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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Slasher > Dolls > Comedy > Action > Martial Arts Cycle > Science Fiction > Post Apocalyptic > Thr > Child’s Play (1988)/Cyborg (1989/MGM/Umbrella Region B Import Blu-rays)/Kill For Me (2012/Sony DVD)/Mimesis: Night Of The Living Dead (2012/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Robot & Frank (2012/Sony DVD)

Child’s Play (1988)/Cyborg (1989/MGM/Umbrella Region B Import Blu-rays)/Kill For Me (2012/Sony DVD)/Mimesis: Night Of The Living Dead (2012/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Robot & Frank (2012/Sony DVD)


Picture: B/B-/C/B-/C+     Sound: B/B-/C/B-/C+     Extras: C+/C-/C-/D/B-     Films: C+/D/C-/C-/B-



PLEASE NOTE: The import Blu-rays of Child’s Play and Cyborg can only be operated on machines capable of playing back Blu-rays that can handle Region B format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Here are a group of genre releases including some familiar favorites and one that not enough people have seen yet…



Of course, the big hit on the list is Tom Holland’s Child’s Play (1988) which established the killer doll known as Chucky, inspired a series of sequels and sent up the occasional killer doll side of the Horror genre we still do not see enough.  Belonging to the slice-and-dice 1980s, it was a much-needed hit for MGM/UA who promoted it very well and is a film people still talk about.


As has been the case before, a child’s most desired toy turns out to have the ability to kill, but this one gains the mind and soul of a serial killer (Brad Dourif) who just will not stay dead.  From there, Holland (the original Fright Night) and company show that they know there way around the genre and produce a watchable film, if not one we could call totally original.  Of course, the idea is to have Chucky join the Freddies, Jasons and Leatherfaces of the world, so there they succeeded and on its 25th Anniversary (the cover is rightly marked as such), seems old fashioned as our world has grown darker and a combination of torture porn and bad indie productions have glutted and ruined horror filmmaking.


Chris Sarandon and Catherine Hicks are very good here too as the film keeps it pace from beginning to end, but it can grow thin if you get sick of the one-liners and at least there is suspense at times.  Still more watchable than its sequels, it has not been remade as of this posting, but since he is a real doll here and not made in CG, the film has a charm not even Chucky could have imagined when this was first released.


Extras include two feature length audio commentary tracks (one with actors, the other with Producer David Kirschner and Writer Don Mancini), scene specific commentary by Chucky himself, the Original Theatrical Trailer, “Introducing Chucky” vintage Making Of featurette and five more featurettes: Chucky: Building A Nightmare, A Monster Convention and in three parts, Evil Comes In Small Packages w/The Birth Of Chucky, Creating The Horror and Unleashed.



Albert Pyun’s Cyborg (1989) is a hideously bad B-movie, the kind that killed the once high flying and potentially major career of Jean-Claude Van Damme, but this lame cheapie attempt by Cannon Films to cash in on The Terminator and Mad Max is worse than ever with awful directing, dialogue, writing, plotting and even action set-ups as Van Damme plays a human (could have fooled me) asked to protect the female title character (Dayle Haddon) who has the means to rebuild the world that has fallen apart, but an evil gang stands in their way and only he can save us all….


Yep… we’re doomed!


This was actually a thrown-together mess recycling sets Cannon spent on both a Masters Of The Universe sequel and thankfully-abandoned Spider-Man film (which would have landed up at 21st Century Pictures like the ill-fated Captain America mess did made soon after) when all such genre films still had to build sets for everything.  Unfortunately, this does not make anything here age well and this is the necessary evil of a booby prize for avoiding two high profile disasters.  It was also the beginning of a slow downward spiral for Van Damme, who would have only a few more big hits before bad choices and burned bridges in the industry would end his few years on the A-list.  Wow, is this awful!


A trailer is the only extra.



Michael Greenspan’s Kill For Me (2012) is almost as bad with a missing female roommate causing discomfort and more for two young ladies, who decide to take on a new roommate (Tracy Spiridakos) who moves in and helps worried Amanda (Katie Cassidy) when she is attacked by a violent, obsessed ex-boyfriend.  When murder happens, they have to find a way to hide it, but the missing roommate is still gone and there are more unexpected turns ahead.


Too bad they do not matter and make this a silly, tired, exercise at a long 95 minutes that the pretty leads cannot stop, even with supporting performances by Ryan Robbins and Donal Logue.  I was hoping this might get good early on, but once it gets bad, it stays that way and never recovers, down to a few lame clichés that show guys made this one.


A Making Of featurette is the only extra and not too long.



Just as tired is Douglas Schulze’s Mimesis: Night Of The Living Dead (2012) which thinks it has found a clever new way to remake George Romero’s 1968 classic, but lands up being as generic as the hundreds of other imitators as he links it to a Horror Convention, but this makes the attendees look as dumb as the view is being treated and this lands up being a very long and too-familiar 95 minutes.  If anything, it made me realize how much cleverer Hotel Transylvania (reviewed elsewhere on this site) just was with the same territory and this is entirely in color, so any direct homage to the 1968 film seems lightyears away.


Even hardcore fans will be disappointed (we have covered two import Blu-rays of the 1968 original elsewhere on this site, so try them instead) and there are thankfully no extras.



Saving the best for last, we have Jake Schreier’s Robot & Frank (2012) in which an older, forgetful father (Frank Langella) is alone in the near future and is having issues, so his son (James Marsden) gives him a robot that can walk, talk (voiced by the underrated Peter Sarsgaard) and do manual labor.  However, Frank has other ideas and starts to think about heists like in the old days and starts conning the robot to agree.


First, he’ll steal form the library for an older woman (Susan Sarandon) he likes as it is being converted to get away from paper and rightly thinks the man behind this is a creep, so he also intends to target him.  They make a great team and this has some real laughs, but there is a serious side here to the film and in the end, a few twists that make this more challenging than you might expect and even offers one item that the filmmakers missed that will have smarter movie fans talking.


Liv Tyler is also funny as his daughter joined by Jeremy Sisto and Jeremy Strong in a fine supporting cast.  This is a film that deserves a much bigger audience and should have had more accolades during awards season.  I hope it becomes a surprise hit as it hits DVD because it deserves to and everyone here is in top form.


A feature length audio commentary that is worth hearing after watching the film and a unique poster gallery are the only extra.




The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Play is from a newer HD master and it shows with nice depth, detail, color range and well ranging Video Black that makes it not look as old as it is, which I cannot say for the grainy 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Cyborg which looks older and cheaper than when it first surfaced or the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Mimesis which has odd color, definition issues and a look that does not stick with you.  It does not even look better than the controversial Blu-ray of Savini’s 1990 Night Of The Living Dead remake reviewed elsewhere on this site.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Robot is a little soft, but I liked the look of it all and would love to see a Blu-ray, while the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 Kill shoot is shaky, sloppy, color-challenged and weak overall.



The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Play is the best mix here, though it is a little towards the front speakers at times and was originally a Dolby A-type analog theatrical release.  However, the sound has been nicely upgraded to sound much better resulting in a surprisingly good mix of a film its age.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix on Cyborg and the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on Mimesis are the next best, both having issues with Cyborg originally a rough Ultra Stereo analog theatrical release sounding worse than it might have in Dolby and displaying limited surrounds in Pro Logic mode.  Mimesis should be the best-sounding here, but it has sloppy location recording and is not the best mix.


The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the DVDs are not as good, but while Robot might sound better in a lossless version and is dialogue-based, Kill is just all around surprisingly weak.



As noted above, you can order the import Blu-rays of Child’s Play and Cyborg exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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