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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Crime > Mobsters > Gangsters > Martial Arts > Comedy > Adventure > Science Fiction > Horror > Vampir > American Dream (2021/Lionsgate DVD)/Drunken Master II (1994/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Final Countdown 4K (1980/Blue Underground 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray + CD)/Santo and the Treasure of Dracula

American Dream (2021/Lionsgate DVD)/Drunken Master II (1994/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/The Final Countdown 4K (1980/Blue Underground 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray + CD)/Santo and the Treasure of Dracula (1969/VCI*)/Son/Spare Parts (both 2020/RLJ Blu-rays)/Switchblade Sisters (1975/Arrow/*both MVD Blu-rays)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Drunken Master II Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for some genre and exploitation films, including three new entries and three upgrades of older, notable titles you should also know about...

Nick Stahl (Sin City, Terminator 3) stars in American Dream (2021), which is directed by Spielberg's usual cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (who also directed the forgotten Winona Ryder thriller Lost Souls way back in 2000).

This film is a pretty dark and violent film and follows the story of two Entrepreneurs named Scott and Nicky who need money to finish a construction project and turn to the Russian Mob to help fund them. Not the brightest idea because Yuri (Stahl) is all about beating people to their death in order to get his debts repaid...

The film also stars Michiel Huisman, Luke Bracey, Samantha Ressier, and Kathleen Gati.

American Dream is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition on DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The cinematography is outstanding and so I'm sure it looks better on higher formats. For DVD, compression issues aside that are native to the format, it looks fine.

No Extras.

Despite great cinematography, American Dream is pretty average.

Next, Jackie Chan stars in Drunken Master II (1994), one of the international star's most celebrated films. The film has incredible stunt choreography and is very cinematic. If you're a fan of Jackie Chan then will certainly want to pick up this new restored edition now available from Warner Archive. Set in the turn of the century China, Chan stars as a young man who is skilled in the art of drunken boxing and when fueled by alcohol can seriously kick some butt! Facing against British imperialists who have a scheme to steal cultural artifacts.

The film also stars Lung Ti, Anita Mui, Felix Wong, Chia-Liang Liu, Kar Lok Chin and is directed by Chia-Liang Liu.

Drunken Master II is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC (34.90 Mbps), a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and both lossless Cantonese DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit), Mandarin DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit) which both have optional subtitles, and English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit). The transfer here is very nice for Blu-ray and will surely satisfy fans.

The only special feature is trailer.

The new stacked ultimate edition of The Final Countdown (1980) is now available on the 4K UHD format from Blue Underground, who have only begun to transfer their library to 2160p. This action film has been released by them on a lesser formats, but the detail in the 4K UHD is considerably sharper. Featuring a cast of heavy hitters including Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross, James Farentino, and Ron O'Neal, the film follows a huge military vessel that hits a freak storm that sends them back to the 1940s era.

The film is a bit dated, but has some charm in the shape of its leads. It's a bit slow paced and may loose some for its pacing, but the story is pretty interesting. For the older crowd, the nostalgia is definitely evident in this film.

The Final Countdown is presented in 2160p on 4K UHD disc with Dolby Vision & HDR, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1, and a new transfer struck from the original 35mm camera negative. The audio mixes are in English lossless Dolby Atmos 12-track mix, English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit), and English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 with French and Italian tracks on the disc as well. Also included is a lesser 1080p high definition Blu-ray disc with the same audio specs and a less trailed image, but still of high quality for the format.

Special Features:

Original CD Soundtrack

Audio Commentary with Director of Photography Victor J. Kemper

Lloyd Kaufman Goes Hollywood - Interview with Associate Producer Lloyd Kaufman

Starring The Jolly Rogers - Interviews with The Jolly Rogers F-14 Fighter Squadron

Theatrical Trailers

TV Spots

Poster & Still Galleries

Fully illustrated collectible booklet featuring The Zero Pilot Journal

Reversible Sleeve

and a moving lenticular slipcover (First Pressing Only)

If you are into retro schlock Mexican cinema then the Santo pictures are likely high on your watch list. Now available from MVD and VCI is Santo and the Treasure of Dracula (1969) dubbed The Sexy Vampire Edition. In the film, legendary masked Mexican wrestler Santo invents a time machine and goes head to head with Dracula himself (Aldo Monti) to seize the Count's treasure and distribute it to Mexican families.

Directed by Rene Cardona, this wacky Mexican superhero treat is like watching a low budget version of the original Batman TV series mixed with absurd action sequences and a dash of sex. There are two versions of the film - one with nudity (originally intended for European markets) and one without.

The film also stars Noelia Noel, Jorge Mondragon, and many others.

The presentation on Santo and the Treasure of Dracula is presented here in an MPEG-4/1080p on Blu-ray disc with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a PCM Mono mix. Being a low budget film in a niche market of the time, this may be the best the film can look. It's certainly not pristine and some of the colors look a bit dull, and there's a lot of film noise and artifacting - but it all sorts of adds to the experience of the movie.

Special Features:

Version Comparison

and more new Santo movies with English Soundtracks

The Santo movies are wild and a product of the time. If you enjoy them then you'll want to add this restored release to your collection!

If you're into demonic baby films then you may want to check out Son (2020), which is a new horror title under the Shudder banner and stars And Matichak (who played Jamie Lee Curtis' daughter in Halloween (2018) and Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild, Milk). Directed by Ivan Kavanagh, the film has a sharp and dark cinematic look and a feeling of dread from frame one. While the subgenre is a bit played out at this point, I found Son to be a creepy and satisfactory film worth recommending.

Intruders invade Laura's (Matichak) home and attempt to adduct her young son for villainous purposes. Laura is soon on the run and begins to feel quite ill herself whilst trying to keep her son alive by any means necessary.

Son is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AV codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix. The film looks great on Blu-ray disc here and the colors all come across clean and appropriate. A 4K UHD version would be even better, but this certainly looks better than it would streaming on Shudder.

Special Features:

Interviews with the Cast and Crew of Son

and Deleted Scenes

The idea of a beautiful woman having a body part severed and replaced with a weapon has been around for a while in genre films such as Tokyo Gore Police and Robert Rodriguez's Planet Terror. This wild action/horror/sci-fi film, Spare Parts (2020), takes that concept a step further and follows a pack of gorgeous women in a punk rock all girl band (cleverly named Ms. 45), who are fresh from a rough night of performing at a violent dive bar, only to be nearly killed in a car accident, and later abducted and taken to a seemingly abandoned junkyard for unknown reasons.

After the women are drugged, they wake up with their right arts severed clean (to where the bone is exposed) and soon replaced with a weapon. They are then thrown into a fight or die death match where they have to fend for themselves akin to the gladiator times. As crazy of a concept as it is, it works here in this grind house style gore-fest that is a better Mortal Kombat movie than the one we got in the theater this year.

The film stars Julian Richings, Michelle Argyris, Emily Alatalo, Kiriana Stanton, and Chelsea Muirhead. The film is directed by Andrew Thomas Hunt (who also had a hand In Psycho Goreman.)

Spare Parts is presented in 1080p high definition with a MPEG-4 AVC codec on Blu-ray disc with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix, both of which are pretty standard for the format. The film has a nice cinematic looking looks fine here with nothing that appears blatantly off. Some scenes have a pink and blue pulsing tone during some of the fighting scenes that would likely look better in 4K, but is passable here.

Special Features:

Audio Commentary with Director and Cast

Interviews with the Cast

Fight Training Videos

and Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery

Sure, the film is pretty unrealistic and at times downright silly, but it doesn't hold back from being as crazy as it can possibly get and is fully aware of what it is. The filmmaking is surprisingly interesting and well produced, and is worth checking out if you're a fan of crazy gore-fests. There are plenty of shocking moments of gore that is sure to keep the audience interesting and the abundance of beautiful women on display here doesn't hurt. All in all, Spare Parts is a sleeper hit for me and certainly recommendable.

Finally, the cult classic by filmmaker Jack Hill (Spiderbaby), Switchblade Sisters (1975) arrives in this new deluxe special edition Blu-ray from Arrow Video. Featuring a new transfer and new bonus features, this edition bests the previous 2016 release of the film on Blu-ray disc.

The film stars Robbie Lee, Joanne Nail, Monica Gayle, Kitty Bruce, Don Stark, and Asher Brauner. A town of twisted crooks and criminals stand no chance against the Switchblade Sisters aka the Dangers Debs - a tough all female gang that don't like anyone get past them. As they drift throughout the town they come across a wide variety of hoodlums and street rats that must defend themselves and their reputation at any cost.

Switchblade Sisters is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and an English LPCM Mono (48kHz, 24-bit) mix, both of which look and sound fantastic. Restored from the best elements possible, the film stands out and looks great here.

Special Features:

Brand new audio commentary by historians/critics Samm Deighan & Kat Ellinger

We Are The Jezebels, an archival documentary featuring director Jack Hill, producer John Prizer, casting director Geno Havans, production designer B.B. Neel, stunt coordinator Bob Minor, and stars Joanne Nail, Asher Brauner, and Chase Newhart

Gangland: The locations of Switchblade Sisters, an archival documentary in which Jack Hill and filmmaker Elijah Drenner revisit the shooting locations of Switchblade Sisters

Jack Hill and Joanne Nail at the Grindhouse Film Festival, a 2007 archival interview with the director and actor

Interview with Jack Hill, Robbie Lee, Joanne Nail, an archival 1990s interview with the director and stars in conversation with Johnny Legend

Galleries of behind the scenes stills, international posters, video covers, and lobby cards

Theatrical trailers

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by The Twins of Evil

and FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Heather Drain

To order the Drunken Master II Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- James Lockhart



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