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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Martial Arts > Crime > Kidnapping > Hong Kong > Horror > Monster > Drama > Superhero > TV > Giant Mon > Bleeding Steel (2017/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Bram Stoker's Shadowbuilders (1998/MVD Blu-ray)/Gotham: The Complete Fourth Season (2017 - 2018/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray Set)/Tarantula (1955/Universal/Umbrella

Bleeding Steel (2017/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Bram Stoker's Shadowbuilders (1998/MVD Blu-ray)/Gotham: The Complete Fourth Season (2017 - 2018/DC Comics/Warner Blu-ray Set)/Tarantula (1955/Universal/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/Young Dillinger (1965/Allied Artists/Warner Archive DVD)



Picture: B+/B+/B+/C+/C Sound: B/B+/B/C+/C+ Extras: C-/B/C+/D/D Main Programs: C/C/B/C+/C+



PLEASE NOTE: The Tarantula Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray and DVD players that can handle PAL DVD and can be ordered from the link below, while Young Dillinger is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.



Now for more genre releases, including unexpected darkness and horror... we guess.



Jackie Chan proves that he still has the action acting chops in the mega budget Bleeding Steel (2017), which makes a poor attempt at being a genre film as well. Full of plenty of explosions and special effects to attract American audiences, the over the top foreign flick starts out almost video game-like in its action tone but slowly loses steam the further it chugs along. It sadly even reminded me a bit of those god awful G.I. Joe movies from the early 2000s in more than one place.


Bleeding Steel also stars Nana Ou-Yang, Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich, and Show Lo to name a few. Executive Produced by Jackie Chan as well, the film centers around a Hong Kong Police Inspector Lin Dong (Chan) who is on the search for his abducted daughter. Knowing she has a biochemical implanted inside of her, the race is on to find her.


Presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a Mandarin language DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix (with English subtitles), the film looks and sounds fine on Blu-ray. The film is quite colorful and in more than one way mimics the American Blockbuster style of filmmaking. Highly stylized, Bleeding Steel is pretty to look at and could benefit from a 2160p upgrade, if the demand was there.


Special Features only include a Trailer.



The MVD Rewind Collection continues with a lesser known Bram Stoker title, Shadowbuilder (1998), which stars one of my favorite actors Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Walking Dead), and horror movie star Tony Todd (The Candyman). While it hasn't aged too well in terms of special effects, Shadowbuilder is closer to Wishmaster or End of Days than it is Bram Stoker's Dracula in terms of style and substance.


The film also stars Leslie Hope (Crimson Peak) and Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead).


A demon is summoned from the depths to infest a boy destined to become a priest. Assuming the demon aka Shadowbuilder succeeds in this sinister plot, a doorway to Hell will open. Can a priest (Rooker) battle this demonic force and save the day?


The film is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and an Original 2.0 Stereo Audio (Uncompressed PCM) mix that make for a satisfying presentation. There's no doubt that this is the best that this film has ever looked and its nice to see a lesser known film such as this one get such a nice restoration! Recommended!


Special Features include...


"Making of Shadowbuilder" featurette (HD, 33:22) (featuring director Jamie Dixon, writer Michael Stokes and stars Andrew Jackson (The Shadowbuilder) and Tony Todd (Covey)


"Shadowbuilder: Visual Effects" featurette (HD, 13:26)


"Shadowbuilder: Kevin Zegers" featurette (HD, 5:00)


Audio Commentary from Director Jamie Dixon


Original Theatrical Trailer (SD)


Collectible Poster


and Reversible Artwork


Shadowbuilder is a one time watch and nothing too special, despite Michael Rooker's best efforts.



DC Comics' Batman prequel series Gotham, which takes more than few liberties with its source material, returns to a twenty-two episode Fourth Season (2017 - 2018) which aired on FOX and is now hitting disc. As the original network broadcast was riddled (pun intended) with commercials and network watermarks, its nice (as usual) to see the show in stunning 1080p the way that it was meant to be seen.


While Gotham will have some purists screaming at the television for changing too much from the movies and comics we have come to love, there really is a lot more to like about this series now that it has matured a little bit. When it first started, it seemed a bit too melodramatic, flamboyant and silly but now more characters that have come into the fold not to mention Bruce Wayne has grown to the point where he's becoming a bit more distinguished and easier to relate to. The show's biggest weaknesses is that it goes way too out of its way to be politically correct with some of the characters. Still, for being a TV miniseries and trying something different with the material, it's not all bad.


Gotham stars Ben McKenzie (The O.C., Southland), Donal Logue (Grounded for Life, Vikings), David Mazouz (Touch), Morena Baccarin (Homeland, V), Sean Pertwee (Elementary), Robin Lord Taylor (The Walking Dead), Erin Richards (The Quiet Ones), Camren Bicondova (Gotham Stories), Cory Michael Smith (Carol), Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield), Chris Chalk (Rent), and Drew Powell (The Mentalist), Crystal Reed (Teen Wolf) and Alexander Siddig (Game of Thrones) join the cast this season as Sofia Falcone and Ra's al Ghul respectively.


Following Commissioner Gordon (McKenzie) and his partner Bullock (Logue), who fight to keep the streets of Gotham clean... which is becoming a harder and harder task by the day. More and more super villains are rearing their ugly heads along with returning foes Penguin (Taylor) and the Riddler (Smith), who have all but taken over the crime-ridden city of Gotham. In the background, a young Bruce Wayne (Mazouz) is slowly becoming the vigilante that he is destined to become...


Episode span four discs and include Pax Penguina, The Fear Reaper, They Who Hide Behind Masks, The Demon's Head, The Blade's Path, Hog Day Afternoon, A Day in the Narrows, Stop Hitting Yourself, Let Them Eat Pie, Things that go Boom, Queen Takes Knight, Pieces of a Broken Mirror, A Beautiful Darkness, Reunion, The Sinking Ship The Grand Applause, One of My Three Sons, Mandatory Brunch Meeting, That's Entertainment, To Our Deaths and Beyond, That Old Corpse, One Bad Day, and No Man's Land.


The show is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, both of which are a vast improvement over the original network broadcast. The show has some great production value (especially in its impressive sets) and there's plenty of detail in the image here whereas you're guaranteed to see more than you did on TV.


A digital copy is also included.


Special Features:


The Best of DC TV's Comic-Con Panels San Diego 2017


Solomon Grundy: Born on a Monday


The Sirens Take Gotham


and Deleted Scenes



Gotham will return for a fifth and final season. Be sure to check out our reviews of past seasons elsewhere on this site.



We conclude with two genre films on DVD everyone should see at least once, both of which also deserve Blu-ray release at some point. Jack Arnold's Tarantula (1955) is one of the better giant monster films the U.S. ever produced, handled well by the soon-to-be major Universal Pictures, Arnold shows how solid a B-movie director (and more) he is and the film remains fun, even more so in the usually sloppy era of digital CGI visual effects we live in.


Everything is just fine with life in Arizona when a scientist (the great Leo G. Carroll) develops a new growth formula, then you can imagine things go wrong, very wrong and what lands up happening next. John Agar, Mara Corday, Ross Elliott and Nestor Paiva are up to the task of making this a convincing as the premise can be and the film has some good energy for its 80 minutes running time. The studio knew when enough was enough.


Issued many years ago on DVD in the U.S. by Universal, Umbrella entertainment in Australia has reissued it as a Region Free PAL Import DVD that is a little richer in Video Black, but has some aliasing errors. That puts in on par with the other DVD. Catch it for the fun!



Finally we have Terry O. Morse's Young Dillinger (1965) with B-movie perennial star Nick Adams as the title character, becoming a famous murderous gangster trying to survive, thrive and keep happy his gal (a very young Mary Ann Mobley, who looked good even then!) and adding cohorts like 'Pretty Boy' Floyd (Robert Conrad of Wild Wild West and Baa Baa Black Sheep/Black Sheep Squadron) and 'Baby Face' Nelson (John Ashley). John Hoyt and even Ted Knight also show up, but the odd twist is that Victor Buono turns up as some kind of adviser professor in a way that is very funny, but throws any chance of credibility for the film out the window.


Allied Artists was serious about trying to make higher quality product with the money they had and this one has its moments, but the Gangster genre was falling into trouble (and into either satire or self-satire) at the time, so it only works so well. Still, it is a curio that genre fans will want to catch because it is simply very raw, though no competition for Arthur Penn's Bonnie & Clyde a few years later, though this film was on the right track as far as naturalism is concerned if that counts. Warner Archive has issued the film on DVD and the time is right for it to be rediscovered, especially since the genre has been empty and pointless in the aftermath of how effective and thorough The Sopranos was.


Both films have been issued in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image framing that is HDTV friendly, but some purists might complain. Tarantula might have been 1.66 X 1 or soft matte for various widescreen presentations as flat widescreen had not been settled in 1955, though Dillinger might also have been as cautious thinking TV safe, both possibly 1.33 X 1 to begin with. While I addressed flaws with Tarantula, Dillinger has a print that is at least as clean if not better, but the overall transfer is a little too soft throughout beyond the filmmakers intent and can make watching it trying at times.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on both sound fine for their age and the sound has survived well considering how old each film is. I like the way both were recorded and mixed.


In both cases, both DVDs sadly have no extras, though each deserves some.



To order the Tarantula Umbrella import DVD, go to this link for it and other hard to get releases:


http://www.umbrellaent.com.au/


...and to order the Young Dillinger Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo (Tarantula, Dillinger) and James Lockhart

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


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