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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Action > Military > Drugs > Torture > Murder > Gangsters > Assassination > Martial Arts Cycle > Brit > 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 (2011/Inception DVD)

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 (2011/Inception DVD)


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.



Here are 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 recent stars…



We get 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.


Beside 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.



Luke Goss 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.


Unfortunately, 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.


Justin 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.



Finally 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.


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.


A PAL format analog low def trailer is the only extra and will not play on many U.S. Blu-ray players.



The 1080p 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.


The 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. 


The 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


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