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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Martial Arts > Camp > Animation > TV > Comedy > Science Fiction > Horror > Revenge > Blood Fight (1989)/Ironheart (1992*)/Final Space: The Complete First and Second Seasons (2018 - 2019/Adult Swim/Warner Blu-ray)/Pitch Black 4K (2000/Arrow 4K*)/Split Second (1992/*all MVD Blu-ray)

Blood Fight (1989)/Ironheart (1992*)/Final Space: The Complete First and Second Seasons (2018 - 2019/Adult Swim/Warner Blu-ray)/Pitch Black 4K (2000/Arrow 4K*)/Split Second (1992/*all MVD Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B/B/B+/X/B Sound: B/B/B+/A-/B Extras: D/D/C-/B+/B Main Programs: C/C/C/B/C

Action, usually with science fiction, define this next set of new releases...

If you're a fan of Z-grade martial arts films then you may want to pick up this double feature of Blood Fight (1989) and Ironheart (1992), both of which star Bolo Yeung (Jean Claude Van Damme's final opponent in Bloodsport and Bruce Lee's opponent in Enter The Dragon.)

The films also feature Yasuaki Kurata, Britton K. Lee, Meg Lam, Simon Yam, and Richard Norton.

Blood Fight centers around a free fighting martial arts combat game where Bolo Yeung takes center stage and isn't afraid to tear down anyone in his way. The film is okay with plenty of fighting to satisfy most. The story here is next to non-existent.

In Ironheart, Yeung stars as a LA cop who goes mano a mano with some vicious drug dealers. This film was directed by Robert Clouse (Enter the Dragon.) This one feels VERY '90s and was definitely a film you would see in a '90s video store. It has that feel, which is fun for nostalgia.

Both films are presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and widescreen aspect ratios of 1.85:1 and 1.78:1. The films are paired with English LPCM 2.0 mixes and both presented on the same BD-50 disc. The quality isn't too compromised as they films never looked that great to begin with. Fans will be happy to see these in HD as this is definitely the best they films have looked at home.

Special Feature: Trailers.

Final Space (2018 - 2019) is an Adult Swim animated series that has an okay looking animated style and some imagination behind it, but is ultimately too silly for its own good. Unlike the far superior space themed animated series, Futurama, the humor here is geared more towards a teen audience.

The Final Space: The Complete First and Second Seasons voice cast includes Olan Rogers, Fred Armisen, Tom Kenny, Conan O'Brien, Ashly Burch, Tika Sumpter, David Tennant (Doctor Who), Steven Yeun, and Keith David to name a few.

An Astronaut named Gary (Rogers) is working off a prison sentence but ends up battling through space against the sinister Lord Commander with a bizarre group of alien characters including Mooncake - a planet destroying alien.

Season 1 episodes include Chapters One through Ten.

Season 2 episodes include The Toro Regatta, The Happy Place, The Grand Surrender, The Other Side, The Notorious Mrs. Godspeed, Arachnitects, The First Times They Met, The Remembered, The Closer You Get, The Lost Spy, The Set Up, Descent into Darkness, and The Sixth Key. These episodes span three Blu-ray discs in this set.

Both seasons are presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is paired with an English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless mix. Presented commercial and watermark free of course, this is definitely the best way to view the show uninterrupted. The animation comes across nicely in HD here as well and you can tell has some budget behind it.

Special Feature: BTS of Final Space featurette.

I remember when the unrated version of Pitch Black (2000) was first available on DVD from Universal in early 2000 and nobody knew much about it, and Vin Diesel was just starting to become popular thanks to the first Fast and the Furious film.

Always being a fan of dark sci-fi, I bought the DVD on a blind buy and ended up watching it dozens of times. The sequels are interesting in their own right, but don't quite capture the sci-fi/horror essence of this first outing directed by David Twohy, who also wrote and directed the sequels (The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and Riddick (2013), and is the mastermind behind the series. Now, 20 years later, Arrow Video has released a no holds barred definitive version of the film on 4K UHD disc packed with extras. Needless to say, this is certainly worth the upgrade if you're a fan.

This edition includes both the R-rated and Unrated versions.

Aside from Mr. Diesel as Riddick, the film stars Radha Mitchell (Phone Booth), Cole Hauser, Keith David, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, and Claudia Black.

A docking pilot (Mitchell) lands her vessel on a hot planet with a small crew and with a convict bounty hunter named Riddick (Diesel) on board. At first, the planet seems lifeless, but when the night falls, vicious aliens show themselves. Able to see in the dark and camouflage themselves in the darkness, the crew is helpless against these beings that are keen on murdering every last one of them as soon as they leave the light. However, Riddick, a unique man with surgically altered eyes and cunning strength, steps up to the task of helping the dwindling crew as they attempt to drag the fuel cells they need back to their estranged ship at night.

Pitch Black has been remastered in 4K by Arrow Films and approved by director David Twohy. The film is presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with a 2160p HEVC/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image codec (68.04 Mbps) and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and an original DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 surround mix. The level of detail here is MUCH improved over every prior release of the film on disc.

Note that this was one of the films at the time that has some of its 35mm theatrical film prints issued in the bleach bypass format, offered by two competing labs at the time. You may have seen it on Alien Resurrection (Technicolor) or Se7en (DeLuxe), but this film was a special situation and was created by a one-time teaming of the great Atlab QLD in Queensland, Australia, and legendary Consolidated Film Industries (CFI) in Hollywood. There is a featurette on this in the extras.

The film has excellent sound design throughout especially with the unique noises that the creatures make. The use of color is also very interesting here too with oranges, blues, greens, and whites that show different shades of the planet and lights that they use. All in all, I feel like I can see a lot more in this film than before from previous versions. It really looks and sounds fantastic here on 4K UHD disc.

Also note, this film is part of a short list of films that were issued by Polygram Filmed Entertainment, a semi-major studio the record label Mercury/Polygram had launched after years of co-producing films with Universal under the Gramercy name. However, the company lasted only a few years as the men running it started fighting with all the talent in town and Universal bought out the other record company. That makes this film one of its few true hits.

Special Features include:

Archive feature length audio commentary with director David Twohy and stars Vin Diesel and Cole Hauser

Archive feature length audio commentary with director David Twohy, producer Tom Engelman and visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang

Nightfall: The Making of Pitch Black, a newly filmed interview with director/co-writer David Twohy

Black Box: Jackie's Journey, a newly filmed interview with actor Rhiana Griffith

Black Box: Shazza's Last Stand, a newly filmed interview with actor Claudia Black

Black Box: Bleach Bypassed, a newly filmed interview with cinematographer David Eggby

Black Box: Cryo-Locked, a newly filmed interview with visual effects supervisor Peter Chiang

Black Box: Primal Sounds, a newly filmed interview with composer Graeme Revell

The Making of Pitch Black, a short behind-the-scenes featurette

Pitch Black Raw, a comparison between early CG tests and the final footage

Additional behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film

2004 archive bonus features, including an introduction by Twohy, A View Into The Dark, and Chronicles of Riddick Visual Encyclopedia

Johns' Chase Log, a short prequel narrated by Cole Hauser detailing the character's hunt for Riddick

The Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Fury (in 16:9 widescreen with DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio), an animated short film directed by Peter Chung (TV's Aeon Flux) that acts as a bridgepoint between Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, featuring vocal performances by Vin Diesel, Keith David and Rhiana Griffith reprising their roles

Dark Fury bonus features including Bridging The Gap, Peter Chung: The Mind of an Animator, A View Into The Light, and a "pre-animation" version of the film

Slam City, a motion comic from the film's official website

Into Pitch Black, a TV special offering an alternative non-canon glimpse into what happened before and after the events of the film

Raveworld: Pitch Black Event, footage of a dance music event held to promote the film

Theatrical trailers, plus trailers for the two sequels and video game

Image galleries

Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned "night" and "day" artwork by Luke Preece

and First pressing only: Collectors' Booklet featuring new writing by Simon Ward on the film's creature designs (including a new interview with creature designer Patrick Tatopolous), original production notes and information from the film's official website, and an archive interview with Vin Diesel from Starlog Magazine; plus collectable O-card with "night" variant artwork by Luke Preece

It's definitely cool that Arrow was able to include the animated film, Dark Fury, into this package as that was back in the DVD era its own separate release. Let's hope Arrow ends up doing a collector's edition of the sequels in the near future!

This release of Pitch Black is fantastic and I highly recommend!

Lastly, the late, great Rutger Hauer stars in the mediocre sci-fi noir, Split Second (1992), which is a sort of a cross between a lower-budgeted Alien, Blade Runner, and a dark comic book style. Co-Starring Kim Cattrall (Big Trouble in Little China, Sex & The City) as the femme fatale, the film centers on a futuristic London, which flooded due to global warming and a monumental rain storm. While it may not be a classic like Blade Runner, there's some cool stuff in Split Second that makes it worth revisiting, notably a fine performance Hauer.

Roaming the sunken streets are all kinds of low-lifes and dark corners. Hauer plays a rogue cop named Harley Stone, who is out to avenge his dead partner by facing off against mysterious night demons. Smoking a cigar and always armed to the teeth, Stone is essentially a post apocalyptic cowboy, which sounds really cool on paper. The monsters are cool looking when you see them and might resemble the Giger Xenomorph from Alien a bit too much, but they are mostly seen quickly. A dumb choice made was to make the monsters sound like someone is choking and gasping for air. Not very scary, but more annoying than anything. You can however tell a lot of the budget was put towards production design as there are many interesting set pieces. All in all, the film is a mixed bag.

The film also stars Michael J. Pollard (Tango & Cash), Pete Postlethwaite (Inception), Alastair Duncan, and Alun Armstrong. Special Effects are by Stephen Norrington, who went on to direct the cult classic and groundbreaking Blade (1998) with Wesley Snipes.

Split Second is presented in 1080p high definition with a MPEG-4 AVC codec, 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and an MPEG-4 AVC codec, paired with an English: LPCM 2.0 mix. This transfer is from a new 4K restoration of the film that looks fine on Blu-ray. The film still has a 'straight to video' sort of feel to it despite being fully restored here, which may have something to do with the film it was shot on. Some of the sound in the last act is frankly annoying with some rat noises that dominate the mix in a few scenes. What was this sound designer was smoking at the time of post production we will never know. Also notable is that the main title theme heard in the opening credits is a complete rip off of the Blade Runner music by Vangelis and doesn't hold back from doing so.

Special Features:

Audio Commentary by action film historian Mike Leeder and filmmaker Arne Venema

''Great Big Bloody Guns!'' Producer Laura Gregory & Actor Alastair (Neil) Duncan on Split Second (HD, 27:25)

''Call Me Mr. Snips!'' An Interview with Composer Stephen W. Parsons (HD, 22:21)

''Stay In Line!'' An Interview with Line Producer Laurie Borg (HD, 23:02)

''More Blood!'' An Interview with Creature Effects Designer Cliff Wallace (HD, 32:03)

''Shoot Everything!'' An Interview with Cinematographer Clive Tickner (HD, 18:57)

Original 1992 Split Second Making of featurette that includes interviews with stars Rutger Hauer, Kim Cattrall, Alastair (Neil) Duncan, Michael J. Pollard, Writer Gary Scott Thompson and more! (Low Def, 6:26)

Original 1992 behind the scenes featurette with effects creator Stephen Norrington, cast and crew (Low Def, 3:41)

Split Second Japanese Cut, full frame with burnt-in Japanese subtitles (Low Def, 95:00)

Deleted Scenes from the Japanese Cut (English, burnt-in Japanese subtitles) (Low Def, 4:42)

Seven Promotional TV Clips (Low Def)

U.S. VHS Home Video Promo (Low Def, 2:34)

Theatrical Trailer (Low Def, 2:15)

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Dude Designs created exclusively for this release

and Collectible Mini-Poster featuring original style VHS artwork

Split Second had all of the right ingredients, but isn't very original or overly memorable.

- James Lockhart



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