Absolute Deception (2013/Sony DVD)/The Amazing Adventures Of The Living Corpse (2012/CG
Animated/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/The House
Of The Seven Hawks (1959/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/The Rambler (2012/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Sadako 3D (2012/Well Go USA Blu-ray 3D w/2D)/12 Rounds 2: Reloaded (2013/Fox Blu-ray
Picture: B- 2D Picture: C/B-/C+/B-/B-/B-
& C+ Sound: C+/B-/C+/B-/B-/B-
& C+ Extras: D/D/C-/D/C-/C- Films: C-/C-/C+/C-/C-/D
PLEASE NOTE: The House Of The Seven Hawks is only available from Warner Bros. through
their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
latest round of genre releases are truly a mixed bag, most with interesting
ideas, but they never work…
think of combinations that have common denominators, odd ones could make things
work, but legendary Australian Director Brian Trenchard-Smith directing Cuba
Gooding, Jr. in the lead of a B-actioner like Absolute Deception (2013) could go either way. Unfortunately, even the man who helmed The Man From Hong Kong, Death Cheaters, Stunt Rock and Dead End
Drive-in (all reviewed elsewhere on this site) cannot return to form to
make Gooding work in a narrative as he plays a generic FBI agent who has to
travel between Australia and New York City to find bad guys… and a bad script.
disappointing car chase, action that never works and Emmanuelle Vaugier along
the ride for no reason like anyone who views this, you would never know it was
a Trenchard-Smith work (was he restricted by contract) and plays more like a
bad Aussie TV Movie. The look and sound
of this is not good either, but for Gooding, it is like he is going out of his
way to make bad projects. A shame,
because this could have been good if Trenchard-Smith could have been allowed to
Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes-able devices and trailers are the only
the continued fatigue in all things zombified, Justin Paul Ritter’s The Amazing Adventures Of The Living Corpse
(2012) is different because it is an all-CG Animated (and not well at that)
tale of a John Romero (get the lame reference?) who rises from his grave and
that’s where the similarities end as this is a supernatural tale (nothing in
George Romero’s films, especially his zombie films are) lands up with a
Satan-clone and living, talking gargoyle (we’ll skip the silly names) in what
is trying to be some kind of graphic novel with comedy.
this or because of it, we still get everything we’ve seen before and less as
this drudges on and on, plus some of the voicing does not even seem to sync up
with the animation, so I was hoping it might be interesting but it never, ever
So we go
back 54 years and counting for the capable Richard Thorpe’s The House Of The Seven Hawks (1959)
which has what might suggest a supernatural title, but is actually a somewhat
capable tale of a sailor (Robert Taylor) who lands up in Holland looking for a
lost treasure in modern times, but finds more criminals and police than expected. MGM made this film as the kind of production
that they were producing in England
at the time and this one has mixed results, yet is as good s any of the newer
entries on this list.
Maurey and Linda Christian are the female leads, plus Donald Wolfit (Lawrence Of Arabia) and Eric Pohlmann
lead a good cast, but the script is a mixed bag of ideas that do and don’t
work. Some things are predictable,
others interesting. This was one of
Taylor’s last films with MGM, but they still gave him top rate people to work
with, extending to screenplay writer Jo Eisinger (the original Night & The City, Gilda) base don a book by Victor
Canning (who penned the book that would make for Hitchcock’s last film, Family Plot), but it just never comes
glad I saw it for what works and it is the kind of classic curio that should be
in print, so mystery fans will want to give it a look.
is the only extra.
Lee Reeder’s The Rambler (2012) is
our most risk-taking entry with Dermot Mulroney as a convict out of jail and
finding trouble upon his exit, but throughout its 99 minutes becomes surreal in
a way that only the writer/director knows for sure as his life quickly spins
out of control, we get every ‘”Southern White Trash Hick” stereotype you can
think of and a VHS device that can record subconscious dreams, but this is done
in a dumb, mystified, “I-Wish-I-Were-David-Lynch” way that never adds up on any
level and is more extended gimmick than cinema.
is an underrated actor and he is able to carry this feature for what little he
really has to work with, but it is still a gimmicky work, even if it is not as
totally cynical as the usual Torture Porn and tired Found Footage disasters.
Hanabusa’s Sadako 3D (2012) claims
it will be “The Terrifying Conclusion” of all the films like The Ring that started with the original
version of that overrated release, but despite a promising start, is miles away
from the original films, is never scary, has limited 3D and plays more like an
exercise in seeing how many objects we can get to float for a few minutes that
the plot allegedly of supernatural terror.
these feature films have all pretty much been the same, all is a blur at this
point, but WOW is this one dull, even when a few of the visuals work. The makers might be having some fun making
it, but the viewer will not be joining them as this long played-out scenario
about videotape that kills (amazing how these thin magnetic tapes never get
stored improperly and decay or get muddy like an old VHS collection) and is as
terrifying as a stack of old 8-track tapes sitting around doing nothing.
have to see the first films to enjoy this one, because there is hardly anything
to enjoy here in 2D or 3D. A shame,
because they were onto something early, then dropped the ball very quickly.
is the only extra.
least as we get to the biggest dud here and the most unnecessary sequel in a
while. Roel Reine’s 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded (2013) is a why-did-they-bother follow-up to
the 12 Rounds release of 2009 with John Cena at his tiredest (and that says
something) we covered at this link:
the lead is Randy Orton, another WWE alumni who may not be as tired here, but
the script manages to be as tired as the last one in this endless, lame romp
that is nothing more than laughable excuses for bad fight scenes, bad dialogue,
Torture Porn and dumb death games that could not have possibly looked good on
paper, but got greenlit by the WWE geniuses who have zero concept of how to
produce anything with a coherent narrative.
Awful, skip it quickly!
are sadly here and include three slight Making Of featurettes and an especially
pointless feature length audio commentary track by the Director and his
so-called Editor Radu Ion.
X 1, 1080p full HD MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition
image on Sadako has some 3D you will
miss on the 1080p 2D presentation, but not much and not enough to make a big
difference, so the two match in picture quality and are the disappointing equal
to the three other Blu-ray entries here including the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital
High Definition image transfer on CG-challenged Corpse, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer
on the often stylized Rambler and
the 1080p 2.55 X 1 AVC @ 21 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer on Rounds, whose anamorphically enhanced
DVD version is softer and weaker.
the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Deception is the weakest presentation here with a constantly,
unnecessarily soft look and way more motion blur that a new production should
have. Is it a disc defect or did someone
mess up in the downtrade transfer? Who
knows, but anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 black and white image on House actually looks better despite
being so much older and having more than a few soft shots of its own. I wonder what went wrong?
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Sadako and Rounds, as
well as the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless mixes on Corpse and Rambler all
have soundfield limits, sometimes recording limits, some minor flaws and land
up in a four way tie for best-sounding release.
I was surprised on how all four also were more towards the front
speakers than they ought to be, but they are. Sadako can’t always keep up
with its effects, Rounds is not well
edited either (even worse on the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 DVD version), Corpse has that sync issue and Rambler does not always have sound that
melds well with its surrealism. The lossy
Dolby Digital 5.1 on Deception is
actually problematic with the dialogue sometimes swept under the mix of sound
and music, plus some location audio is an issue and some sound is just plain
leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on House
more competently recorded and just fine for its age, even faring better than
its image by a slim margin. Glad someone
took care of this film.
To order The House Of The Seven Hawks, go to
this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at: