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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Drama > Drugs > Murder > Police > Treasure > Adventure > British > Action > Martial Arts > Gangsters > S > Badge Of Honor (2013/Hollywood Media Bridge DVD)/The Secret Of Monte Cristo (1961/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Extraction (2015/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Sociopathia (2015/Cinema Epoch DVD)

Badge Of Honor (2013/Hollywood Media Bridge DVD)/The Secret Of Monte Cristo (1961/MGM/Warner Archive DVD)/Extraction (2015/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Sociopathia (2015/Cinema Epoch DVD)

Picture: C/C/B-/C+ Sound: C+/C/B-/C+ Extras: D/C-/C/C Films: C+/C/C/C

PLEASE NOTE: The Secret Of Monte Cristo DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

The following are genre films that tried, but did not always succeed...

Agustin's Badge Of Honor (2013) starts out as a surprisingly good police drama about a drug bust/money robbery gone wrong that gets an innocent, unarmed child shot to death by one of the cops. Turns out his partner knew about the deal in advance and was trying to get al the money for himself. Their boss (Martin Sheen) is sure the lie they come up with that he was armed is true, but another police figure (Patrick Muldoon) is not taking chances and gets a new gal into internal affairs (the underrated Mena Suvari) to conduct her own investigation.

Of course, she starts to slowly unravel that something wrong is going on, but the bad cop and other bad guys are a bit ahead of her for a while. The script is not bad and the film has some intense energy, but its ideas of realism and violence go over the top one too many times because the makers are trying way too hard and much harder than they should have. Jesse Bradford, Haylie Duff, Lochlyn Munro and Nastasha Henstridge help round out a decent cast, but the script and a director a little out of control, plus one too many cliches pull this one down when less would have been more. Still, it is worth a good look for what works and is easily the best release here.

There are no extras.

Future TV super-producers Robert S. Baker (The Saint, Return Of The Saint) and Monty Berman (a slew of other ITC action series) co-directed The Secret Of Monte Cristo (1961), not a big screen version of the ITC show with George Dolenz (Monkee Mickey Dolenz's father) from 1956 (reviewed elsewhere on this site), but a big screen, widescreen semi-actioner with Rory Calhoun (usually known for Westerns) as a Captain looking for a treasure hidden in the land of Monte Cristo, so we get no Count here. John Gregson, Ian Hunter, Peter Arne, Gianna Maria Canale and Patricia Bredin join in to put together the separate pieces of the map to find the loot. Can they find it without betrayal and worse?

MGM picked up this British production with a moderate budget and Warner Archive is now issuing it owning the older MGM films. I give the makers credit for putting as much money on screen as they could and trying to make this work, but it is an odd film that tries to do more than it should and cannot get one thing to work all the way. However, between its stars and the co-directors, it is a curio I was glad to see, even if it was ultimately a bit disappointing. Maybe Baker and Berman learned from this to speed things up, thus joining Lord Lew Grade in building one of the greatest TV production empires of all time. Also, Dyaliscope has an unusual look to it, so seeing it for that is also a good reason for checking it out.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

Stephen C. Miller's Extraction (2015) has Bruce Willis as a CIA operative who lost his wife years ago, then goes missing when his son (Kellan Lutz) keeps trying to join the Agency and keeps getting rejected, Three guesses as to who is stopping that from happening. From there, we get a contrived plot where everyone follows a device that can cause cyber-interferrence that is never conniving, some lame dialogue, some funny moments, unintentionally funny ones and Gina Carano shows up in a move that stops this from being worse.

Of course, she knows Lutz's character form a previous time, so they team up to solve the problems at hand, but the chemistry does not always click, while the action is above average at best down to so-so choreography. By the end, it is just lame and preposterous with Willis not in it enough and Lutz once again his own worst enemy just picking up any script that does not help him or his career out much. With more work, this might have been better, but it wears too thin in the end and is too impressed with itself to boot.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds extended Cast/Crew Interviews, a feature length audio commentary track by Miller & Lutz, a Making Of featurette and Deleted/Extended Scenes.

Rich Mallory & Ruby Larocca co-directed Sociopathia (2015), but did this really need two people at the helm? It is a simple story of a young woman (Tammy Jean) who talks to dolls, cuts up dolls and also does this to sexy women she beings home to have sex with. A formulaic tale we've seen better and before in several 1960s films (and onward), it was amazing how many good-looking women happened to tbe around to seduce, kill and mutilate, the ending was predictable like the rest of the film and it is as humorless as it is unoriginal. Yes, it is more graphic, but to no avail.

We won't even go into how it pop trivializes mental illness, with its retro-stereotypes that are played out on arrival, but with some concentration and a much better script, this could have worked because some of the look is not bad.

Extras in include an Original Theatrical Trailer, Deleted Scenes and alternative black and white version that has no difference in its cut or footage.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Extraction is not perfect and has styled-down shots and some bad digital shots, but it is the best performer on the list by being the only Blu-ray and the most pricey of the newer productions by default. Still, some shots are sloppy and a few moments are flat out lame.

If the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Cristo is lame, it is only because some of the visual effects have dated, as the film otherwise has the most consistent look of the four releases. Shot in real anamorphic 35mm Dyaliscope and issued in Eastmancolor (Kodak) film stocks, this print is a bit inconsistent and the transfer soft, but you can see some good shots here just the same. Composition is not bad, but could be more kinetic.

That leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the other two DVDs with Badge also looking good, but being too soft too often and having its own motion blur issues. It is with some surprise then that Sociopathia is the best of the DVDs, in color and black and white, with the color being fine if not great, while the monochrome is inky and not just the color turned off for the so-called director's cut.

In the sound department, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Extraction is pumped up for action as expected, but still has some soundfield issues, inconsistencies and some location audio is not up to par. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Badge and Sociopathia showing their low-budgets, yet Badge manages to be the most consistent of all 5.1 mixes here, leaving the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Cristo the sonic last-place performer and is as second-generation as its image. Restoration work needs done for this film, so in the meantime, be careful of high volumes and volume switching in this case.

To order The Secret Of Monte Cristo Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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