(2021/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Drive-In
Brain From Planet Arous
Diagram Pole Fighter
(2021/AMC/RLJ Blu-ray Set)
B- & C/B-/B+/B- Sound: B & C+/B-/B+/B Extras: C/D/B/D
Films: C/B C+ B/B/C
genre B-movies coming up...
I watched Mark Williams' Blacklight
(2021) with Liam Neeson doing his same action schtick, I realized
that he may be the actual 'last action hero' as great lead actors
like Sean Connery are long gone, the Harrison Fords of the world have
moved onto other genres for the most part and now that Bruce Willis
has sadly had to opt out early from filmmaking for horrific health
reasons, Neeson is the last star of this long cycle that began in the
1980s for better and too often for worse.
since this once again uses a child for too much illicit appeal to
pity as Neeson works for a government agency just outside of legality
to uncover a secret group killing people for what seems at random,
but might be even worse than the usual senseless violence. When he
gets too close, his daughter and granddaughter are targeted and the
combination of melodrama and mud are just too much to bear for its
long, long 105 minutes. Aidan Quinn is also here among the very
bored cast of mostly unknowns and its predictability and bad
scripting collapse as this just becomes plain odd and weird, never
going anywhere and ending abruptly never soon enough.
result is an unfortunate package deal that feels like it only
happened because of the COVID crisis. If you've seen some of
Neeson's other action films, you've already seen most of this.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray is a
little softer throughout than a new such production should be with
few memorable shots, while the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the same disc is better,
but nothing special here either despite a consistent soundfield.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the DVD is much softer and
hard to watch often, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a
little better than the picture, but still much weaker than it needs
Copy Code, while the discs add two brief featurettes: Blacklight:
Behind the Scenes
is a triple
set entitled Drive-In
Brain From Planet Arous
classic drive-in B Monster Movies that come together in this
enjoyable triple feature. These are all second tier fun monster
movies that fans who read classic magazines of Famous Monsters of
Film Land will fondly remember, though the first one is the best
is a fun space-age movie with special effects that are simple and
work pretty well for the time. The film centers on a space mission
to the moon that gets re-routed to Mars, where they find a planet
full of radiation riddles creatures.
film stars Osa Massen, Lloyd Bridges, Noah Berry, and John Emery to
name a few.
Brain from Planet Arous
features a brain from another world that assumes the body of a
scientist and shakes up all sorts of chaos in his reign for world
domination. There is another brain, however, that challenges him.
The film is a little silly and uses some wild contacts on its
protagonist to show that he is possessed.
film stars John Agar, Joyce Meadows, and Robert Fuller.
Hideous Sun Demon
is a pretty silly knock off of The
and doesn't take the time to show the inciting incident that turns
man into monster, but just tells it in some dialogue. The stock
music used in the soundtrack is the same as George A. Romero's
of the Living Dead
as well, which is fun to take note. The film is obviously shot on
the cheap in the Los Angeles era and is pretty fun as a time capsule
film stars Robert Clarke, Patricia Manning, and Nan Peterson to name
three films are presented in standard definition 1.33 X 1 on DVD in
full frame aspect ratios and black and white images. The transfers
themselves don't look too bad and so it's curious why the release
isn't on Blu-ray rather than DVD. There's nothing too special about
the 2.0 Mono audio mixes and overall this is a fine enough transfer
to watch the films.
three films are pretty fun to watch in retrospective and this set is
definite one that Sci-Fi fans will want to grab if they already don't
know these films. You just have to wonder, why not a Blu-ray?
8 Diagram Pole Fighter
considered Director Lau Kar-leung's (The
36th Chamber of Shaolin)
masterpiece and was infamously filmed at the near end of the life of
the Shaw Brothers production studio. When one of the lead actors
(Alexander Fu Sheng) died midway through production, Kar-leung sprung
to action and came up with a satisfying story alternative to save the
film from certain doom. Now seeing a pristine release on Arrow
Video, the film can be appreciated by a new generation in this
collectible new edition on Blu-ray disc.
film stars Chia-Hui Liu, Kara Wai, Sheng Fu, Lily Li, Ching-Ching
Yeung, and Lung Wei Wang. The film centers on a group of Monguls who
ambush the Yang Family and hunt down the last remaining descendants
so that their villainous plot to overthrow a sacred dynasty will not
come to fruition.
8 Diagram Pole Fighter
is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4
AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35 X 1 (in ShawScope!!!),
and has Cantonese (with English sub option) and an English dubbed,
lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) Mono mix, depending on your
preference. The transfer looks gorgeous and a good way to compare it
is to make the trailer also on the disc where you can see the
difference in quality.
new commentary by Jonathan Clements, author of A
Brief History of China
filmed appreciation by film critic and historian Tony Rayns
with stars Gordon Liu, Lily Li and Yeung Ching-ching, filmed by
Frederic Ambroisine in 2004
Tribute to Fu Sheng,
a short film commemorating the late actor that played before early
screenings of The
8 Diagram Pole Fighter,
presented via a German-dubbed telecine (the best available copy) with
opening credits, as The
Invincible Pole Fighters
sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc
Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing on the film by
Terrence J. Brady.
film is pretty fun to watch and if you're into the other films in the
Shaw Brothers library then you will want to grab this one up too.
a(nother) new gangster show, Kin:
(2021) takes place in Dublin, Ireland and once again, a child is
killed, which lands up igniting a gangland/gangster war complete with
drug dealer and everyone threatening to kill everyone and this goes
on for eight hours. Its got Charlie Cox, Clare Dunne, Aidan Gillen
and the inarguable Ciaran Hinds, who often saves this from its
repetition, predictability and overly-dark look, but it just runs on
and on and on and on too much for its own good.
at least takes itself seriously, but the look of the show ruins the
location shooting. There apparently will be one more season, so
we'll see what they do with that, but if they keep on this course, I
cannot imagine it lasting much longer.
1080p 1.78 X 1 image is a little darker and softer than it should be
or needs to be, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless 5.1 sound
on each episode is well recorded, mixed and presented with consistent
soundfields throughout. Too bad that cannot improve the show.
are no extras.
Nicholas Sheffo (Blacklight,
and James Lockhart