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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Gaming > Death Sport > Science Fiction > Western > Revenge > Drama > Genocide > Politics > Civil Wa > Apex (2021/RLJ Blu-ray)/Major Dundee (1965/Sony/Columbia/Arrow Blu-ray set w/2005 Extended Version*)/The Man From Hong Kong (1975/Umbrella Region Free Blu-ray w/CD Limited Edition Set)/Perdita Durango

Apex (2021/RLJ Blu-ray)/Major Dundee (1965/Sony/Columbia/Arrow Blu-ray set w/2005 Extended Version*)/The Man From Hong Kong (1975/Umbrella Region Free Blu-ray w/CD Limited Edition Set)/Perdita Durango 4K (1997/Severin 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/*both MVD)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A+ Picture: B-/B/B/A Sound: B-/B/B- (CD: B)/B Extras: D/B & A+ (2005)/B/B- Films: C-/B- & B (2005)/B-/B

PLEASE NOTE: The Man From Hong Kong Import Blu-ray/CD set is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can play on all 4K and Blu-ray players, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last, from the link below.

Now for more great genre releases, including some great new upgrades and special editions.

Edward Drake's Apex (2021) is the one new entry here, a film that could have at least been watchable if it had not been so bored and sloppy, with perennial action genre actor Neal McDonough in the lead as a ex-cop serving life who is offers a chance at 'freedom; if he plays the wacky game of the title. Rollerball and The Running Man this is not, as the long, long 93 minutes goes on and on and on and on with no point and wastes our time.

Once again, Bruce Willis is barely here to pick up a paycheck and help sales, but he is not in it much and looks bored for the most part, again. That's a shame, because this could have at least been half entertaining, but its just a flat package deal and a crossword puzzle would have offered more excitement. Sad.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is an HD shoot where the camera shakes way too often and we get annoying motion blur all the time on top of that, so it is not as well shot or made visually as it ought to be. Color is at least consistent. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is also a bit off with location audio issues and a lack of consistent soundfield. Some sound can be on the harsh side too.

There are no extras.

Sam Peckinpah had been lauded for his second feature, Ride the High Country, and sought to follow it with Major Dundee (1965,) a western with a higher budget and greater scope. Unfortunately, his drunk and unruly tendencies plagued the filmmaking process, causing problems on set. In turn, this led to spiraling costs, culminating with Columbia Pictures denying Peckinpah control over the editing process.

While this pattern continued to dog him throughout his career, the personal and professional obstacles Peckinpah faced during filming would inform his approach to The Wild Bunch (1969,) the film that would signal his redemption only four years later.

Often described as "Moby Dick on horseback," there are certainly parallels to be drawn between Melville's depiction of Ahab and Dundee's tireless pursuit of the Apache. His true motives become suspect after the initial cause of provocation is resolved partway through the film. Rather than signaling the end of his mission, he blindly continues to seek out the Apache "until they are taken or destroyed."

Though the restored cut wins out as my preferred way to watch the film, the newly added scenes do little to add clarity, and both edits still suffer from pacing issues. The most drastic change between the theatrical cut and the 2005 restoration is the new soundtrack composed by Christopher Caliendo. Peckinpah had long voiced his disdain for the score producers had saddled onto the film, and this version would be more in keeping with his original intent.

While this score is less tone-deaf to the action onscreen, it has shortcomings of its own and is ultimately too conservative for my tastes. I acknowledge that some of the choices made by Daniele Amfitheatrof back in 1965 are questionable, but it is the more spirited of the two and my personal go-to when watching the film. Purists of either definition need not worry, as Arrow has included both incarnations of the soundtrack on the extended cut.

There are more special features than you can shake a stick at, and with everything included, this is the definitive edition of the film to get. It bundles nearly everything from last year's Imprint release, plus stuff found on the out-of-print Twilight Time Blu-ray, reachable at the link below. Although there is a bit of redundancy across its bevy of featurettes and commentary tracks, it does present a unique opportunity to assess the film from all sides.

My favorite of all the bonus content gathered here, the feature-length documentary Passion & Poetry: The Dundee Odyssey is a great watch. Its presentation isn't the glossiest, but it's a vital study of the film, providing many first-hand accounts of what life was like on set. Sadly, we've lost several of the interviewees over the passing years. Fortunately, filmmaker Mike Siegel saw the need to capture their experiences before it was too late to preserve them.

Both versions of the film are sourced from a new 4K scan of the 35mm archival materials and look fantastic, each presented in 1080p with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The Caliendo score is only found on the extended cut and is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless sound, while Amfitheatrof's exists in both edits and is 1.0 Mono DTS-HD. The theatrical cut, it should be noted, is exclusive to the 2-disc limited edition boxed set. These very much look like the same transfers from the out of print Twilight Time edition.

As it sits, viewing Major Dundee remains a flawed experience. While nothing can make it whole again, the revisions do help bring it a touch closer to the epic Peckinpah envisioned. Arrow has done a fantastic job bringing it to the masses. The transfer looks as good as any we've had until now, and the critical analysis this set provides is as comprehensive as it gets.

For the record, the many extras in this amazing Limited Edition package include:

60-page perfect bound booklet featuring new writing by Farran Nehme, Roderick Heath and Jeremy Carr plus select archive material

  • Limited edition packaging featuring newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

  • Fold out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella


  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation from a 4K scan by Sony Pictures

  • DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround audio with new score by Christopher Caliendo

  • Lossless original mono audio with original score by Daniele Amfitheatrof

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

  • Audio commentary with Nick Redman, David Weddle, Garner Simmons, Paul Seydor

  • Audio commentary by historian and critics Glenn Erickson & Alan K. Strode

  • Audio commentary by historian and critic Glenn Erickson

  • Moby Dick on Horseback, a brand new visual essay by David Cairns

  • Passion & Poetry: The Dundee Odyssey, a feature length documentary about the making of Major Dundee by Mike Siegel, featuring James Coburn, Senta Berger, Mario Adorf, L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong, Gordon Dawson

  • Passion & Poetry: Peckinpah Anecdotes, nine actors talk about working with legendary director Sam Peckinpah, featuring Kris Kristofferson, Ernest Borgnine, James Coburn, David Warner, Ali MacGraw, L.Q. Jones, Bo Hopkins, R.G. Armstrong, Isela Vega

  • Mike Siegel: About the Passion & Poetry Project, in which filmmaker Mike Siegel talks about his beginnings and his ongoing historical project about director Sam Peckinpah

  • Extensive stills galleries, featuring rare on set, behind the scenes, and marketing materials

  • 2005 re-release trailer


  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation from a 2K scan

  • Lossless original mono audio

  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

  • Riding for a Fall, a vintage behind the scenes featurette

  • Extended/deleted scenes

  • Silent Outtakes

  • Select extended/deleted scenes and outtakes with commentary by historian and critic Glenn Erickson giving context on how they were intended to appear in Peckinpah's vision of the film

  • Original US, UK and German theatrical trailers

  • and a Stills gallery

You can read more about the out of print Twilight Time Blu-ray release version at this link:


Just when I thought I had seen Brian Trenchard-Smith's The Man From Hong Kong (1975) again for the first time in a while and that would be that, Umbrella Entertainment from Australia has issued a new Region Free Blu-ray/CD Limited Edition Set that offers the same film transfer as the previous two Blu-rays we covered and a whole new set of extras, including the worldwide debut of the movie's soundtrack on CD. This is the fourth time we are covering the film. For more about this martial arts, action, semi-spy Oz-Ploitation film, you can read all about it starting with this link:


The battles that build up to Jimmy Wang-Yu's hero versus former one-time James Bond George Lazenby's racist villain is a must see in the film's entirety, only getting better with age, extreme political correctness included. The worldwide classic hit Pop/Rock record ''Sky High'' by the Australian band Jigsaw still plays on radios and other services all the time. The CD here is not only the debut of the instrumental score, but of the two cuts of the hit song as recorded for the beginning title sequence and end credits of the film, both of which have different arrangements than the highly familiar hit record version. I am a fan of all of them.

Also, the 23 track CD has the entire instrumental score by Noel Quinlan, two versions of the vocal song ''A Man Is A Man Is A Man'' as sung by Deena Webster Greene and the unused first opening vocal theme song ''Power'' by Peter Nelson that is not a bad song, but done not fit here as well as the Jigsaw classic. The PCM 2.0 16/44.1 sound here is fine and since none of the Blu-ray editions have had an isolated music score, this is the next best thing.

As for playback, the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is from the same 35mm material used for the last two Blu-rays, but this leans a little more towards the darker, richer colors of the Twilight Time release, with slightly more clarity than the last two discs. Thus, I look forward to the hopefully inevitable 4K version, but this is as nice as any version so far.

However, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix here is different than the older Umbrella Blu-ray and sounds more like a slightly richer version of the problematic, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the Twilight Time Blu-ray that loses some of the sound stems in its remix, as again if someone decided to tamper with the older 5.1 mix when they should have left it alone. The best sound for this film is now the DTS-MA 5.1 from the older Umbrella edition and PCM 2.0 Stereo mix on the Twilight Time release. Maybe a Dolby Atoms, DTS: X and/or Auro 3D version for a potential 4K edition would be the next move, especially when this CD sounds so good.

Extras have been changed, upgraded and expanded for the better in this edition, including:
All NEW:
Raw! Real! Quick!: An interview with legendary stuntman Grant Page

  • First official release

  • Original soundtrack CD

  • Audio commentary with Writer/Director Brian Trenchard-Smith with actor Hugh Keays-Byrne and Stunt Director Grant Page

  • Extended interviews from Not Quite Hollywood with Writer/Director Brian Trenchard-Smith, Executive Producer David Hannay, cast members George Lazenby, Rebecca Gilling and Roger Ward, 2nd Unit Cameraman John Steele - and with added interview with Cinematographer Russell Boyd and 1st AD Hal McElroy

  • The Stuntmen (1973): A 50 minute documentary by Brian Trenchard-Smith

  • Kung Fu Killers (1974): A 75 minute TV special featuring Grant Page and George Lazenby directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith

  • Behind-the-scenes footage

  • Press conference and opening night newsreel footage

  • Trailers from Hell trailer with commentary

  • Alternative trailer

  • HD theatrical trailer

  • and an all new Brian Trenchard-Smith trailer reel

We conclude this set of releases with Perdita Durango 4K. Perdita Durango is director Alex de la Iglesia's frequently overlooked prequel to Wild at Heart. While both adaptations take from Barry Gifford's source material, the film versions share no official ties. Whereas Wild at Heart has maintained an audience throughout the years, Perdita was left on the sidelines, available only on VHS and lacking an uncut release here in the states.

Iglesia delivers a film that's raucous and hedonistic, pushing boundaries of taste even now. Think Quentin Tarantino turned up to 11, with just a touch of Troma. It's a departure from Lynch's approach to Wild at Heart but still manages to be quirky enough and weird on top.

Rosie Perez and Javier Bardem have great chemistry, and while both deliver stellar performances, Bardem ultimately steals the show as the terrifying and strangely charismatic cult leader Romeo Dolorosa. The supporting cast includes a pre-Sopranos James Gandolfini, cult filmmaker Alex Cox, and the legendary Screamin' Jay Hawkins in a late-career appearance.

This package includes the 4K UHD, 2160p HECV/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition and Blu-ray discs, both presented with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. While the 1080p version is good, the step up to 4K is revelatory, being so much more vivid and colorful than the older format can allow.

Audio quality is also excellent, and options across both formats are the same. Included are 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless tracks in English. A 5.1 DTS-HD Spanish dub is also available.

Though this edition lacks a commentary track, there are a handful of interviews, which helps compensate. Notable participants include director Iglesia, writer Barry Gifford, composer Simon Boswell, and cinematographer Flavio Labiano. Sadly, none of the cast has returned to discuss the film.

It's been a long time coming, but I am thankful that more of Iglesia's body of work is being rediscovered and given proper high-def transfers. Severin has done a great job with this title and the simultaneously released Day of the Beast, reviewed in that 4K edition elsewhere on this site. These films serve as an excellent primer for the uninitiated. Here's hoping that Accion Mutante can't be far behind!

For more on Wild At Heart and Lynch's films in general, go to this link:


To order The Man From Hong Kong limited edition Blu-ray/CD set, buy them while supplies last at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Apex, Man) and David Milchick


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