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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Martial Arts > Crime > Hunt > Revenge > Heist > Con Artists > Magic > Comedy > Detective > Mystery > Hard Target 2 (2016/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Now You See Me 2 (2016/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Tony Rome (1967)/Lady In Cement (1968/Sinatra/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)

Hard Target 2 (2016/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Now You See Me 2 (2016/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Tony Rome (1967)/Lady In Cement (1968/Sinatra/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B- & C/B/B Sound: B- & C+/B+/C+ Extras: C-/C-/B Films: C-/C-/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Tony Rome/Lady In Cement Frank Sinatra double feature Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last from the links below.

If you want to be cool in a feature film, there is the correct way to do it and many bad ways that will lead to failure. These latest Blu-ray releases show us how....

Roel Reine's extremely belated sequel Hard Target 2 (2016) really has nothing to do with the Jean-Claude Van Damme hit from eons ago, this time featuring Scott Adkins going to Myanmar to get into fighting since he feel from grace the same way in the U.S., but of course, it is a lie and he is been lured into a hunting game where he is the top prize. Thus he has to fight to survive, including survive this highly cliched script that helps this dud run for 104 minutes. Universal waited this long for this bad idea, so this is how they filled it all in?

Stunts are often subpar, digital effects lame and choreography for the fights nothing special. Guess they thought Van Damme was too old to rehire? Highly forgettable and not worth your time, target another action film if you must.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the discs add Deleted Scenes, four Making Of featurettes and a feature length audio commentary by Reine, Adkins and Robert Knepper, et al.

Jon M. Chu's Now You See Me 2 (2016) is a sequel to the first film of the nearly same title (subtract the '2'...) in what was just luck on Lionsgate and Summit's part combining Ocean's 11 and The Italian Job remake with a magic trick gimmick. The Four Horsemen are back with more magic tricks for their Vegas audiences, making other people's money 'mysteriously' disappear in the process. However, at a long 129 minutes, even a good cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine (from the original Italian Job) can save us from this very predictable script.

The not so fantastic four want revenge on Radcliffe's character and dealing with the FBI in the process, the script has them traveling to other countries (pumping up the budget, no doubt) leading to more of a boring digital travelogue with no wit than anything resembling a fun or smart film. It would have been nice if this were one of those rare sequels where it was better than the original (not a hard thing to do in this case), but that is not the case. Look forward to seeing all these fine actors and locales in better films next time. Oh well...

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the regular Blu-ray adds three Making Of featurettes and (two are Blu-ray exclusives) and a feature length audio commentary by Director Chu.

Now for the way to really pull it off being cool, starting with not trying so hard. Gordon Douglas directed both of Frank Sinatra's outings as the boat-residing detective Tony Rome in Tony Rome (1967) and Lady In Cement (1968). They also happen to be two of Sinatra's best films and did well in their original theatrical release, but he and Fox quit while they were ahead. We previously reviewed the two films a while ago on DVD at the following links...

Tony Rome


Lady In Cement


The films hold up well and are fun to watch again, with Jill St. John great as the first film's female lead, Rachel Welch as the lead gal in the second. Nice they are together on one disc (nice they fit on one!) and glad to see them finally arrive in high definition. Sinatra is in rare form here, fun yet effective in mature material always interesting to watch. Lainie Kazan fans will be happy to see her in Lady too, showing that cool also has to do with picking great people and knowing what to do with them.

Extras many not include the many Sinatra trailers of the DVD version, but you get a new, nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds Original Theatrical Trailers, Isolated Music Scores with some sound effects and a brand new, excellent feature length audio commentary track by film scholars Lee Pfeiffer, Eddy Friedfeld, Anthony Latino and Paul Scrabo. All that makes this a solid Sinatra collectible.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image on Me 2 is the best performer here as expected, but it is only marginally better than the 1080p regular Blu-ray resolving Video Black and some color a bit more. Otherwise, the image is too gaudy for its own good, but the 4K version is more naturalistic, professional and pleasant by comparison.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Target 2 has some motion blur issues and is not a great HD shoot, especially by today's standards, so you can imagine the anamorphically enhanced DVD version has more blur and less stability, as it does. Weak all around.

Fortunately, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Rome and Lady confirm how good both films look and we were impressed with the DVDs back in the day. The Deluxe color and real anamorphic 35mm Panavision display better color range, detail and depth than those DVDs and make both films more involving. Fans of film and Sinatra alike will be impressed.

As for sound, both the 2160p 4K and 1080p regular Blu-ray versions of Me 2 have Dolby Atmos 11.1 mixes that are pretty decent throughout if not outstanding uses pf the format. That's still enough to make it the sonically best presentation here as the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 or 5.1 lossless mix on Target 2 has an inconsistent soundfield (a situation made worse on the DVD with its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix), so it is not impressive and not even as good as the original Van Damme film for that matter.

Though some simple stereo versions were included on the DVDs, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes on Rome and Lady still manage to sound a bit better than their DVD's lossy Dolby Digital counterparts, though the music even sounds better than the final film mixes in the lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo isolated music scores. We should note that on the title song of Tony Rome by Nancy Sinatra, the isolated score is there minus her vocal performance, but it is a nice bonus to have the song that way. If you want to hear the song in stereo in the best possible way, you'll have to go out and the get the Super Audio CD edition of her hits set we reviewed at this link....


To order the Tony Rome/Lady In Cement Frank Sinatra double feature limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:




- Nicholas Sheffo


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