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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Drama > Heist > Drugs > Murder > Police > Character Study > Action > Revenge > Hong Kong > Western > Spa > Destroyer (2018*)/Golden Job (2018/Well Go Blu-ray)/Keoma (1976**)/Mission Of Honor (2018/Cinedigm Blu-ray)/The Prodigy (2019/Orion/*both Fox Blu-ray w/DVD sets)/Scared Stiff (1987/**both MVD/Arrow Bl

Destroyer (2018*)/Golden Job (2018/Well Go Blu-ray)/Keoma (1976**)/Mission Of Honor (2018/Cinedigm Blu-ray)/The Prodigy (2019/Orion/*both Fox Blu-ray w/DVD sets)/Scared Stiff (1987/**both MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)

Picture: B & C/A/B+/B-/B- & C/B Sound: B & C+/A-/B+/B/B & C+/B Extras: B-/A/B/C/C-/B Films: B-/A-/B/C/C-/C+

Here's a new group of genre releases you may not have heard about, but should know just in case...

We start with the big surprise on the list, Karyn Kusama's Destroyer (2018) as Nicole Kidman takes on her darkest, dirtiest, filthiest and most grotesque role as an alcoholic police officer with more than a few dark secrets, a daughter who she is a bad mother with and so much worse. Anyone used to Kidman's best work will even be shocked to see how far she goes here going for subzero as a lost woman. Even the makeup makes her look bad, making it some serious make-up.

The film tells its story in mixed flashbacks that keep bringing us back to the present where an ugly heist gone very wrong with money never found is about to come back as some people have run out of money and become desperate. She is already struggling with a long list of troubles when she gets a special note that the ring leader is back. Loaded with regrets, anger and often, alcohol, she starts to set up meetings with 'old friends' and we start to slowly see develop just how bad things are all around.

Cheers to everybody for being able to keep each era and time period as authentic and consistent as possible, something we've seen most feature films not be able to handle in recent times. I like the way this was shot and should be seen with Widows as a solid set of back to back heist films, most of which these days are so bad that they are boring. This one is not.

Toby Kebbell, Scoot McNairy, Sebastian Stan, Bradley Whitford and Tatiana Maslany help make up the impressive supporting cast, but Kidman is just shocking throughout and when people catch up with this one, they'll be truly shocked.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 36 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer looks pretty good for one of the better HD shoots we've seen of late down to its editing, but the anamorphically enhanced DVD version is softer than it should be for the old format.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Blu-ray is well mixed and presented down to the smart editing and some other clever touches, something that is still on the DVD's lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but faintly by comparison.

Extras include Digital HD Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber-capable devices, while the disc versions add Breakdown Of An Anti-Hero: The Making Of Destroyer, a feature length audio commentary track with Director Kusama and second track with writers Phil Hay & Matt Manfredi and a Stills Gallery.

Five highly skilled mercenaries get together for one last job, to steal a truck of medicine for a refugee camp from a foreign intelligence agency, only to discover they have stolen a truck full of gold and they have been framed and betrayed by one of their own. Framed for a crime and years later they reunite to find out why they were double-crossed and restore their honor. But to do so they will have fight an army of killer mercenaries and fight their former brother-in-arms who betrayed them in Kar Lok Chin's The Golden Job (2018).

These five mercenaries/brother-in-arms who grew up together doing any job to survive, their only code was to protect each other and never betray one another, but when they are tricked into doing a job and things go south, they must find a way to survive. Working together they become an unstoppable team with teamwork, tactics and trust, but how do they defeat someone who knows all their tactics and tricks? Even after getting free, their former brother has laid traps, knowing that they would eventually come for him. Now, they must do the unthinkable ...to hunt down one of their own, the one who betrayed them for all the gold. Their former brother has had time and money to surround himself by an army of mercenaries and impermeable island fortress, they will have to fight through hell to get their revenge.

This was like an Asian version of the old TV series The A-Team, but filled with more action, martial arts, fast cars and gun battles. Everything was beautifully choreographed and was filmed in beautiful places all over the world. The whole story is about the brotherhood, how everything comes back the team, that no amount of gold can buy or replace it.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is as impressive as it can be for the now old Blu-ray format, but this is the first time we post a Well Go title knowing they are going to start issuing 4K discs, so we hope this one is issued early on. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Cantonese 5.1 lossless mix is well mixed and presented, but maybe there are more tracks to the soundmaster? Extras include a behind the scenes featurette, action and location featurette, the Brotherhood featurette, animated poster, music video and trailers.

Franco Nero (of Django fame) stars in Keoma (1976), which is highly regarded too many as one of the best Italian spaghetti westerns ever made. Beautifully remastered here with a wealth of extras, this is an exquisite release from Arrow Video that fans of westerns will not want to miss!

Keoma also stars William Berger, Olga Karlatos, Orso Maria Guerrini, Gabriella Giacobbe, and Antonio Marsina.

The story centers around a 'half-breed' named Keoma (Nero), who returns home after being in the Civil War, and finds it under the control of Caldwell, an ex-Confederate raider, and his vicious gang of bloodthirsty thugs. He finds out that his family isn't the same either as his three half-brothers have joined the gang as well. It's up to Keoma to bring sense to his family and facing Caldwell face on, in an epic battle that isn't too be missed.

The film has been remastered in 2K from the original 35mm camera negative, and presented here in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1. For audio, there's an uncompressed 1.0 LPCM Mono audio mix in both English and Italian (with optional subs). The film is incredibly shot and there's plenty of detail on the characters and production.

Special Features include...

New audio commentary by spaghetti western experts C. Courtney Joyner and Henry C. Parke

The Ballad of Keoma, a new interview with the legendary star Franco Nero

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, a new interview with director Enzo G. Castellari

Writing Keoma, a new interview with actor and writer Luigi Montefiori aka George Eastman

Parallel Actions, a new interview with editor Gianfranco Amicucci

The Flying Thug, a new interview with actor Massimo Vanni

Play as an Actor, a new interview with actor Volfango Soldati

Keoma and the Twilight of the Spaghetti Western, a newly filmed video appreciation by the academic Austin Fisher

An Introduction to Keoma by Alex Cox, an archival featurette with the acclaimed director

Original Italian and international theatrical trailers

Gallery of original promotional images from the Mike Siegel Archive

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Simon Abrams and Howard Hughes

Keoma is a lot of fun if you're a fan of gunslinging Western action! And who isn't? For more thoughts on the film, try our very early DVD coverage at this link...


David Blair's Mission Of Honor (2018) had a great story idea to tell of how a Polish fighter squadron joined the British flyers to fight off the Nazis during WWII, how they never got credit for it and worse in another important, untold story of the war. Too bad the production is stilted, does not allow the actors to really let loose, has bad digital work, bad process work for the flying battles and is not very memorable from the images to the music and dialogue.

At least the sets and costumes work for the most part, but you can get that from stuffy British TV. Milo Gibson, Mel Gibson's son (yes, he has a son) also turns up, but does not make much of an impact or impression. Save diehard history buffs, this is a disappointment.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer has a few good shots, but is often too soft for its own good, so thankfully, we will not see a 4K version, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is good if not great and the soundfield is a little off at times.

Extras include a Q&A with Director Blair and on set, on camera interviews with some of the main cast.

Nicholas McCarthy's The Prodigy (2019) is yet another entry into the 'evil child' cycle of horror films, but this one is trying to be more serious, then lands up backfiring on itself. We are supposed to believe a serial killer dies at the moment a young baby is born and his evil soul takes over the child for life. Taylor Schilling gets to be the mom who eventually concludes 'you are not my child' while you'll say 'that is not originally your line of dialogue' et al.

To the film's credit, it treats the audience as smart, even when it is miles away from being original, effective and this one has no suspense whatsoever, so who knows what the makers were thinking, but the most intriguing thing about this release is its cover photo. Too bad they did not make a good film to go with it. Colm Feore also shows up, but even he cannot save this dud.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 36 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer has softness issues throughout that does not help it at all with crush in the shadows that is annoying at times and much worse on the 2.35 X 1 anamorphically enhanced DVD version. They needed a better HD camera or should have shot on film. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Blu-ray is well mixed and presented, but is too quiet at times and too flat at others, which is more obvious on the DVD's lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Too bad.

Extras include Digital HD Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber-capable devices, while the disc versions add a feature length audio commentary track by Director McCarthy, Stills Gallery and Promotional Featurettes.

Finally we have Director Richard (Doom Asylum) Friedman's Scared Stiff (1987) gets the deluxe Blu-ray treatment from Arrow. In the same vein (but not as strong) as Poltergeist, The Changeling, or The House films, Scared Stiff is another 'haunted house' movie that delivers plenty of B-grade horror movie cheese, and some cool special effects.

The film stars Andrew Stevens, Mary Page Keller, and Joshua Segal.

A singer (Keller) moves into a mansion with her new Doctor Husband and son. Everything is peachy at first, until they uncover some old bones in the locked attic. The mansion soon becomes haunted and bad luck spreads to the family members... all relating back to a curse laid upon the land from many decades before...

Scared Stiff is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a new uncompressed Stereo audio mix. This is a 2K restoration from the original film elements and looks quite nice considering its age and the fact that it was a low budget feature. The score is synth based and very '80s, which adds to the over experience. This is for sure the best that this film has ever looked on disc, and the transfer is pretty solid overall.

Special Features include...

Brand new audio commentary with director Richard Friedman, producer Dan Bacaner and film historian Robert Ehlinger

Mansion of the Doomed: The Making of Scared Stiff - brand new documentary featuring interviews with Richard Friedman, Dan Bacaner, Robert Ehlinger, actors Andrew Stevens and Joshua Segal, special effects supervisor Tyler Smith and special effects assistants Jerry Macaluso and Barry Anderson

Brand new interview with composer Billy Barber

Image Gallery

Original Theatrical Trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Fully illustrated collector's booklet with new writing on the film by James Oliver.

- Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Golden) and James Lockhart (Arrow)



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