The Devil’s In The Details (2012/Image Blu-ray)/Interview With A Hitman (2012/Well Go USA Blu-ray)/No Retreat, No Surrender (1986/Umbrella
Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Pressed
Picture: B-/B-/C+/C Sound: B-/B-/C+/C+ Extras: C/C/C-/C- Films: C/C+/C/C
PLEASE NOTE: The
Region Free import Blu-ray of No
Retreat, No Surrender and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.
a group of recent martial arts dramas that are recent productions and one older
film you may have missed with the early work of one of its relatively more
some of such fighting by default in Waymon Boone’s The Devil’s In The Details (2012) which wants to be about a soldier
(Thomas Conrad) coming back home from war, only to be terrorized, tortured and
threatened by a drug kingpin (Emilio Rivera wasted in a semi-clichéd role) who
wants him to deliver drugs or he’ll kill his family. Ray Liotta is a former Navy SEAL (nice change
of pace for once) who can help him, but nothing can help this script.
the played out, out of nowhere torture scenes that backfire, this trivializes
some serious issues, though I get the impression the makers did not intent this
to be so. This becomes more of a bad
action film (even some of the marital arts are shot sloppily) and I never
bought it. Someone might find something
to like here, but I found very little except a work with far more potential
than realized. A Behind-The-Scenes
featurette that is short but more interesting than expected is the only extra.
first gained notice for his work with Guillermo del Toro in the
underappreciated Hellboy II (2008)
and Blade II (2002, both reviewed on
Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and has since been seeking leading man action
status. The British actor happens to
have two of his recent works arriving on home video at the same time. Perry Bhandal’s Interview With A Hitman (2012) is about the painful background of
Viktor (Goss) whose tough childhood (if you can call it that) in a former East
Bloc country made him the efficient killer he is today. What I liked here were the silences, visual
storytelling and a work that takes its audience more seriously and treats them
more like mature adults than you usually see in the genre.
this script does not dig deep enough and go far enough as a character study and
its lead could do the acting, but it stops too shot at 96 minutes when it could
have said much more though it is the best release on the list. Still, genre fans and fans of Goss should
know it is worth a look. Extras include
a Making Of featurette and Trailer.
Donnelly’s Pressed (2011) is a Goss
work only a few releases back involving him as an investor losing his job and
now, maybe his life unless he can sell some valuable bulk drugs, but two teens
get in the way and any plans by anyone get skewed. This would be more interesting if the teens
were not clichéd and things just slowly become less credible as the 105 minutes
moves on. There are a few good moments,
but I was “pressed” to find much to like about it, though it does have an
interesting ending, so this has ambitions like Goss’ other new release. Hope he finds a stronger project soon. A trailer is the only extra.
we go back we go back 26 years and counting for Corey Yuen’s No Retreat, No Surrender (1986) which
is more aimed at a teen audience many 1980s Rocky-style fight films were.
This one plays like a slightly sleazier and odder Karate Kid (all versions) as some Hollywood Blvd. gangsters bully and ruin
a principled marital arts teacher’s business and life, so young student Jason
(Kurt McKinney) intends to do something about it, inspired by Bruce Lee (he
keeps visiting his grave for strength!) and takes on their #1 henchman, the
evil Ivan The Russian (I am not making that up) played by then-newcomer
Jean-Claude Van Damme.
has little dialogue and is not in the film much, though even here, he is doing
some of his trademark moves that got him on the big screen to begin with. He is so young here, but still very much
looks like him. The script is formulaic
and dialogue corny as anything, but it is a curio and an odd one at that you
have to see to believe. See it once just
for the heck of it and enjoy.
format analog low def trailer is the only extra and will not play on many U.S. Blu-ray
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Devil and 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Hitman are the best performers here,
though both have been slightly darkened and styled down to be “badder” or
something like that. We get some good
shots in both, though a few more in the more thoughtful Hitman. The 1080p 1.85 X 1
digital High Definition image transfer on Surrender
is a 35mm film shoot, but the source print is older, has some flaws and a flat
appearance, meaning the film needs some restoration work. Still, color (from Consolidated Films) is
consistent, but the appearance is always slightly aged.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Pressed
is a RED One HD shoot and soft throughout, despite a few interesting
shots. This might look better on
Blu-ray, but that is uncertain, but it can compete with the older Surrender print by default.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Devil and Hitman are the
sonic champs here, but with some reservations as they both have inconsistent
soundfields (though Hitman has those
silences, so any disruptions are more intended) and both have sound towards the
front speakers. Location audio can be an
issue too, but I doubt these could sound much better. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Pressed lacks solid surrounds and has
some location audio issues and sound more towards the front speakers than I
would have liked. Surrender is here in a PCM 2.0 Mono mix that also shows its age,
but it is the best it is likely ever to sound unless the music was recorded in
stereo, which means this could be upgraded a bit down the line.
As noted above, you can order the import version of No Retreat, No Surrender exclusively
from Umbrella at:
- Nicholas Sheffo