Of The Phoenix
Matrix Resurrections 4K
(2021/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray)/Monkey
Weapons Of China
(2021/Well Go Blu-ray)/Shaolin
(1978/*all MVD/88 Films Blu-rays)/Silent
Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B-/B+/B+/B+/A-/B+/B+ Sound:
B-/A-/B+/B+/B+/B+/B+ Extras: C+/B/C+/C+/C/C+/C+ Films:
plenty of action for you to consider.
we have an upgrade of Robert Aldrich's original The
Flight Of The Phoenix
(1965) now being issued by no less than The Criterion Collection. We
reviewed the film many years ago in its DVD release at this link:
unintentionally amusing that they are all heading to Benghazi, the
film has aged well, practical effects as impactful as ever and cast
in great form throughout with Aldrich's skills more apparent than
ever. Yes, it is a bit of a 'stuck-in-a' film, but it is made for a
very big screen and the increased playback fidelity means the film
delivers more impact.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is from a new 2K scan of
the original 35mm camera negative, but it can be soft in a few shots
(especially as it is not a 4K scan) and color is sometimes more off
or odd than any other version of the film I have seen. Other shots
look good or better and some have impressive clarity I have never
seen in the film before. The lossless PCM Mono sound is from the
original magnetic soundmaster, sounding so good, I doubt it will ever
sound better. I say that even after having the CD soundtrack
sounding so good.
include a paperboard version of the crashed plane you can assemble
simply yourself, a high quality paper pullout with illustrations,
tech info and an essay by filmmaker and critic Gina Telaroli, while
the disc adds
a new conversation
between filmmaker Walter Hill and film scholar Alain Silver, a new
interview with biographer Donald Dewey on actor James Stewart and his
service as a bomber pilot and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
the decent remake that itself is already 18 years old (!!!,) go to
it's not a perfect sequel, The
Matrix Resurrections 4K
(2021) continues to bring good ideas to the table of the franchise
and a few bad ones along with it. If you haven't seen the original
movies (all reviewed in 4K elsewhere on this site,) then you simply
won't get what's going on half the time. Being a huge fan of The
(1999) myself, I enjoyed some of the subtle throwbacks seen here, and
hope this franchise continues to have a pulse as I feel there is
still a lot that can be done within this fictional world despite
there being four movies and a superb animated spin-off, The
But as much as I love the Matrix
is a mixed bag, much like Reloaded
film is a perfect sci-fi movie and continues to be awe inspiring
twenty years later, and so it would be hard for any sequel to come
close to that one in all fairness. Despite a few gripes and groans,
is a movie I've never thought would be made, and while it's not
exactly what I initially wanted, I'm happy with it enough now that
it's on 4K UHD disc in a stellar presentation. I think it does
require a few viewings to really appreciate, as my opinion of it has
kind of changed after a few viewings. At first, I really didn't like
it and was angry at some of the things they did and didn't do. But
after letting some things go, I find it to be not as bad as I
initially thought, and have come to like it more. I think the main
problem was that 2021 had a few really great films that rebooted
older franchises such as Ghostbusters:
No Way Home,
that I wanted the same level of care taken with the Matrix
franchise when I saw this film in theaters, and it simply doesn't
live up to those cinematic achievements in my opinion.
brings back Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss as Neo and Trinity with
Jonathan Groff, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jessica Henwick, Neil Patrick
Harris, and Jada Pinkett-Smith to name a few. The film is written
and directed by half the Wachowski duo, Lana Wachowski, and brings
back many (but not all) of the original crew behind the scenes.
Christina Ricci has a blink and you miss it cameo, which is a shame
because she should have had a bigger role in the film.
there's a new glitch in the matrix that is replaying events from a
pivotal story of the past that involves the famed story of Neo, the
messiah who originally rebooted the first matrix. We meet back up
with Neo's human self, Thomas Anderson, who is now an older and
bearded successful video game designer who coincidentally made a
famous trilogy of games based on Neo and Trinity and their infamous
adventures seen in the first three films. Thomas gets pressured by
his boss (who is really Agent Smith) to make another Matrix game,
even though it's always something he said he would never make. During
his stressful near mental breakdown, he comes to meet a new version
of Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and Bugs (Jessica Henwick) who,
along with her crew of freedom fighters, helps him escape the matrix
and enter the real world again. Once he realizes that Trinity is
captive in the real world, he seeks to release her from her
captivity, however, in the matrix she has a family and a new life.
Can Neo convince Trinity of her true identity and help her escape
film has several entertaining sequences including some new kung-fu
fights, an epic motorcycle chase sequence with 'swarm' mode, and a
look at the new real world city of IO. Two glaring problems are not
bringing back Lawrence Fishburne or the original Agent Smith, Hugo
Weaving. While the Morpheus recasting isn't so bad because it makes
sense to the story of the film as him being a younger 2.0 digital
entity, not having Weaving as Smith really hurts the movie as
Jonathan Groff doesn't come close to the uniqueness that Weaving
brought to the role. Even if they would have used Weaving's voice,
but had Jonathan Groff as the human form THAT would have been better.
the film gets past its first act and brings us up to date with the
characters, it seizes to be so 'meta' and starts to move things along
as expected. Neil Patrick Harris is a surprisingly fun addition to
the cast and has a few really cool scenes, especially one with Neo
and Trinity where he manipulates time. His cat, Deja Vu, is also a
funny visual throwback to the first movie and has a few humorous
moments as well.
is presented in pure 4K (2160p) on 4K UHD disc with an HEVC / H.265
codec, Dolby Vision/HDR10, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1, and
audio mixes in lossless English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz,
24-bit) mixdown for older systems,) all of which really make the film
look great here and besting all of the previous streaming versions of
the film available. Also included is a Blu-ray disc that contains
all of the extras and similar specs - although a 1080p transfer as
opposed to a superior 2160p transfer, but the same soundmix.
can tell right away that they didn't use the same Director of
Photography as the previous films, which were photographed by
Hollywood legend Bill Pope, and this also is a bit weird. Why they
didn't bring back Pope is a mystery to me as well as Don Davis, who
composed the soundtrack for the original trilogy as well. Not having
these two key crew members changes the world of the film a bit and I
think works against it. The transfer itself is up to standards and
beautiful with high detail, however.
new musical score by Tom Tykwer and Johnny Klimek isn't terrible, and
reuses some of Don Davis' original themes where necessary. However,
the female cover of Rage Against the Machine's 'Wake Up' on the end
credits is pretty lame. The original trilogy also had the work of
Juno Reactor, a famous industrial music artist, thats work is sadly
missing here as well. The best song on the soundtrack is a love
theme between Neo and Trinity that is pretty powerful and helps make
up for the loss of Davis (who may have retired from film scoring?).
It also has maybe the worst after-credit scene in movie history.
Seriously, Lana Wachowski, that was the best you could come up with?
The Cat Matrix? No. Just stop.
One Can Be Told What The Matrix Is
x Trinity: Return to the Matrix
+ Adversaries: The Matrix Remixed
San Fran Chase
San Fran Jump
is a film that we didn't think we would ever get, and now that we
have it, the end result is a mixed bag. In all honestly, the film
ends as soon as it starts to get really interesting! I hope to see
more installments in the future and half-hope that someone other than
the Wachowskis does something different with the franchise.
isn't a total failure, but can't escape the overall feeling that it
could have been better. Did Lana Wachowski even want to make this
film? It seems by the first act that she kind of didn't.
Regardless, the film exists and it's nice to see Neo and Trinity have
a happier ending than the lukewarm ending the than that of the third
film of the original trilogy, Revolutions.
Films continues to release several Shaw Brothers features that are
now on Blu-ray including Monkey
Weapons of China
(1982), and Shaolin
(1978). These films are considered classic kung fu films from the
Shaw Brothers library and each offer a creative and fantastical
element to their stories and so they are about more than fighting.
Although, let's face it, these movies are more about the action
taking place than the stories themselves. This is the first of many
Shaw Brothers titles that have made it disc lately courtesy of 88
Films and Arrow Video with their massive box sets (Volume
reviewed elsewhere on this site.)
stars Tony Ching Siu-Tung, Hau Chiu-Sing, Lam Fai-Wong, Fong Ping,
Shum Lo, & Wong Mei-Mei and is presented in 1080p high definition
on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio
of 2.35:1, and lossless English: LPCM 2.0 Mono & Mandarin LPCM
2.0 Mono with optional English Subtitles. You can see the difference
in the restoration by simply watching the HD trailer as the actual
transfer of the film is much more crisp and colorful than previous
versions that don't look as vivid.
commentary by Kenneth Brorsson and Phil Gillon of the Podcast On Fire
Around: An Interview with Choreographer Tony Leung Siu-hung
an Original Theatrical Trailer.
Weapons of China
(1982) centers on an order of magical kung-fu artists who face a
former member with a loud mouth that threatens to unearth some of
their secrets. They in turn send assassins after him in a truly fun
and rollicking adventure. Probably the most fun to watch out of the
three listed here.
film stars Chia-Liang Liu, Chia Yung Liu, Kara Wai, Hou Hsiao, Sheng
Fu, and Chia-Hui Liu.
Weapons of China
is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4
AVC codec, and restored in its original widescreen aspect ratio of
2.35:1, and Cantonese and English lossless LPCM 2.0 Mono tracks with
optional English Subtitles.
Commentary by Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
David West on Legendary
Weapons of China
sleeve with brand-new artwork from R.P. "Kung Fu Bob"
O'Brien & Original Hong Kong poster artwork
with brand-new artwork from R.P. "Kung Fu Bob" O'Brien
A3 Foldout Poster
Extensive Booklet Notes "A Strange Call to Arms - Revisiting the
Odd Landscape of Chia-Liang Liu's Early 80s Martial Arts Flick, The
Legendary Weapons of China (1982)" by Andrew Graves.
leaves us Shaolin
(1978) centers on a karate master that is pressured by the Ching
Government to expose Ming Loyalists. A sort of Romeo and Juliet
story, he ends up falling in love with the daughter of one of the
loyalists and must choose his side.
film stars David Chiang, Cecilia Wong, Chia Yung Liu, Lily Li, Wilson
Tong, and Norman Chu.
is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4
AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and lossless
Cantonese and English LPCM 2.0 Mono tracks with optional English
commentary with Asian cinema experts Mike Leeder and Arne Venema
commentary with Asian cinema experts Frank Djeng
Families: David West on Shaolin Mantis
Tien Chung: An Interview with John Cheung
US Trailer (The Deadly Mantis) and Hong Kong Trailer
new artwork from R.P. "Kung Fu Bob" O'Brien & Original
Hong Kong poster artwork.
officer Bong (Donnie Yen) is a veteran cop with history of single
handedly taking down criminals and succeeding when all others have
failed. However, his toughest case is when a mysterious group of
criminals beat them to a raid and left more than a dozen officers
dead or wounded. This new group of criminals turns out to be Bong's
former protege Ngo and a group of disgraced cops, whom he put away
years ago for crime that they were wrongfully blamed for and now they
want revenge those who put them away... including Bong.
Benny Muk-Sing Chan's Raging
Bong, one of the few good cops on the police force, he cares for the
people, his men and he doesn't like how police high command and the
commanders care more about winning points and giving the wealthy VIP
treatment. Years ago, he worked with Ngo, a promising young cop,
under high command's orders they were ordered to extract information
from a suspect and rescue a wealthy tycoon at any cost and that
failure would have resulted in their termination. While he did get
the information and saved the tycoon's life, the suspected died in
high command denied they gave the orders and scapegoated the officers
involved and used Bond as a witness against Ngo and his men. Now
Bong is must somehow stop one of their own, but Ngo knows all the
police's tactics, and he plans to reveal the truth and corruptness of
high command and how they were sent to jail unjustly. High command
continues to do what it only knows how to do, blame good cops to take
the fall. Bong is now ordered to hunt Ngo down, but he knows all too
well, that Ngo isn't wrong nor is his mission to reveal the truth and
his revenge is justified, only thing is he can't do is let other good
cops die ...even if it means they are protecting a corrupt high
was an action-packed movie, it was sorta like a mix of The
Count of Monte Cristo
Few Good Men.
If you were order by a superior to do something and then later
blamed and scapegoated for doing it and your superior lied and left
you to rot, what would you do? It plays to the story of a
hard-boiled cop trying to do the right thing and the tragedy of those
fallen, forgotten and forsaken by leaders who sit out of harm's way
who never work or risk their own neck or lives.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is pretty impressive for a
non-4K release with solid color, detail and depth, while we get two
lossless soundtracks in Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown
for older systems) via Cantonese and Mandarin versions, plus a lame
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 dub worth skipping. Atmos is still a
rare thing for Well Go, but a most welcome addition. Extras
include making of the film and trailers.
Camille Griffin's Silent
(2021) is a true stinker of a Christmas film in just about every
regard. Although it features some decent actors such as Annabelle
Wallis, Keira Knightley, Lucy Punch, Matthew Goode, and Lily-Rose
Depp. Unfortunately, they and the rest of the cast play despicable
characters that are nearly impossible to relate to or care about.
The film has some interesting subtext in places, and it tries to be
more deep and meaningful than what it actually is, but it seems to
take so long to get to its point that by the time it reaches it, the
viewer no longer cares. (At least I didn't.) Kiera Knightley must
have some sort of affinity for choosing terrible end of the world
movies after this and that terrible 2012 outing, Seeking
A Friend For The End of the World.
She tries her best with the material, with her and Lily Rose Depp
being the most convincing actors in this particular bunch, but this
film is just about as forgettable as it gets.
centers on a Christmas gathering of old friends. At first we are
meant to believe it's just another normal Christmas, but about
halfway through the film it's realized that it is all a facade and
that the world outside the house is ending by way of a human killing
manmade virus. Swearing children, unfaithful married couples, and
bad parenting are just a few of the highlights of this painful to
watch 'holiday' film.
film is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an
MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1, and a lossless
English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) that rounds out
a nice HD transfer that's up to standards. The film is nicely
photographed and doesn't have terrible direction, the problems with
the film mainly lie in its story rather than its execution.
and Extended Scenes
Nicholas Sheffo (Phoenix),
Ricky Chiang (Fire)
and James Lockhart