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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > Horror > Monster > Science Fiction > Superhero > Technology > Terrorism > Comedy > Spy > Fant > Blood 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 Bl

Blood 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)

Picture: 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-

Here's a new cycle of genre releases that includes a classic, a sequel, a remake and more than a few things we have seen before...

Giorgio 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.

Unfortunately, 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.

A Making Of featurette is the only extra.

In 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.

Still 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.

The 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.

Yes, 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.

Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by David Hedison and film scholar David Del Valle, Fox Movietone News connected to the film, Biography: 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:


Shane 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!

From 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.

Still, 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.

Fans 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.

Extras 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 featurette, Deconstructing 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 film.

For more Iron Man, try these links:

Iron Man [One] (2008) Blu-ray


1994 Animated Series DVD Set


Armored Adventures: The Complete First Season (2008 – 2009) Import Blu-ray Set + DVD Set


Conor 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.

Lutz 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.

Extras include a Trailer and Making Of featurette.

On 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.

Elliot 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.

Extras include three featurettes: The Magic Of Sinbad, The Magic Of Malta and The Magical Costumes Of Sinbad. For more Sinbad, try this link to the Blu-ray of the 1958 classic The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad:


Kevin 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 Max/Omega 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.

Trejo 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.

A trailer is the only extra.

Also 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?

Just matching it is the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on The Fly, 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.

Director of Photography Karl Struss (Chaplin's The Great Dictator, the 1932 The Island Of Lost Souls (see the Criterion Blu-ray reviewed elsewhere on this site), Murnau's Sunrise) 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 success.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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