost a few generations away from The Justice Society of America off the bat) wake up in different places in a small town and find there is something deadly in their arm and everyone they know is in deadly booby traps.  Unfortunately for us, they are the biggest boobs in recent superhero history and the deadly thing is the script is pure boredom with pointlessness.


The result is people just screaming and fighting and running around or if they are tied up, screaming in terror (if you can all it that) making one wonder how this ever got made at all as a villain taunts them from TV sets as if this were an episode of ElectraWoman & DynaGirl on crack.  This could have been the next step forward for Trost, but he is stuck in the deep end of genre hell with more formula and stuck-in-a scenarios than you can count.  Like his debut feature, there was potential, but he has nothing to say or do and this is just sully time, no matter the illicit appeals to put when supposed friends (badly shown in very fake black and white flashbacks that also do not work) is inane and embarrassing when it all ends.  The script dies before the heroes show up.


There are no extras.


Also potentially better is Paul Andrew Williams’ Cherry Tree Lane (2010), a British thriller that quickly turns into an exploitation piece about a married couple who suffer a violent home invasion because a group of hoodlums want to get at their son for what might be something like a bad drug deal or unpaid drug money, but this quickly deteriorates into a ridiculous stuck-in-a film that borders on torture porn and has very little suspense.


In addition, it trivializes sexual assault, has hints of racism and does not know how to end all the various things it begins.  That is a shame, because with some concentration and a better script (this is more serious than All Superheroes Must Die), this could have worked, but instead has the depth of a boring police procedural (there are no police here) and all the violence and histrionics just happen to happen without a narrative to hang on.  We have seen much better films on youth crime in the U.K. (Michael Caine in the highly underrated Harry Brown, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site being a prime example) and it just does not work.  At least they had a good cast.


There are no extras.



How many giant killer crocodiles can you take?  Don Michael Paul’s Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012) is the fourth in a series that should have never happened and unfortunately continues in one of those series that has you asking yourself “did they do that many?”  The last one should have been the last one, but sadly is not and you can see how bad #3 was at this link:




The third time was not the charm, so the fourth is ridiculous as they were hiding in a nature preserve (in what feels like an anti-environmental message), but then we get giant digital crocs with bad, loud digital growls and that is for 90 uncut minutes with no suspense, hardly any kind of screenplay and again, everything we have seen before.  Robert Englund even shows up (a reference to Eaten Alive perhaps?), but that makes not difference.  This is one chapter to skip.


There are no extras.



The most ambitious and watchable release on this list is Femme Fatales: The Complete First Season (2012), which turns out to be an anthology series that wants to feign Film Noir but is as much about that as Doctor Zhivago was about the Russian revolution.  Instead, this cable TV series (on Cinemax) is just an excuse for nonstop female nudity, through police lesbianism, heterosexual soft core scenes and they throw in some thin plots on murder, betrayal and twists that are not that great, so Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Roald Dahl’s Tales Of The Unexpected have nothing to worry about.


Besides a real lack of grasping Noir beyond some imitation shots, each episode is under a half hour, so when you factor in the nudity, sex and intros and outros by a sexy woman named Lilith (which we only learn from the credits in each show, amusing as she can be), there is absolutely no time to tell an actual story, so the show becomes Red Shoe Diaries with more murder.  The fact that the two two=parters are the best written of the season further proves this, but the makers just want to titillate and that might fit the network, but does not lend itself to much rewatchability.


Still, they get some interesting actors at times and I was surprised by how many were willing to get so nude and have so much “sex” in each show.  The scripts also do not always add up and some get outright silly.  It is enough of a hit just the same, but they need to get better writing, because I quickly forgot just about everything when finishing watching it as the makers need to study up on their anthology shows and forget the Noir intents.  See it if you are curious and in any way surprised by the content.


Extras are more substantive than the shows themselves with audio commentary tracks on all the episodes, Deleted Scenes, Alternative Scenes, San Diego Comic-Com 2011 Panel on the show, “The White Flower” episode in fake black and white as a so-called “director’s cut”, amusing Blooper Reel, Photo Gallery and several making of featurettes.




The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Die has motion blur, definition issues, color limits, mixed lighting and is a digital shoot that can be sloppy and badly edited.  This is not a style choice, though the style chosen is only so effective and when you add degraded pseudo-black and white images, it is not very memorable either.  Still, that manages to look better than the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the softer DVDs, but Tree is even softer than it should look and the rest of the productions here for some odd reason.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Die is towards the front speakers, badly recorded, has location audio issues throughout and is poor for a new release.  All three DVDs feature lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes that can actually match the Blu-ray’s DTS and though they do not have great soundfields, rarely engage their surrounds, have weak soundfields and are even are too much towards the front speakers (being dialogue-based at times is not excuse) disappoints.  Wonder if they would sound better in lossless presentations?



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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