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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > Murder > Fantasy > Adventure > Supernatural > Battles > War > Western > Corruption > Pre Code > Broken Mile (2016/Gravitas Ventures Blu-ray)/Conan The Barbarian 4K (2011/Millennium/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Crossfire (1933/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)/Doberman Cop (1977/MVD Visual/Arro

Broken Mile (2016/Gravitas Ventures Blu-ray)/Conan The Barbarian 4K (2011/Millennium/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Crossfire (1933/RKO/Warner Archive DVD)/Doberman Cop (1977/MVD Visual/Arrow Blu-ray w/DVD)/Face 2 Face (2016/Candy Factory DVD)/The Legend Of Hercules 4K (2014/Summit/Millennium/Lionsgate 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray 3D & Blu-ray 2D)/The Lion & The Horse (1952/Warner Archive DVD)/The Originals: The Complete Fourth Season (2016 - 2017/Warner DVD Set)



4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ 3D Picture: B- Picture: B/B/C+/B+ & B/B/B/C/B- Sound: B/B+ & B/C+/B+ & B/B/B+ & B/C+/B- Extras: C+/B-/D/B/D/C/D/C+ Main Programs: C/B-/C+/B/C-/C-/C+/C



PLEASE NOTE: The Crossfire and The Lion & The Horse DVDs are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Broken Mile


Inspired by Crank and films of the like, Broken Mile (2016) is a one shot (as in no cuts - though I'm sure in reality there are some that are just cleverly edited) action movie that aims to put you in the seat of an action packed circumstance to which there is no escape. While the film has some interesting camera work and scenes that have some good tension, it ultimately feels a little staged and unrealistic, despite its best efforts.


The film stars Francesco Filice, Caleigh Le Grand and Patrick McFadden.


When a drugged up man (Filice) discovers his girl dead in his apartment, he soon scrabbles to reach out to anyone that can help. Involving his poor ex-girlfriend (Le Grand) into the mix, the two are soon on the run from a pack of murderer who follows them all around the city with the intension of murder. Of course, along the way, there are many close calls and adventure ensues.


Presented in 1080p Blu-ray high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.34:1 and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless mix, the presentation isn't half bad for this digitally shot film, however it won't blow you away. Skin tones seem to mostly be on point with the film taking place mainly at night. The shaky cam filmmaking style of the movie helps hide some visual issues as the camera is always in motion, which may or may not be your cup of tea as a viewer.


Special Features include...


Director and Actor Commentary (two separate tracks)

Behind the Scenes

Q&A at Canadian Film Fest 2017

Full Rehearsal Take

Trailer, Early Sales Trailer

Photo Gallery


Not terrible for a low budget action thriller, Broken Mile has some moments and is an interesting effort in 'no cut' filmmaking.



Conan The Barbarian (2011)


After two films a long time ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger quit the role of Conan and never returned, with his first film a hit, the second a big disaster (and we'll skip that as-awful Sheena spin-off film) leaving the character stuck in novels, comic books and animated TV shows. However, the Robert E. Howard-created character has a big following and a new feature film was inevitable, so I was happy to hear that a new one was on the way a few years ago and they had landed a potentially good choice with Jason Momoa in the title role. Then they added Director Marcus Nispel and I knew it could be interesting.


Conan The Barbarian (2011) was the result, starting with an origins section and not only being faithful to the original books, but to the Frank Frazetta art (as had the earlier Arnold film), so they were really trying to make this work, then Momoa shows up and the film kicks in and manages to concentrate enough to stick to the world, subject and storyline. We don't see that much in big budget filmmaking today, but that was refreshing. Can Conan avenge himself against evil men who killed his people and still defeat a deadly supernatural menace?


The film has more surprises, especially for fans who know the material and character, but I'll stop there. Nispel has a reputation for being a sometimes (very) difficult director to work for, but in real life, he has the talent and can pit rich, dense, memorable images on the screen. Despite a few false notes and moments in parts, the film is as good as anything filmed on the character before and Momoa is at least as believable as his predecessor in the role. Unfortunately, the critics (do they even read books anymore?) did not get it or support it, nor did enough of the fans, leading the producing studios to back it only so much.


Six years later, Momoa is about to take the world by storm as Aquaman, there is no new Conan film (though talk of Arnold returning in a King Conan with no less than Paul Verhoeven directing was a talked of item that has yet to surface) and those who failed to make this a hit will be sorry when the actual Aquaman film arrives. Momoa could have been in a whole new Conan series and the films could have gotten better and better, which is the sense you'll get if you see this film. Glad to see it on 4K Blu-ray because it deserves a second chance if any commercial film of the last decade does. Now, people can rediscover it.



The 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10-Bit color; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image is a pleasant surprise here, the film shot on 35mm film, may have been finished in lower HD (via its digital effects in part), but the image is better than the already-decent 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the regular Blu-ray, which looks about as good as it could in that format. Director of Photography Thomas Kloss pulls off a better job here than he'll probably ever get credit for and his work is already holding up better than most such fantasy genre films, with extensive digital work that came out at the same time. As a plus, he shoots the outdoor and other location segments very nicely.


As for sound, I like the sound design on the film, very creative at times, taking advantage of the genres it is part of instead of just coasting as most such films do on loud noises and boring, predictable mixing. So good it is that the 4K version has been upgraded to a Dolby Atmos 11.1 mix (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) that gets more out of an already smart mix and makes the film all that more engaging. The regular 1080p Blu-ray has a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that was already solid, impressive and good, but the Atmos is just that much more revealing. All the mixes are really good, however.


Extras include two feature length audio commentary tracks (one by Nispel, the other by Momoa and co-star Rose McGowan), the Original Theatrical Trailer and four Making Of featurettes in The Conan Legacy, Robert E. Howard: The Man Who Would Be Conan, Battle Royal: Engineering the Action and Staging The Fights.


Yes, the film is fun and not just another over-digitized B-movie. Rose McGowan, Steven Lang, Ron Perlman, Saïd Taghmaoui, Raad Rawi and Laila Rouass make up the convincing supporting cast in this nearly-star making turn for Momoa. Now's the time to catch up to it!



Crossfire


Otto Brower's Crossfire (1933) is a tale of greed and backstabbing in the very late years of the Old West as WWI (yes, World War One!) as then genre start Tom Keene is a foreman at a mining company who goes off to fight for his country, an absence taken advantage of by Bert King (Edward Phillips) who kills one of the board members left behind and intends to exploit the mine and its workers. When Tom Allan (Keene) returns, he meets up with an old local friend (Comic legend Edward Kennedy) and finds out the whole ugly situation.., and will do something about it.


This is about an hour long and was intended as a programmer (put it on a double feature, use it as a B-movie, etc.) and for that, it is not bad, able to criticize greed a little more than would have been possible later with the Movie Code that kicked in a few years later. It is worth a look for being so different and is worth a look if you are interested.


The 1.33 X 1 black & white image comes from a 35mm print that is not perfect, but it is in pretty good shape for its age and is easy to view, while the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono shows its age, but is cleaner and clearer than expected. There are no extras.



Doberman Cop


Arrow has been showcasing many films from Director Kinki Fukasaku lately including Cops and Thugs (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and the Battle Without Honor and Humanity Trilogy. This departure from the usual Yakuza fair, is more of a crime/marital arts movie that stars the legendary Sonny Chiba (Street Fighter) and is based on a manga series. Thanks to Arrow, this is the first time that the film has been released to other markets aside from Japan.


Chiba stars as Kano, a Police Officer who is after a murderer of women, who goes as far as burning them alive horrifically. When Kano goes to Tokyo's Kabuki-cho nightlife district to investigate, he's met with assumptions that he doesn't have what it takes to solve the case. Soon, he proves everyone wrong as his tough nature and bright motives end up a valuable asset in this challenging case.


Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and its original uncompressed PCM Mono track (with new English subs), the presentation on the disc is pretty startling when you think about the age and low budget nature of the film. This HD digital remastered print shines on Blu-ray and looks even good still on the included standard definition DVD release (with the same widescreen specs and a compressed mono track).


Special Features...


Beyond the Film: Doberman Cop, a new video appreciation by Fukasaku biographer Sadao Yamane


New video interview with actor Shinichi 'Sonny' Chiba


New video interview with screenwriter Koji Takada


Original theatrical trailer


Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon


FIRST PRESSING ONLY:


Illustrated collector's book featuring new writing on the new films by Patrick Macias and Tom Mes



Face 2 Face


Another film that may appeal to the teen audience, Face 2 Face (2016) is not to be confused with other films that have a similar title (in which there are several.) The film aims to be experimental telling a story through webcams but ultimately ends up being pretty hammy, centering around (what else) the challenges of being a teen and popularity. A Toronto Brothers film, this exploration in teen angst is sure to make adult viewers roll their eyes more than once.


I can see the gimmick and budget saving reasons for wanting to green light a film in this filmmaking style, but it grows old pretty quickly and doesn't seem real at all, but more like two mediocre teen actors thinking they are baiting for an Oscar.


The film stars Daniela Bobadilla, Daniel Amerman, Kevin McCorkle, and Mary Gordon Murray.


The unpopular kid gets to talk to the hot popular girl via a web chat. At first, putting her on a pedestal and thinking she's the greatest thing since sliced bread, the tone shifts as he soon realizes that she has problems just like everyone else that exceed her appearance and social stature. Go figure.


Presented in standard definition with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix, the presentation isn't anything special nor revolting. Compression is evident and skin tones are hardly detailed, however seeing the experimental nature of the film it's passable.


No extras.


After 88 minutes of staring at these two faces if you aren't annoyed or feel a little bit like you're watching two strangers in a chat room, then you may need to seek mental help.



The Legend Of Hercules (2011)


Kellan Lutz is this generations Dolph Lundgren, an action actor looking for a franchise, but no one in Hollywood or beyond seems to know what to do with him, despite likability and potential. One of his few big leads so far is in The Legend Of Hercules (2011) as the title character. It was released around the time the hideous Dwayne Johnson Hercules was issued, which did a bit better at the box office, but was not comparatively not as good. We reviewed Lutz's version in its Blu-ray 3D/2D release a few years ago at this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/12820/The+Legend+Of+Hercules+3D+(2014/Summit/Mill


Needless to say this film was barely much better, but in real life, hardly any Hercules film has ever been good, so I had few expectations of this film and that was met. I don't get why Lutz's version practically has some kind of British accent, but none of these films (or the lice action TV shows over the years) have limited logic. Either way, Lutz does what he can with the limited material and bored directing, so this is a curio at best.


In that, one asks how good this might look or sound. The 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the new 4K version corrects flaws from the other presentations and is barely the best of the three, but the 5K shoot was finished in 2K at the time and that means the poorer digital works stays that way.


The 4K Blu-ray case sadly failed to note the Blu-ray 3D version is on here, but we do get the same 1080p 1.85 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image with the 2D 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer from our previous coverage and the 2D is good if not great and 3D is a mixed bag. If you are going to watch the film, 4K is your best option if available.


As for sound, the original soundmaster has been expanded for the 4K version, so we get a Dolby Atmos 11.1 (playing as Dolby TrueHD 7.1 on older systems) that is a little clearer and more articulate than the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix from the 3D and 2D versions. That was a default highlight of that release, but the Atmos has a slight edge.


Extras repeat the previous release, including Digital Copy.



The Lion & The Horse


Last but no least is Louis King's nature drama The Lion & The Horse (1952) has Steve Cochran as a cowboy with a horse he is connected to like a best friend, which is at a peak when an evil circus owner (Ray Teal) snags the horse for his own purposes, so he goes to get the horse back. This works until the greedy owner wants revenge and they all have to be on the lookout for a deadly killer lion.


This is a mixed bag of a then-modern Western action piece, though the decent cast also includes Tom Tyler, Sherry Jackson, Harry Antrim, Bob Steele and George O'Hanlon. It also drags a bit at 84 minutes and has its share of cliches. Amusingly, the horse is named Wildfire and one wonders if that inspired the big 1970s pop hit of the same name by Michael Murphy.


The 1.33 X 1 image was issued originally in WarnerColor, but that color is inconsistent, sometimes faded more than it should be and the film needs restored. At least the sound is good enough here in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono that is more like it. There are no extras.



The Originals: The Complete Fourth Season


The Originals (a spin off of The Vampire Diaries) reminds me a lot of Supernatural in that it has some cool horror ideas and draws inspiration from notable sources, but is weighed down by its too pretty and perfect looking cast. While interesting from a visual and filmmaking perspective, it's hard to get past the subpar digital effects and offscreen implied violence that can't help but stir up bad memories of the Twilight movies. For a young adult or teen audience, however, I can see the appeal that it may have.


The show stars Joseph Morgan, Phoebe Tonkin, and Daniel Gillies to name a few.


The Originals centers around a dramatic and tense vampiric family, who once built New Orleans and are now desperate to regain it back. Centering around Klaus, a Vampire/Werewolf hybrid (but not as cool or vicious as the ones in the Underworld films), he must face off with his former protege who has succeeded him.


13 Episodes make up Season 4 and include Gather Up The Killers, No Quarter, Haunter of Ruins, Keepers of the House, I Hear You Knocking, Bag of Cobras, High Water and a Devil's Daughter, Voodoo in my Blood, Queen Death, Phantomesque, A Spirit Here That Won't Be Broken, Voodoo Child, and The Feast of All Sinners.


Presented in standard definition on DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 track, the presentation here is on par with the original television broadcast (HD notwithstanding), yet shows some noticeable compression evident in standard definition releases. A Blu-ray version is also available, that no doubt fixes these issues. Still, being commercial and watermark free, even in standard definition the is superior to its original television form.



Special Features...


2016 Comic-Con Panel


Come Visit Georgia


Unaired Scenes


Gag Reel




To order either of the Warner Archive DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- James Lockhart & Nicholas Sheffo (4Ks, Warner Archive DVDs)

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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