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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Korea > Fantasy > Action > Epic > Martial Arts > Magic > China > Crime > Monster > Horror > A Taxi Driver (2017/Well Go Blu-ray)/Maze Runner: Death Cure 4K (2017/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Monkey King 3 (2018 w/DVD)/Once Upon A Time (2017)/Paradox (2017 w/DVD/all 3 Well Go Blu-rays)/

A Taxi Driver (2017/Well Go Blu-ray)/Maze Runner: Death Cure 4K (2017/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Monkey King 3 (2018 w/DVD)/Once Upon A Time (2017)/Paradox (2017 w/DVD/all 3 Well Go Blu-rays)/Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell (2018/aka Tremors 6/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

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

Here's a new set of major genre releases for you to hear about...

A down-on-his-luck Seoul Taxi driver finds himself with a foreign journalist who wants to go to Gwangju for a day. Only thing is, Gwangju has been closed off by the military and there is a media blackout, the phone lines have been cut and no one is allowed to go in or out. They arrive only to discover a military dictatorship is clashing with student protesters over freedom. What started out as an ordinary taxi fare turns out to be a turning point in the history of South Korea in A Taxi Driver (2017).

Seoul taxi man Kim Sa-bok one day hears about a fare of a lifetime when he overhears German Journalist Hinzpeter want to go Gwangju, but what he doesn't know is it has been closed off to the world and the government doesn't want the world to know the truth. After arriving in Gwangju, they witness and record the military openly fire and kill students, but when the military finds out Hinzpeter has recorded them they try seal off the city and hunt them down before they can get out. At first, Kim Sa-bok was only in it for the money, but after seeing his own county gun down kids in the street, he has a change of heart and realize how important Hinzpeter and his report is this to the world. Along with other Gwangju taxi-drivers/brothers-in-arms they fight to help Kim Sa-bok and Hinzpeter out of Gwangju safely.

Based on a true story of a turning point in Korean history, it reminds people of the importance of media and how military dictatorship should never be tolerated or quietly accepted, at these points in time it is more important to think beyond our self interests and how history will remember us. Even a group of taxi drivers can change the course of history. Extras include a message from Hinzpeter and trailers.

Overly long and dull, the third and final entry in the Maze Runner series, Maze Runner: Death Cure 4 (2017), comes to disc and is proof that even a huge Hollywood budget can't save a weak cast and weaker script. Essentially throwing Mad Max and The Hunger Games into a blender, the Maze Runner series wants to appeal to genre fans but still feels (to this reviewer at least) as too over the top and lame for its own good. The 4K presentation here is impressive, however, and delivers on the technical fronts that one would expect despite the lackluster feature itself.

Directed by Wes Ball, the film stars Dylan O'Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Rosa Salazar, Ki Hong Lee, Dexter Darden, and Kaya Scodelario. It is a little bold (and almost odd) that no huge names are in this film... I mean even the failed Divergent series had Kate Winslet!

Thomas (O'Brien) leads his group of escaped 'Gladers' on their final high stakes mission in an effort to save their lost friends. They soon realize that they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth, that's of course the most complex maze they have faced yet. Anyone who makes it out alive (and not many will) can finally get answers to their and hopefully some closure.

Special Features include...

Exclusive 24-page comic book prequel (4K only)

Deleted and Extended Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Wes Ball, T.S. Nowlin, and Joe Hartwick Jr.

4 Featurettes: "The Final Run" , "Dystopia", "Allies Reunited", "A Look Back", "Going Out on Top

Gag Reel

Visual Effects with Optional Commentary

Audio Commentary by Wes Ball, T.S. Nowlin and Joe Hartwick Jr.

The Monkey King and company returns for a 3rd movie in their epic journey to the West. This time they face their greatest challenge of all ...women in The Monkey King 3 (2018). They enter the Land of Women where no man is allowed and find themselves trapped. But even more alarming is when the Queen of the Kingdom of Woman falls in love with their Master (which is totally forbidden too). Caught between adventure, love duty and romance can Wukong save themselves from the fairer gender and their own nature?

Son Wukong, Wujing, Baijian and their Master continue their epic Journey to the West for the holy scriptures. This time, they accidentally entered an enchanted land where there are only woman (and no men are allowed) and women are taught that men are pigs, dogs, and monsters. Men trick women into falling in love with them and then leave them, that love is a curse leaving woman with only broken hearts. Fortunately for them, a group of head strong young females are more curious than cautious. And while Wukong might be the greatest fighter alive, but there is little he can do when it comes to romance. As they search for a way out (safely), they soon discover they must also save the Kingdom from an angry River God.

This was a comical adventure based on The Journey to the West Story, filled with adventure comedy and even a bit a romance. There are incredible CGI action scenes and beautiful vistas set in a fantasy world. In the end they story teaches about virtues and sacrifice. Extras only include trailers, which is odd for such a high profile release.

Once upon a time in ancient China when Gods walked the earth Bai Qian is an earth deity, but she suddenly finds herself in the center of attention when Prince Ye Hua of the Heavens suddenly asks her to become his wife and mother to his son and to come live with them in the Kingdom of Heaven. But not everyone is happy with the prince's decision ...including Bai Qian herself. But as Bai Qian and Ye Hua get to know each other there are forces of both good and evil who threaten to tear them apart in Once Upon A Time (2017).

Bai Qian is a beautiful immortal earth deity, but after attending a Great Sea Ball for the Gods the Prince of Heaven personally asks Bai Qian to become his wife and the next High Goddess. But the Prince believes Bai Qian is the reincarnation of his former wife Su Su who died 300 years ago ...but to Bai Qian she believes she is no one's replacement. As Bai Qian learns more about the Prince's past and Su Su, she also learns about how Prince Ye Hua committed a taboo for marrying a mortal. But even now centuries later various forces and jealous Goddesses are still secretly trying to keep them apart ...and Bai Qian from ever learning the real truth.

This was a beautiful movie filled with a fantasy CGI world about a love story between the Gods, mortals and Goddess that across time and space, a tragic and sweet romance story ...and how love can transcend everything. Extras only include trailers, sadly.

Hong Kong Police officer Lee (Louis Koo) heads toward Thailand after his daughter is reported missing. He teams up with Thailand Detective Kit (Wu Yue) and Tak (Tony Jaa) to help find her. But they soon discover things are far from just a runaway girl from father and that she has been kidnapped by a ring of illegal organ smugglers ...and time is running out for her in Paradox (2017).

Lee follows his daughter's last know location after she has been reported missing for 3 days. After having a fight with his daughter over her teenage pregnancy/abortion, she runs away from him. The local Thailand police tries to help him at first, but they encounter a web of conspiracy to the highest government level, that the mayor needs a heart transplant, Lee's daughter. The detectives then are ordered to stop helping Officer Lee ...or they will not be the only ones who will disappear too. Officers Lee, Kit and Tak then decide to go rogue and to take justice into their own hands ...and no matter what they will find Lee's daughter.

This was a action, martial arts filled movie about vengeance, revenge and the is it worth finding the truth ...even at the cost everything. The movie at first reminded me of Liam Neeson's movie Taken, but with more martial arts, but with more of a conspiracy when the characters discover their own government is behind an illegal organ smuggling ring. Extras include behind the scene characters, making and shooting of the film and trailers.

The sixth installment in the Tremors franchise is Tremors: A Cold Day In Hell (2018, aka Tremors 6), the second film in the series to feature Jamie Kennedy as Burt Gummer's (Michael Gross) sidekick. The horror/comedy series is a guilty pleasure of mine but this one steps things up a notch with a bit more violence and a some clever flashbacks to earlier entries.

This time the graboids are popping up in the Arctic as opposed to the usual desert setting... and these monsters could be the 'first' graboids aka pre-historic creatures. The madness doesn't stop there as Burt and the gang discover that the military is now getting involved in creating 'weaponized' graboids... some that can even infect humans with deadly viruses.

The film also stars Tanya van Graan, Greg Kriek, and Christie Peruso. The director of the previous Tremors film (Bloodlines, reviewed elsewhere on this site), Don Michael Paul, returns here. Tremors was one of the first franchises to make the leap to direct-to-video release dating way back to the VHS days with Tremors 2: Aftershocks (1996) and continuing from there so its nice to see that tradition is keeping alive. Will a Tremors sequel (or inevitable reboot) ever end up in theaters?

Special Features include...

The Making of Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell featurette

Anatomy of a Scene

Inside Chang's Market

Kevin Bacon recently announced that he will be returning to the series as a live action show along with original star Fred Ward, which should be an interesting return indeed. While the effects have definitely improved over the course of the series, the core component is Michael Gross as Burt Gummer... a role that I hope he continues to play.

Now for all the playback quality. Presented on 4K UHD disc in 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and an incredible sounding 11.1 Dolby Atmos track, the HDR-enhanced latest Maze Runner shows little imperfections.. so clear in fact that it makes a few lacking digital effects shots look even faker than normal. Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray of the film with similar specs (but with extras) and a digital copy.

Tremors is presented in 1080p high definition Blu-ray with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, the presentation is up to standards and satisfactory. The film has a predominant blue tone that is evident throughout many of the 'colder' scenes as opposed to the more yellowish tones of the previous films. An anamorphically enhanced DVD version in standard definition (and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix) looks fine for what it is and a digital copy is also included, all above average at best.

We can say that can also be said for the Well Go USA DVDs that come with some of the Blu-rays they just released, passable & adequate at best. That then leaves us with the four Well Go USA Blu-rays, all of which happen to be in 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition scope image framing, save Monkey in 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer. Except for some minor aspects of Paradox, these all look as good as they can in the format and are likely candidates for 4K Blu-rays if and when Well Go starts supporting the format in the U.S. market.

Maze Runner is not the only 11.1 sound entry here, as Monkey and Time offer DTS: X 11.1 lossless mixes that are fine, leaving the other two with still-impressive DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, so no sonic deficiencies here, but the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the DVD versions where applicable are weak by comparison and don't do much for anyone's home theater system.

- Ricky Chiang (Well Gos) and James Lockhart



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