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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Science Fiction > Crime > Vendetta > Revenge > B-Movie > Gangster > Thriller > Mystery > Cable TV > Adrenaline: Feel The Rush (1996/Ronin Flix*)/Final Justice (1984/*both MVD Blu-rays)/Many Saints Of Newark (Sopranos prequel*)/Snowpiercer: The Complete Second Season (*both 2021/Warner Blu-rays)

Adrenaline: Feel The Rush (1996/Ronin Flix*)/Final Justice (1984/*both MVD Blu-rays)/Many Saints Of Newark (Sopranos prequel*)/Snowpiercer: The Complete Second Season (*both 2021/Warner Blu-rays)

Picture: B+/B-/B-/B+ Sound: B+/B-/B/B+ Extras: C-/C/C/B Main Programs: C/C/C+/B-

Now for more mystery, crime and thriller tales in the following releases...

Christopher Lambert (Highlander, Greystoke) and Natasha Henstridge (Species films) star in the post apocalyptic action film Adrenalin: Feel The Rush (1996), which is similar in style and look to other sci-fi action films of the time like Timecop and maybe some inspiration from the Terminator franchise. The cult film label Ronin Flix continues here with releasing interesting cinema (they also released some notable Italian horror titles last year and Lawnmower Man 2 along with this) and, despite the lack of extras, are a label on the rise.

In these odd and uncertain times, it's a bit heavy when the basis of the future-set film is centered around a global virus, but here we are in this picture, where the world is divided by the sick and the healthy, and a group of cops must stop a contagious murderer before he spreads a deadly disease even further. Granted the film takes place in 2017 Boston, but some of the visuals are pretty haunting and could trigger some that are concerned about the growing pandemic problems in reality.

Adrenalin is presented in 1080p high definition with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and audio mixes in English, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) and DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo (48kHz, 24-bit). This is a nice Blu-ray presentation with nothing glaring that makes one think otherwise. The film is nicely shot and does have that sort of '90s action 35mm look that is unique to the period and hard to exactly explain.

The only extra is a Trailer.

Adrenalin isn't a bad movie, per say, and has some interesting action and ideas. There is a certain level of campiness to it, but overall it's not bad to revisit.

Greydon Clark (Satan's Cheerleaders, Joysticks, Black Shampoo) has managed to direct some memorable low budget films and always worked well outside the big budget major feature film system, but Final Justice (1984) is simply not one of his better films, a revenge film Joe Don Baker made before his series of Bond film appearances and after a few films with Clark. He plays a Texas lawman out to get a high Mafia gangster criminal (Venantino Venantini) no matter the cost of boundaries crossed, geographical, political or legal.

Too ad the script is dull, formulaic and predictable. Even by this time, this formula was played out and even a brief turn by legendary singer/actor Rosanno Brazzi cannot save this one. Running a mere 86 minutes and shot in several locations, it could be worse, but it just does not try anything new and Clark simply plays it too safe. For fans and completists only.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film despite its often soft appearance and age in places. Shot on 35mm film, color often saves the presentation. The sound is here in PCM 2.0 Stereo (if that) and can sound a little louder than it needs to, but is fine for its age and budget otherwise.

Extras include a mini poster, while the disc adds a feature length audio commentary track by three members of Hack The Movies (Tony Piluso, Newt Wallen & Crystal Quin) that is not bad, an Original Theatrical Trailer, 74-minutes-long Making Of featurette with Clark among those interviewed.

Alan Taylor's The Many Saints Of Newark (2021) is the long-awaited and somewhat controversial prequel feature film to the huge hit HBO TV series The Sopranos and many expected it to be more about Tony Soprano's early years. His younger self does turn up here (played by the late James Gandolfini's son Michael) and other known characters show up, but the screenplay (despite being co-written by the series' ingenious creator David Chase) goes off into other directions and the film is very uneven as a result.

The cast includes landing Ray Liotta for more scenes than expected, plus Alessandro Nivola, Jon Bertenthal, Leslie Odom, Jr., Billy Magnussen, Corey Stoll and Vera Farmiga, but the story has a few too many cliches that make it look more like a Scorsese imitator than it ought to, considering the show it is connected to. Some of it gets gross, but one too many such moments cut into building any kind of story arc fans of the original show have come to expect. Some of the period recreation does work and plays well, but sometimes even that rings fake or untrue. This is for fans only, if that, and they should skip a sequel movie. Plans are for a prequel series, which mighty force them to work harder to make the storylines work better.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is an HD shoot that has been stylized to look old by the slight cliche of slight fading, which includes the color pallet, which is a little more teal than it should be, so this is a little softer than it should be, though maybe the 4K version we hope to see later will look better or make more visual sense. It really deviates a little too much from the look of the series, which did not help it with fans. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix sounds fine for what it is, often dialogue-based, with a better budget and better-than-usual choice of classic hit songs, but do not expect too much more form the soundtrack save a consistent soundfield.

Extras include Digital Code, Deleted Scenes and a Making Of featurette, but you can read all about the original series, starting with our coverage of The Complete Series Blu-ray box set (no 4K edition yet) at this link:


Last up, genre movie superstar Jennifer Connelly returns in the action packed Snowpiercer: The Complete Second Season (2021), which is based on the film and graphic novel of the same name by acclaimed filmmaker Bong Joon-ho (Parasite).

A sci-fi drama set in a world where unique and strong trains are more than just a mode of transportation, but a shelter and way of life against the vicious snow covered outside world. This new season has startling characters revelations that I won't spoil and amps up the action and tension set forth in the first season (reviewed elsewhere on this site.) Despite being a network based series, the film has a cinematic vibe that makes it feel like it a premium network offering, which is good for the material.

Snowpiercer also stars Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), the incomparable Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones), Rowan Blanchard, Alison Wright (The Americans), Mickey Sumner (Battle of the Sexes), Iddo Goldberg (Peaky Blinders), and Katie McGuinness (Dirty Filthy Love), with Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Itch).

10 episodes include The Time of Two Engines, Smolder to Life, A Great Odyssey, A Single Trade, Keep Hope Alive, Many Miles From Snowpiercer, Our Answer For Everything, The Eternal Engineer, The Snow Must Go On, and Into the White.

Snowpiercer episodes are presented in 1080p high definition with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and audio mixes in lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mixes. This is an improvement over the original network broadcast by a mile and commercial and watermark free.

Special Features include (per the press release):

The Great Engineer: Bringing the Mysterious Mr. Wilford Aboard: Go behind-the-scenes with the cast for an in-depth exploration of the god-like Mr. Wilford as brought to life by Sean Bean.

Season 2 Overview: An exciting and exclusive look at the second season with the cast.

Behind The Character: Mr. Wilford: The cast discusses the mythical character of Mr. Wilford played by Sean Bean.

Season 2 Roundtable: Take a seat with the cast and crew as they have a round table discussion about the show's characters and story.

and Daveed Diggs Season 1 Recap: The exciting first season of Snowpiercer is recapped through the POV of its main character Layton (Diggs).

If you liked the original Snowpiercer movie, then the series is definitely worth checking out. It's not perfect, but is a nice extension of the original source material and is nicely made with strong performances and interesting characters. For more on the show, here's the link to our coverage of the debut season...


And the book that inspired the series and its feature film predecessor...


- Nicholas Sheffo (Justice, Newark) and James Lockhart



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