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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Comedy > Drama > Murder > Action > Detective > Horror > British > War > WWII > Russia > Martial Arts > C > Rare Breed (1966/Universal/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/Poison Rose (2019/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Slaughterhouse Rulez (2019/Sony DVD)/T-36 (w/DVD*)/Unity Of Heroes (*both 2018/Well Go Blu-rays)

Rare Breed (1966/Universal/Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD)/Poison Rose (2019/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Slaughterhouse Rulez (2019/Sony DVD)/T-36 (w/DVD*)/Unity Of Heroes (*both 2018/Well Go Blu-rays)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Rare Breed Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Blu-ray players that can handle the PAL format, is Region Free and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for more action and adventure, sometimes with comedy...

As we previously reviewed years ago as a U.S. DVD from a Jimmy Stewart box set, The Rare Breed (1966) pairs Stewart with Andrew V. McLaglen, who often directed Westerns helming this tale of in the 1880s when a new kind of cattle succeeded Texas Longhorns (English Hereford) as the cattle of sales choice and consumption. It is an interesting story, told well and backed by a cast that includes Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith, Juliet Mills, Gregg Palmer and Don Galloway. This film was shot in real anamorphic Panavision and three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor, offered on this Umbrella Region Free PAL Import DVD in anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1. The original trailer is included and the color on the actual film is slightly better than the U.S. DVD. Guess a Blu-ray is not far behind?.

George Gallo's The Poison Rose (2019) is an interesting attempt to do a variation of the gumshoe detective film with John Travolta as that man, sometimes recalling his Pulp Fiction work, but also shades of Blow Out and the supporting cast includes Morgan Freeman, Famke Janssen, Peter Stomare, Robert Patrick and someone I miss seeing, Brendan Frazier. This is going straight to video, but I was happy to see how ambitious it was.

At the same time, it has trouble starting and never exactly takes off despite moving on with energy no matter how many off moments it has. Some parts just try too hard, but others show the potential if the makers had just thought this out a bit more, including what could have been a new comeback for Travolta. Taking place in Galveston, Texas, it is an underutilized place, but they do not make it enough of a character either. Still, those interested should give it a look for what does work.

Extras include Digital Copy, feature length audio commentary by Gallo & Writer/Producer Richard Salvatore and a trailer gallery.

Don Wallace just got sent to Slaughterhouse private school for England's future rich, powerful and elite. There, he learns there are those who are groomed for power and success and others are just fodder for the slaughter. When fracking in the school woods causes a gigantic sinkhole and release a monster, both students and teachers have to learn how to fight and survive against giant subterranean monsters in Crispian Mills' Slaughterhouse Rulez (2019).

Wallace just got sent to the Slaughterhouse, there he finds himself in house Sparta, the lowest of the low houses in which everyone gets bullied, beaten, pick on and made fun of by the other houses. His only solace is the beautiful Clemsie, of girl's house Andromeda. But all that comes to a sudden end when he learns of the headmaster's illegal fracking on the school woodland, causing giant sinkholes, smelly, explosive gases ...and giant mutated creatures. Now the boys of house Sparta have to use whatever means they can to survive and stop the horror they unearthed.

This was like a horrible mix of Harry Potter and Animal House with survival (torture porn) horror. British students versus giant rat-like monsters. While it had many well know (and even famous) actors, the entire movie makes fun of British private schools and the horror movie genre, it was hard to take seriously. Asa Butterfield, Finn Cole, Hermione Corfield and Michael Sheen star, with appearances by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, who co-produced. Extras include trailers.

Alexey Sidorov's T-36 (2018) is another one of the occasional new big Russian productions somehow making it to the U.S. that pits Russia (or in this case, the former U.S.S.R./Soviet Union) against the Nazis in a war action film about how the tanks of the title including recruiting P.O.W.s to fight and how evil the Nazis were. There is also some money in this one and it has a few good moments, but too much of it was forgettable despite the efforts of the actors.

Though I was not looking for Soviet/Russian cinema stereotypes, it never plays or feels like it is authentic and the biggest reason is that the film bends over backwards to emulate a Hollywood formula film from the Reagan 1980s down to the music and that is a total contradiction on so many levels of anything Russia and its former empire ever looked like, sounded like, stood for or had any goals thereof. Thus, the film has to minimize Soviet Communist history (the ideology is never even noted) and lads up making any historical authenticity ring hollow that it is a big dud. The digital work is poor too. Only the very, very curious should apply.

A trailer is the only extra.

And finally, a new era in Hong Kong begins, flooding it's streets with foreigners and martial art masters all looking to make a name for themselves. The only man keeping the peace, law and order is Wong Fei Hung (Vincent Zhao, reprising this role), but when a new drug hits the streets turning martial arts masters into mindless assassins, Wong Fei Hung investigates into the case soon discovers it involves the foreigners and the Chinese government has turned a blind eye. Wong Fei Hung must single handily stop the foreigners from taking over the city he loves and protects in Lin Zhenzhao's Unity Of Heroes (2018).

Wong Fei Hung is the number one martial art master in Hong Kong, a medicine man, local militia trainer and the town hero/legend. But with the changing times Hong Kong is flooded with new challengers, Westerners, trade, hopes, dreams ...and crimes. A new super opium is flooding the streets giving it's users super strength and turning them into mindless drones. Secretly the foreigners are human testing the drug to use to control the various martial artists/schools and taking over Hong Kong. Wong Fei Hung must deal with all the super charged martial art artists and stop the source of the drug along as well as dealing with Aunt 13 (the love of his life) who is trying to 'modernize' and Westernize him.

This was a remake on the classic hero immortalized by Jet Li in his "Once Upon a Time in China" movies. Along with plenty of cool fight scenes and endless martial art artists, it is an updated version to the story with modern cinematography, choreography and special effects. It is the usual story of the Chinese versus the 'evil' Westerners and how one man stands against foreigners from corrupting Chinese values and destroying it's culture and traditions. Extras include trailers.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Rose is a bit on the soft side too much beyond styling from its HD shoot, even if you do get some good shots here and there, problems that kills any attempts to emulate Noir. Color is decent and the name actors still look good, though.

The anamorphically enhanced image on Rulez is softer and more problematic than expected for a new production and though it might the format, this should look better, but the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is well recorded and actually comes across much better despite the limited codec.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on T-34 is the second best-looking release on the list despite some bad digital CGI work and slight flaws in the HD shoot, even looking decent in its anamorphically enhanced DVD edition with its passable, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mixdown. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Unity is just better with more style, if not better all around color.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Rose, T-34 and Unity tie for best sound and soundmixes on the list, well recorded enough and all having consistent soundfields.

To order The Rare Breed Umbrella import PAL DVD, go to this link for it and other hard to find releases:


- Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Rulez, Unity)


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