Of Redemption (2013/E1 Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Fly (1958/Fox
Blu-ray)/Iron Man 3 (2013/Marvel/Disney/Paramount
Blu-ray)/Java Heat (2012/MPI/IFC Blu-ray)/Sinbad: The
Complete First Season (2012/BBC Blu-rays)/Zombie Hunter
(2013/Well Go USA Blu-ray)
C+ & C/B/B/B-/B-/B- Sound: C+/B-/B+/B-/C+/B- Extras:
C-/B-/C+/C/C/C- Main Programs: C-/B-/C+/C+/C+/C-
a new cycle of genre releases that includes a classic, a sequel, a
remake and more than a few things we have seen before...
Serafini's Blood Of Redemption
(2013) is the latest Dolph Lundgren B-movie action entry that he has
been churning out for the last few years independently outside the
big studio system happily, but this time has a better guest cast in
Vinnie Jones, Robert Davi and Billy Zane. In this tale of a hitman
(Lundgren) who was betrayed after so much good dirty work and lives
to go for revenge, this could have been a breakthrough film with a
cast this good playing this well to the camera.
it is a sloppy script, directing job, has sloppy editing and wastes
every opportunity it has including Zane as a villain and a cast of
underused, underrated actors who can more than hold their own
physically. That's a shame because I had early hopes as I started
watching, but they quickly collapsed and it just got weaker and
weaker from there. How unfortunate.
Making Of featurette is the only extra.
1958, Fox found themselves succeeding in Universal Monster movie
territory when they released the first film of The
Fly (directed by Kurt
Newmann) with David Hedison (credited as Al Hedison here) as a
scientist trying to create teleportation, a machine that can transfer
solid objects at electric-fast speed as an invention to improve the
condition of the human race. However, when a household fly is
trapped when he tries to experiment with it on his own, he becomes a
horrible, hideous creature and an all-time cinematic monster classic
and classic monster was born.
creepy and entertaining as ever, the implications of what the film
implies are as relevant and as disturbing now as they ever were,
including the idea that you could loose the wholeness of your body to
a freak accident, to science and in the best of intents. The
screenplay thinks this all the way through down to a horrific final
scene that freaked out audiences like nothing since 1955's Diabolique
(see the Criterion Blu-ray review elsewhere on this site) and only to
be topped a few years later by Hitchcock's Psycho
(also reviewed on the site) so effective is the film.
dated technology is fun, Vincent Price turns in one of his legendary
horror film performances and this one is one of the most important he
ever gave, Patricia Owens is a fine female lead, Herbert Marshall
holds his own as the police inspector and the late great comic
actress Kathleen Freeman rounds things off as Emma.
this more than holds its own against David Cronenberg's successful
1986 sequel and inspired two sequels of its own, so on its 55th
Anniversary, it is a genre classic everyone should revisit (or see
for the first time if you've never been lucky to see it before) and
see what happens when filmmakers make the best choices at almost
every turn. Remarkably, it is the best release on this list.
include a feature length audio commentary track by David Hedison and
film scholar David Del Valle, Fox Movietone News connected to the
Vincent Price episode
from AMC Network and featurette Fly
Trap: Catching A Classic.
For a look at David Cronenberg's successful 1986 sequel, go to this
link for our look at the Blu-ray release:
Black's Iron Man 3
(2013) does not pick up where the disappointing Iron
Man 2 left off, but where
the Marvel Avengers
ended and that inadvertently makes it the follow-up to Avengers
as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) tries to keep his relationship with
Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) but still acting like a silly teenager with
all is gadgets. This has him leaving his guard down when a terrorist
called The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley, sounding like Walter Cronkite as a
slowly angry psycho) who is ready to bomb everything. Yet, something
else is going on and when Stark, who everyone has known is Iron Man
since the ending of the debut film by revealing it, challenges
Mandarin and has his mansion promptly attacked!
there, it gets goofier with the U.S. Government repainting one of his
power suits for his friend Colonel Rhodes (still replacement actor
Don Cheadle) in patriotic colors. We get more twists and turns, some
of which work, some that don't, then an ending that is one of the
oddest in any film we have seen of late despite familiarities that is
more anti-climactic than expected.
the money is actually on the screen here, some of the humor works and
Downey is in fine form, as is the rest of the cast. Black, who
co-wrote the script, takes over from Jon Favreau, who still shows up
as Stark's one-time chauffeur and friend, while Black and Downey
reunite after the cult success of their comedy Kiss
Kiss Bang Bang with much
larger commercial success.
know there is also a Chinese version with different scenes and two
other lead actors, but those scenes are not in this cut or anywhere
in the extras on this Blu-ray release. Still, this is better than
the second film/first sequel, but not the 2008 first film which it is
still in the shadow of. Being struck is what ultimately undoes the
energy we do get and it may have too much humor and not enough story
or substance in the villainy, trying to juggle more than it can.
Still, it is good enough that you can understand why it was a hit and
it is far superior to its competitors in the genre like Lone
Ranger (yes, that was
supposed to be a superhero genre work, not a mere western) and Man
Of Steel, so Marvel
Studios pulls off another success. However, they had better try
something new in a 4th
film, or it may not do as well.
includes a standard definition DVD version (unreviewed), while the
Blu-ray adds a feature length audio commentary track by Black and
Co-Writer Drew Pearce, Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes (some of which should
have stayed in), Unmasked
the Scene: Attack On Air Force One
featurette, a preview of the first Thor
sequel and new short film on Agent
Carter as a precursor to
the next Captain America
more Iron Man, try these links:
Animated Series DVD Set
Adventures: The Complete First Season
(2008 – 2009) Import Blu-ray Set +
Allyn's Java Heat
(2012) is a somewhat ambitious actioner with Twlight
star Kellan Lutz as a college student in Indonesia who is at the
scene of a terrorist bombing when he is arrested under suspicion of
maybe doing the bombing, but he is released by the local police
detective (Ario Bado) who is not sure who he is. They keep meeting
until we find out, but after a few more twists (and some good
dialogue for once), it turns out a psychotic opportunist (Mickey
Rourke, not playing the usual boo-hiss villain) may be the deadliest
person involved of all.
has some good moments here, but a few bad ones as the script makes
him dumber than he should be and this, along with too many spots of
predictability make what could have been a really fine genre film
cheaper than it should have been. The visual style does not help
either, but by following too many conventions, this is an interesting
curio at best with some good talent involved. Based on this, Lutz
has a chance to be a real action star, especially with the played out
older stars who need to retire and lack of serious newcomers. Hope
his next scripts are better.
include a Trailer and Making Of featurette.
a role with male-based formula hero shows, the BBC has decided to
make Sinbad: The Complete
First Season (2012) as an
ongoing fantasy show and to its credit, it is better than many recent
attempts, though some might want to think of this as a 'young Sinbad'
show and has the most realistic ethnic diversity of any attempt to
date. Fortunately, it translates into much needed realism, but
unfortunately, the teleplays are soap operas with some action, magic
and other played-out genre elements that don't make this as memorable
as it could have been.
Knight is convincing in the title role and can carry the show, but
the 12 episodes here over 2 Blu-rays only added up to so much when
all was said and done, so unless he can become a star out of this,
the writing better become more creative. It is a visually solid
production and the makers are trying to make the show stand out from
its competitors, but whether that can sustain the show is hard to
tell. We'll see if it grows from here.
include three featurettes: The
Magic Of Sinbad,
Magic Of Malta
Magical Costumes Of Sinbad.
For more Sinbad, try this link to the Blu-ray of the 1958 classic
Voyage Of Sinbad:
King's Zombie Hunter
(2013) has a cover that suggests this is solely a Danny Trejo action
film with dark comedy like Machete,
but Martin Copping is actually the Mad
Man-like title character
out to stop killer zombies and more. Done in a tired cartoon style
(figuratively and literally when cheap digital animation is added),
it is a boring, silly, formulaic romp that never does anything
original, is never amusing and disappoints throughout.
is not even in the film long enough as we also get rip-offs of
Equinox, the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre and
anything else that comes to the minds of the bored writers. In the
end, it was one big yawn and not even a good curio.
trailer is the only extra.
issued in Blu-ray 3D, the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition
image transfer on Iron Man 3 is an all-HD shoot with the
popular Arri Alexa and though we get the occasional flaws and issues
with that format, this is a very well-shot work in the hands of
Director of Photography John Tull, A.S.C. (The Thin Red Line,
Braveheart) does a fine job making this look good, but it
still shows its digital limits. Wonder if the 3D looks better?
matching it is the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image
transfer on The
which shows the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the film and though not a
dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor version of the film, some shots
look like it (down to some flaws). It was actually issued in DeLuxe
color and we get some orangeish shots that suggest some material is
from a photochemical internegative, but color at its best here is
impressive and why the cover of the Blu-ray is in black and white
makes zero sense.
of Photography Karl Struss (Chaplin's The
the 1932 The
Island Of Lost Souls
(see the Criterion Blu-ray reviewed elsewhere on this site), Murnau's
had plenty of experience behind the camera when he shot this film and
here at the end of his career, proved he could handle color and the
very widescreen frame very memorably, helping to make this a huge
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Java
(shot on 35mm Kodak film with HawkScope lenses) and 1080p 1.78 X 1
digital High Definition image transfers on Sinbad and Zombie
tie for second place, looking weak in parts in detail, Video Black
and color range, but all also have their digital work and styling
that holds back better overall performance, especially on Java.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Blood
is even poorer, more styled, more sloppy and the worst HD performer
here, so the anamorphically enhanced DVD version that is softer and
even more color-weak is easily the poorest performer on the list.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on Iron Man 3 is
easily the best sound mix here, integrating its sound effects,
dialogue, ambiance, music and semi-quiet moments into another
impressive soundfield that never wavers and is a real pleasure to
enjoy. Originally issued at its best in the new Dolby Atmos 11.1
format in theaters specially equipped to play those tracks, even the
.1 LFE sub-woofer sounds are exceptionally presented.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Java and Zombie
in a far back second place with inconsistent soundfields, dialogue
that is uneven and in Zombie's case is a bit more sloppy.
That is why the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 4.0 lossless mix on The
Fly that reproduces the original 4-track magnetic stereo tracks
on the best 35mm prints of the film can more than compete with those
newer films. Despite some age and fidelity issues, we get fine
traveling dialogue and sound effects, the music sounds good and it is
as professional a job as the other two.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Blood is even
poorer, so much so that its DVD version with a lossy Dolby Digital
5.1 sounds very much the same, showing some very bad recording and
mixing choices throughout, which is why the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Stereo on Sinbad can more than compete, still sounding good,
mistakenly credited as DTS-MA on the package and likely would have
sounded better lossless. Why the last-minute change is odd, but it
does not help the release, especially when it might have been second
best on this list if given a chance.