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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Drama > Science Fiction > Horror > Monster > Western > Biopic > Blaxploitation > Comedy > Willie Dynamite (1974/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)

Equalizer 2 (2018/Sony Blu-ray w/DVD)/Nemesis (1992/MVD Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Predator 4K (2018/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The True Story Of Jesse James (1957/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Willie Dynamite (1974/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)



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



PLEASE NOTE: The True Story Of Jesse James 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.



These genre films usually teeter on exploitation and try to put a twist on what has come before...



We start with a sequel to a feature film remake of a 1980s TV series inspired by a 1960s British TV classic. Denzel Washington gets down and dirty in The Equalizer 2 (2018), Director Antoine Fuqua's follow-up to his 2014 original, which was loosely based on a 1980s TV series of the same name. It doesn't take a lot of brain power to watch The Equalizer films, or the Taken trilogy for that matter, but it's a sure-fire way of seeing some flashy and stylized action sequences where old guys beat up on the young hoodlums and other bad guys.


The film also stars Melissa Leo, Bill Pullman, Pedro Pascal, and Chloe Grace Moretz.


Robert McCall (Washington) may look like an older man on the outside, but inside he's not the type of man you want to mess with. A vigilante of sorts, McCall has no problem taking out the bad guys, be it rescuing an abducted child, or helping a rape victim. When one of his closest friends is taken out, McCall breaks out his own unique style of justice to avenge her, no matter what it takes!


The Equalizer 2 is presented in 1080p high definition with a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a great sounding DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix, both of which capture the film nicely for the format. Also included is an anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD of the film with an anamorphic widescreen presentation and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. A digital copy is also included. The film is stylized as are all Fuqua films, and has a nice contrast to the shots and often vibrant colors throughout, possibly better ion the 4K version of this film also issued.


Special Features include...

"Retribution Mode" with Denzel Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua

11 Deleted & Extended Scenes

"Denzel as McCall: Round Two" Featurette

The Equalizer 2 Pop Up Trivia Track

Four Featurettes:

"Seconds Till Death: Action Breakdown"

"Through Antoine's Lens: The Cast"

Two NBA Promos


If you're a Denzel Washington fan then you're likely to enjoy The Equalizer 2. It's two hours of virtually non-stop action, and has a few very cool moments. Honestly, though, I think Liam Neeson and Denzel need to face off against one another... now, that would be a movie!



Nemesis (1992) is a sci-fi/action flick that seems to be riding the success of the Terminator films with the human-cyborg premise, but doesn't have anything close to that franchise's fair. Think of it as if Ghost in the Shell was made before Jurassic Park's breakthrough in digital effects, and you kind get a sense of where we're at. That's not to say that some of the production design and ideas within the film aren't terrible, but not as appetizing as the aforementioned cult classics. Starring Olivier Gruner, Nemesis ultimately feels like a film you would see on VHS in a discount bin, and isn't even as good as the dreaded Johnny Mnemonic.


Albert Pyun's Nemesis also stars Marjorie Monaghan, Tim Thomerson, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Merle Kennedy, Yuji Okumoto, Brion James (Blade Runner), Thomas Jane (The Punisher, Boogie Nights), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Planet of the Apes), Thom Mathews (The Return of the Living Dead), Yuji Okumoto (Inception) and Deborah Shelton (Body Double).


Set in L.A. 2027, a cyborg humanoid cop named Alex (Gruner) has seen better days, and has to contain his former partner and lover Jared (Monaghan), whose accused of smuggling data to information terrorists plotting to kill government officials. Systems cowboys, bio enhanced gangsters, agents and cyborg outlaws cross pass with Alex all the way…


The film is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85 X 1 and a nice sounding track in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and lesser Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks in English, Spanish, and French depending on your personal taste. While it's not as impressive as Ultra HD, the film looks and sounds fine and doesn't have any glaring issues on Blu-ray that hinder the presentation. An anamorphically enhanced DVD with the same soundtrack mixes and poorer picture are also included.


Special Features include:

Director's Cut of the film (SD, 1.33:1) with optional commentary by Albert Pyun

Japanese Extended Cut (SD, 1.33:1) (w/Japanese subtitles burnt-in)

NEW 2018 Interview with Eric Karson (HD)

NEW 2018 Interview with Olivier Gruner (HD)

Introduction by Albert Pyun (SD, 2:19)

Introduction by Olivier Gruner (SD, 3:13)

Afterword by Albert Pyun (SD, 0:48)

older Making Of featurettes (SD, 5:58, 7:13)

Interview with Olivier Gruner (SD, 2:18)

'Making Of - Stunts & Effects' (SD, 2:43)

'Making Of - Visual Effects' (SD, 1:41)

'The Saga' featurette (SD, 7:26)

Trailers and TV Spots (SD)

and Collectible Mini-Poster


If you are a fan of the film then this is a fine release with plenty of supplemental content.



Stan Winston's Predator is one of the most iconic movie monsters of all time, and yet for some reason (much like Michael Myers) filmmakers have a struggle with making sequels and get too hung up paying homage to the original.


Sure, The Predator 4K (2018) is better than the failed Alien vs Predator films, and may even stand up to Predator 2 in some moments, but overall The Predator is a big step backwards after the cinematic progress made in Robert Rodriguez's previous incarnation Predators (2010).


Director Shane Black (yes, the man behind the lambasted Iron Man 3 and who was also an actor in the original Predator film) steps behind the camera and writing desk this time, with a solid overall cast including Yvonne Strahovski, Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn (who isn't bad at all here), Alfie Allen, Keegan Michael Key, Sterling K. Brown, Alfie Allen, Jake Busey, Thomas Jane, and Trevante Rhodes.


A predator ship crash lands on Earth again, and it's not long until Government officials seize some of its weapons and tech. When a solider sees a predator in person, he's thrown into a rag-tag group of criminal misfits, all of whom get crossed in the middle of the path between the new Super Predator (which has been crossbred with a new species) and the traditional Predator as they battle over Earth and kill humans in the process.


The film is presented in 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on the 4K Ultra HD disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and great sounding audio mixes in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) and Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless sound. The image is clean and quite clear which works against some of the film's weaker VFX shots (including the Super Predator - which looks way too digital). Still, it's a superior way to become immersed in the film. The score is great and brings back Alan Silvestri's original Predator theme, and the overall sound mix is on point.


Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray version of the film with the same widescreen and audio specs, though some compression issues evident when placing it side by side to the 4K Ultra HD. Also included is a standard digital copy.


Special Features:

Deleted Scenes

A Touch of Black featurette

Predator Evolution featurette

The Takedown Team featurette

Predator Catch-Up

and a Gallery


Much like Halloween 2018, The Predator isn't necessarily the worst entry in the franchise, but feels like it could have been a whole lot better. As a fan of the franchise since the beginning, I can say that I am thankful to at least get a new Predator movie. As comic books and novelizations have proven over the years, there's still plenty of potential with the character and more stories to be told.


For the rest of the previous films in the series in 4K, try this link...


http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/15236/Changeling,+The+(1980/Severin+Blu-ray)/Predator



Robert Wagner stars in the classic western The True Story of Jesse James (1957) which is directed by Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without A Cause). Based loosely on the last 18 or so years of the infamous outlaw's life. The film focuses on his run-ins with Quantrill's raiders, Jesse's relationship with his brother and their hare brained heists together, his romance with Zee, failed bank robbery in Northfield, Minn. and his untimely death at the hands of Robert Ford as more of a character study than a formula film.


The film also stars Jeffrey Hunter, Hope Lange, Agnes Moorehead, Alan Hale Jr., John Carradine, and Frank Gorshin.


Presented in 1080p high definition with a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a new DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo mixes from the original 4-track magnetic soundmaster, the film looks and sounds better than ever before. Originally shot in CinemaScope by Joseph MacDonald (My Darling Clementine), there's a lot of detail in this print and it has clearly been cleaned up here.


Special Features...


Isolated Music Track with a score by Leigh Harline in lossless DTS-MA


Fox Movietone Newsreels


Original Theatrical Trailer


and a Collectible Insert Booklet with linear notes by Julie Kirgo


If you're a classic western fan, then this is a film that you don't want to slip under your radar. Of course, there have been many films based on Jesse James over the years, and this one I would consider one more of a tame 'classic Hollywood' version.



Finally, one of the highest rated and celebrated Blaxploitation films of all time, Willie Dynamite (1974) finally gets a beautiful HD presentation thanks to Arrow. Directed by Gilbert Moses, the film stars Roscoe Orman as Willie D - whose the flashiest and baddest pimp in all of New York City! The film centers around his many hookers and their confrontations with the law. While Wille D keeps doing what he does best, a pair of detectives are determined to bust him.


The film also stars Diana Sands, Thalmus Rasulala, Joyce Walker, Roger Robinson, and George Murdock to name a few.


Presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and original 1.0 mono audio uncompressed track has the film looking and sounding brand new. Transferred from the original film elements from MGM's AIP holdings, the picture is clean and detailed. To my knowledge, this is the films first major release on Blu-ray. The costumes and production design is bright and vibrant to the greens of Willie's jacket to the lavish and very '70s style to all of the production design.


Special Features include...


Kiss My Baad Asss, a guide to blaxploitation hosted by actor and musician Ice-T, and featuring interviews with Richard Roundtree, Melvin van Peebles, Isaac Hayes and others


Theatrical trailer


Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips


and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector's booklet containing new writing on the film by Cullen Gallagher


If you like Blaxploitation, then you'll get a charge out of Willie Dynamite.



To order The True Story Of Jesse James Blu-ray limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/



- James Lockhart

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


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