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Category:    Home > Reviews > Crime > Action > Art > Biography > TV > Romance > WWII > Police > Sleep (2020/*all MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)

Ambulance 4K (2022/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Leonardo: Season One (2021/Sony/Via Vision PAL Import DVD Set)/Red Angel (1966*)/Rogue Cops and Racketeers: The Big Racket (1976) and Heroin Busters (1977*)/Sleep (2020/*all MVD/Arrow Blu-rays)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B-/C+/B/B+/B+ Sound: B+/C+/B/B/B+ Extras: C/D/B/B/B Main Programs: C/C+/C+/C+/B

PLEASE NOTE: The Leonardo Import DVD is now only available from our friends at Via Vision Entertainment in Australia, can only play on DVD, 4K and Blu-ray players that can handle the PAL video format and can be ordered from the link below.

Now, for a new set of crime and action genre releases, a few of which are surreal in their own ways....

Michael Bay's Ambulance 4K (2022) is the bombastic director's attempt to try to recuperate as a filmmaker after giving the world a permanently-damaging mega-overdose of his endless Transformer films, but as he has proved since Armageddon, he was already throwing out any humanity or edge in his filmmaking and is not coming back with any form of competence or honest, believable work for a very long time, if ever.

The talented Jake Gyllenhaal, who keeps getting stuck with name filmmakers at their worst or who have been highly overrated all along, turns in another one of his above-average-at-best commercial performances as a 'hip' master thief whose childhood 'brother' and best friend (the underrated Yahya Abdul-Mateen II from Aquaman) needs some money and help. Instead of just giving his old friend some cash (or we would not have this mess... I mean movie) convinces him to be part of a heist. Of course, it gets botched, so they steal an active ambulance? And it has both a EMT (Eiza Gonzalez from Baby Driver) and a cop who has been hurt bad?

That epitomizes how much the long, long, long, long two hours, seventeen minutes goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. It made me miss old medical TV dramas that at least took my intelligence seriously, that Gyllenhaal fared better with Nightcrawler, we all fared better with Scorsese's Bringing Out The Dead with Nicolas Cage and just how boring all kinds of noise can be, no matter the money that backs it up. I bought none of it, proving once again that even an interesting cast cannot save a giant, overblown dud.

Too self-impressed for its own good, time for Bay to do an ultra-low budget black and white film about human beings or just retire!

The 2160p HECV/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image is actually a little inconsistent and compositions are not that great, while the slap-dash editing is the same tired Bay style that is long played out. Color range and some detail and some detail can be good, but it is all quickly forgotten because there is nothing memorable visually here and nothing you have not seen before.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray disc is a little softer and less colorful than expected, with less detail and depth than expected, so this is not the way to watch this if you have... want to.

The Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) is on both discs and though many of the choices are scattered and show-off in the silliest ways, there is money in the mix, yet it never totally rings true, even when the sound really kicks in. Still, the corporately competent work is there.

Extras include a Digital Code Copy, while the discs (per the press release) add BAYHEM: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza Gonzalez and crew discuss what it's like to work on a Michael Bay set as viewers watch the legend himself masterfully conduct the mayhem, PEDAL TO THE METAL: A look at how Michael Bay took his car chase craft to a whole other level for AMBULANCE, AERIAL ASSAULT: Learn how the breath-taking, heart-stopping aerial images in AMBULANCE were captured, FINDING AMBULANCE: Filmmakers and cast discuss the genesis of AMBULANCE and what drew them to the project, CHASE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD: Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Eiza Gonzalez and crew discuss how LA's endless miles of highways and sprawling streets became a character in the film and the perfect location for AMBULANCE and A TRIBUTE TO FIRST RESPONDERS: Jake Gyllenhaal and Eiza Gonzalez talk about their growing understanding, respect, and gratitude for first responders.

Leonardo: Season One (2021) wants to be the Immortal Beloved of Leonardo Da Vinci's life, minus a large amount of music. Telling of the younger years of the title legend (Aidan Turner, not bad here) focusing on his loves, conflicts and a great artwork of his that is either lost or destroyed. X-Files veteran Frank Spotnitz and actor Freddie Highmore are co-producers here with

Co-produced by Sony with RAI and LUX, it has a little bit of a different feel than so many of these productions in the last ten years or so and is not bad, but it goes back and forth between scenes I bought with many more I did not. Odd that this is only now available as a Via Vision PAL Import DVD Set, but not in any disc format in the U.S. as we post.

Still, those interested will likely enjoy the first eight episodes and it is enough of a hit that it has been renewed for another season. Acting legend Giancarlo Giannini as artist Verrocchio leading an solid Italian cast, but we also get the credible likes of James D'Arcy (Dunkirk) so the cast is a plus. I felt some of this was a run on or things we've seen before, but those more likely to be fans won't mind as much.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image has the darker-than-usual look most of these period TV productions and that is not good, though some money, solid costuming and production design are in the show throughout. It is consistent at least, but made me wish I could see this in 1080p. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 has a fair soundfield throughout, but I bet the original soundmaster is better than what we get in downgraded mix in this older codec. Seems like some good efforts in the sound department are here throughout, however.

There are no extras.

Red Angel (1966) is now out on Blu-ray from Arrow Video. Adapted from the novel by Yorichika Arima and starring Ayako Wakao (A Wife Confesses, Irezumi). The Japanese film centers on a Nurse in 1939 whom works at a hospital that's overloaded with wounded warriors of war. She ends up falling in love with a morphine addict as the Chinese troops start to close in on the facility. Will the conflict between the two nations get in their way?

The film stars Ayako Wakao, Shinsuke Ashida, and Yusuke Kawazu.

Red Angel is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.20:1, and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit). The transfer is quite nice overall and nothing sticks out as uncommon.

Special Features:

Brand new audio commentary by Japanese cinema scholar David Desser

Newly filmed introduction by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns

Not All Angels Have Wings, a new visual essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum

Original Trailer

Image Gallery

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

and First Pressing Only: Illustrated booklet featuring new writing by Irene Gonzalez-Lopez

Red Angel isn't bad, but may be an acquired taste for some.

Two explosive Italian action films from the 1970s come in one box set from Arrow. Rogue Cops and Racketeers, which features the films The Big Racket (1976) and The Heroin Busters (1977;) both directed by Enzo G. Castellari. If you like gunfights, endless practical explosions (including impressive airplane destruction), and cops infiltrating drug busts then this double feature is sure to tantalize your senses. While the storylines may seem pretty familiar what makes these films fun is the inventive filmmaking and admiration of how far they were willing to go to pull off some of the stunts featured here.

The Big Racket: a cop pushes the limits against battling some racketeers and realizes that he must form his own band of do-gooders to beat them. The film stars Fabio Testi, who is a major player in these Italian Crime films.

The Heroin Busters: a basic story structurer but some amazing gun play and moments that made me jump out of my seat chuckling. Two cops go undercover and end up busting heroin dealers in an attempt to stop the drug from spreading. The film also stars Fabio Testi along with Mike Hamilton (Deep Red).

Both films are presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and two lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono (48kHz, 24-bit) mixes in Italian and English. Aside from the nice looking transfers, the soundtracks performed by Goblin (Romero's Dawn of the Dead, Suspiria) definitely are highlights and help add to the insanity of the content.

Special Features:

Original Italian and English front and end titles

Restored original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks

Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks

Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks

New audio commentaries on both films by critics Adrian J. Smith and David Flint

Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the films by Roberto Curti and Barry Forshaw

Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Colin Murdoch

and twelve double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards


The Years of Racketeering, a new video interview with co-writer/director Enzo G. Castellari

Violent Times, a new video interview with actor Fabio Testi

Angel Face for a Tough Guy, a new video interview with actor Massimo Vanni

King of Movieola, a new video interview with editor Gianfranco Amicucci

The Great Racket, a new appreciation and career retrospective of composers Guido and Maurizio De Angelis by musician and disc collector Lovely Jon

an Original Theatrical Trailer and an Image Gallery.


Endless Pursuit, a new video interview with co-writer/director Enzo G. Castellari

Drug Squad, a new video interview with actor Fabio Testi

The Drug Dealer, a new video interview with actor Massimo Vanni

How They Killed Italian Cinema, a new video interview with editor Gianfranco Amicucci

A Cop on the Set, a new video interview with retired poliziotto and criminologist Nicola Longo

The Eardrum Busters, a new appreciation and career retrospective of composers Goblin by musician and disc collector Lovely Jon

Original Theatrical Trailer and an Image Gallery.

We conclude with
Sleep (2020), also known as Schlaf, is a German surrealistic film by Michael Venus. If you like movies that explore nightmares and the dream realm, this one is definitely worth checking out. An award winner at all the big name film festivals, Sleep is creative, creepy, and intense in moments, going back to the silent German Expressionist film movement at times.

The film stars Gro Swantje Kohlhof, Sandra Huller, and August Schmolzer.

Sleep 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, and lossless sound options including German DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) and LPCM 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit) with optional English subtitles. The cinematography by Director of Photography Marius von Felbert (Anhedonia, Jenseits des Spielgels) is particularly beautiful in this film and has some very solid moments of camera work likely inspired by early Brian De Palma films.

Special Features:

Audio commentary by film critic and historian Kim Newman & author Sean Hogan

A Strange Dark Magic, a visual essay by film scholar Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Sleepwalking through National Trauma, a visual essay by film critic Anton Bitel

Dream & Folktale in Sleep, an interview with anthropologist, dream researcher, and filmmaker Louise S. Milne

Talking in their Sleep, director Michael Venus and star Gro Swantje Kohlhof in conversation

A Dream We Dream Together, a compilation of film festival introductions created during lockdown by director Michael Venus and the cast of Sleep

Making Dreams Come True, a glimpse behind the scenes of Sleep

Four Deleted Scenes

Marlene's Sketches, explore the many obsessive dream journal sketches that are only glimpsed in the film, created by artist Christoph Vieweg, presented here in full

Original Theatrical Trailer

Image Gallery

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Oink Creative

Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing by Alison Peirse, an interview with director Michael Venus, and Brothers Grimm fairy tale ''Frau Trude''

and a double-sided fold-out poster featuring newly commissioned artwork by Oink Creative

To order the Via Vision import PAL DVD set Leonardo, go to this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo (4K, Leonardo) and James Lockhart



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