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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Drama > Vampires > Sex > British > Martial Arts > Crime > Action > China > Epic > Turkey > Thriller > Aus > Carmilla (2018/Film Movement DVD)/Invisible Dragon + Legend Of Tomiris (both 2019/Well Go Blu-ray)/Point Of No Return (1994/PAL Import DVD)/VFW + Bliss (Import Blu-ray/both 2019/Umbrella)

Carmilla (2018/Film Movement DVD)/Invisible Dragon + Legend Of Tomiris (both 2019/Well Go Blu-ray)/Point Of No Return (1994/PAL Import DVD)/VFW + Bliss (Import Blu-ray/both 2019/Umbrella)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Bliss / VFW Blu-ray and Point Of No Return Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, the DVD can only play on Blu-ray, 4K and DVD players that can handle the PAL DVD format and can be ordered from the link below.

These next genre films are more stylized than usual and usually more dramatic...

Emily Harris' Carmilla (2018) is a vampire tale that is more interested in mood and style than blood and gore, which is a nice change of pace, except that it also comes across as a vampire film that plays like it is afraid of being a vampire film. Another adaptation of the 1872 Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu novel, albeit 'inspired' by it, I'll give the U.K. production points for ambition and trying to take another approach.

That is especially nice in the face of so many bad film and TV shows on the subject that seem more interested in hiring make-up effects (digitally enhanced at times at that) and then taylor a bad script to their work. It is like a bad Halloween party that you've seen a thousand times, so the film takes its sources seriously and has a few good moments. Unfortunately, even with the efforts of a decent cast of unknowns, it never gels.

Extras include trailers, a Behind The Scenes featurette and a short 14-minutes-long film Harris co-directed with Jonathan Bentovim entitled Three Towers.

Officer Kow Loon (Max Zhang) is a maverick officer who is known for taking out criminals, with extreme prejudice, but when a serial killer starts killing policewomen, Kow Loon's fiancee becomes one of the victims and escapes Kow Loon pushes him off the deep end. Just as sudden, the killing stops and the trail goes cold. But years later, only ex-detective Kowloon can find and discover who killed his fiancee in Fruit Chan's The Invisible Dragon (2019).

Kow Loon doesn't like criminals, more often he uses his fists and excessive force to bring them to justice and sends them to the hospital first. Even though he gets results, the police force demotes him for 'police brutality' and forced him to transfer to the country police. Kow Loon's fiancee is killed by a serial killer and escapes Kowloon and disappears. But years later, the killings start again in another district, Kow Loon will find his fiancee's killer at any cost, even if it means breaking the law or enemies of police. Unbeknownst to him, the killer is connected to his past when he defeated an ex-boxer Alexander Sinclair (Anderson Silva) and he blames Kowloon for the death of his son in a freak accident.

This was an action pack martial arts movie with a trigger-happy cop, who becomes depressed after the death of his fiancee, but then goes after revenge when the killer reappears. I would say this WAS an action/martial arts movie except for dragon that appears at the very end and knocks back the criminal from escaping again. Extras include trailers.

Based on a true story, Tomiris (Almira Tursyn) was daughter of one of the chiefs of the waring nomadic tribe on the plains of the Steppe, but after the murder of her father she survived to get revenge and return to her tribe. Later, when Babylon King threatens the entire Steppe, Tomiris unites all the tribes to show the Persian armies the might of Nomadic tribes and becomes the first Queen of the Nomadic tribes in Akan Satayev's The Legend Of Tomiris (2019).

Tomiris was a girl, born to the ruthless nomadic chief Spargap, their tribes lived, died and survived by raiding travelers and the other tribes on the Steppe. After her father was killed, Tomiris escape and survived the assassins and was raised by another tribe who took in girl orphans from the raids. After she grew up, she returned and avenged her father's death and took back her tribe. When The King of Babylon assassinates her husband and son, thinking a widow would be easier to manipulate, she saw through his lies and deceptions and instead united the tribes to defeat the Persian whose armies were twice their size. She ruled with wisdom and mercy and even her enemies came to respect her.

Watching this film to me seemed like a Turkish version of Mulan (which is likely why it is coming to video now) as a female warrior who showed she could fight and lead as well as any man. This film was more like two movies, first half was on how the main character grew up and got revenge for her father, the second half was more of her adult years and how she reigned as a Queen. Extras includes trailers.

Vincent Monton's Point Of No Return (1994, not to be confused with the U.S. remake of La Femme Nikita) is an Australian crime drama about a soldier named Grady (Marcus Graham) who got busted for a money-laundering scheme only to find out while imprisoned that his brother has been murdered. He decides to escape jail and get revenge.

He turns to an old girlfriend (Nikki Coghill) for help, but she can only do so much as what is really going on becomes more twisted than even they expect and the tale goes from there. I was not as impressed by the twists or turns and some of the moments are bad, but I liked some of the styling, which makes sense as Director Monton was Director of Photography on films like Long Weekend and Road Games (both reviewed elsewhere on this site) making it a curio on top of the fact it has apparently been unavailable for a long time.

Again, another film trying to be ambitious in a genre all involved are taking seriously, along with the audience. That again is pleasantly ambitious, but there are just too many moments that do not work and the overuse of old analog video (people are spying on each other here often that way) ages the film in unfortunate ways. Still, those very curious might want to check it out. Stephen Whittaker and John Arnold also star.

There are no extras.

We conclude with two films by writer/director Joe Begos': VFW and Bliss (both 2019) that includes one we reviewed before. Here is our coverage of Bliss on Umbrella's DVD version:


I agree with my fellow writer that it is not so good and reminded me of better films like Blue Sunshine (surprisingly getting 4K treatment it deserves) and suggests John Carpenter and a bit of George Romero. The Carpenter connection (imitation?) continues with VFW, when a group of old soldiers in the title locale have to fight young punky drug dealers when a young lady bring a big bag of their drugs into the place. Assault On Precinct 13 is definitely the model here (by way of Howard Hawks, but does Begos know that?) and it is not any more memorable than the other film.

He did get a name cast here including William Sadler, Fred Williamson, Stephen Lang, Martin Kove and (also in Bliss) George Wendt, all in an attempt to imitate the kind of cast Carpenter (and Hawks) would like. See both for maybe kicks, but don't expect anything original. Maybe he'll improve in his next films, but who knows.

Extras include Original Theatrical Trailers on both, feature length audio commentary tracks on both film by Begos (Two sets each!!!): with Actress Dora Madison and then Producer/Editor Josh Ethier, Co-Producer Matt Mercer and Make-Up Effects Artists Joe Lynch & Adam Green on Bliss, then Ethier and Associate Producer Brian Dutton and then Producer/Editor Josh Ethier, Co-Producer Matt Mercer and Make-Up Effects Artists Josh and Sierra from Russell FX. Bliss adds Deleted Scenes, while VFW adds a SFX featurette, Making Of featurette and Meet The Cast & Crew featurette.

Now for playback performance. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Bliss is an improvement on the DVD to some extent with a little more definition and better color, but like VFW, both have their share of motion blur and more sloppiness than they should. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both are not great, though VFW sounds better by default, they all have flaws that they should not have at this point in time.

Much better is the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Dragon and Tomiris, new HD shoots with money and hard work in them that have fine color, detail and depth, easily making them the best-looking releases her. The Cantonese DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Dragon and Turkish DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Tomiris also have fine soundfields to go with those shoots, but Tomiris is the sonic champ here just being that much more well recorded, edited and mixed.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Carmilla is stylized to be soft, but this transfer is additionally soft and the format just cannot resolve the shoot as much as it needs to, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix may be better, but the film is on the quiet side often, so only expect so much sound.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Point looks decent for its age and was shot on film, of course, but the PAL DVD's definition gives us slightly better color than if this were an NTSC U.S. DVD. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is simple stereo at best if that and sounds fine for its age, though it could sound a little better.

To order either of the Umbrella imports, the Bliss / VFW Blu-rays and/or Point Of No Return DVD, go to this link for them and other hard to find titles at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Well Go)


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