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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > Epic > Disaster > Mistaken Identity > Japan > Documentary > Biography > Filmmaking > Martia > Bullet Proof (2021/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Fugitive From The Past (1965/Arrow Blu-ray*)/I Am Alfred Hitchcock (2021/ViaVision PAL Import DVD)/Preman: Silent Fury (2021/Well Go Blu-ray)/Village In The Woods

Bullet Proof (2021/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Fugitive From The Past (1965/Arrow Blu-ray*)/I Am Alfred Hitchcock (2021/ViaVision PAL Import DVD)/Preman: Silent Fury (2021/Well Go Blu-ray)/Village In The Woods (2019/4Digital Media Unlimited DVD/*both MVD)

Picture: B-/B+/C+/B+/B- Sound: B/B+/C+/B+/B- Extras: D/B/D/D/C- Films: C-/B/B-/C/C

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

Now for a new set of suspense, action and thrillers...

James C. Clayton's Bullet Proof (2021) is another pointless thriller with no thrills (Vinnie Jones plays a 'mob boss' but this is miles away from, any serious kind of gangster genre film, including the many great British gangster films we've seen over the decades) as a young new group of criminals what to challenge his power and wealth (of course, they're all idiots) and he will have to take them on single-handedly. Oh, and his wife happens to be pregnant, though he is an old school gangster (aka OG) in all this.

Running a long, long, long, unfortunate 92 minutes, the real problem was seeing a talent like Jones wasted for over 1.6 hours when he deserves better. Staying 'in the game' cinematically while playing a character doing the same in a fictional crime world has irony, but that is one of many, many things the screenplay is oblivious too. Too bad the print copies were not gunned down, as I doubt they were 'bullet proof' as any semblance of a plot or story is only by barely existing, though the cliches keep flying like a repeatedly-loaded AK47. Yawn!

The 1080p 2.00 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer has its share of motion blur, bad shots and an unusual aspect ratio that makes this look as bad as it sounds, though the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is not bad and is the default highlight of this dud.

There are no extras, unless you count Digital Copy, but we do not.

A Fugitive From The Past (1965, aka Straits of Hunger,) is from acclimated Japanese filmmaker Tomu Uchida (Bloody Spear at Mount Fuji, The Mad Fox), and is even hailed by the prestigious Cinema Junpo magazine's poll in 1999 for one of the top Japanese films of its kind of the 20th Century.

The epic movie that is over three hours in length, tells the story of a man who escaped a passenger ferry crash at sea, leaving him responsible for many deaths. He flees to the mainline and finds a friend in a prostitute. Ten years past, and he finds himself with a new life... until she sees the woman from his past. The film stars Rentaro Mikuni, Sachiko Hidari, Koji Mitsui, Yoshi Kato, Sadako Sawamura, and Susumu Fujita.

A Fugitive From The Past is presented in black and white, 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 (original aspect ratios apparently 2.66:1 and originally shot in 16mm negative film!) and a Japanese LPCM Mono mix with English subtitles. The black and white film has been nicely restored and is up to the high standards set by Arrow.

Special Features:

Introduction by scholar, writer and curator Jasper Sharp

Scene-specific commentaries from leading Japanese film scholars Aaron Gerow, Irene González-Lopez, Erik Homenick, Earl Jackson, Daisuke Miyao and Alexander Zahlten

Original Theatrical Trailer

Image Gallery

Tomu Uchida filmography

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella

and First Pressing Only: Fully illustrated collector's booklet featuring writing on the film by David Baldwin and Inuhiko Yomota.

If you are a fan of Japanese cinema, then this film is recommended, even if it is a bit long.

Joel Ashton McCarthy's I Am Alfred Hitchcock (2021) is another solid, fine and decent attempt to deliver a documentary biography on The Master Of Suspense, though it has under 90 minutes to do it, it is not bad and obviously has to squeeze all kinds of biography, filmography, interviews and other derails throughout and does a decent job. Yes, there is overlap with the many other looks at Hitchcock's work and career, including the dozens of featurettes by now issued with so many of his films on home video, et al.

Network U.K. was the original producer of this one and the best quotes come from the stars who worked with the director, plus the informed likes of Edgar Wright, Ben Mankiewicz, John Landis and more. Fans will enjoy this one, while it also makes for a great crash course for those less familiar, there are too many spoilers here to recommend it of the bat, so save it after you've seen most of his films if you are new to his work.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image looks fine for the most part, with the vast majority of the older clips looking good and new footage fine. With several Hitchcock films now in 4K, even if this were issued on Blu-ray, it is not going to stack up to that. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound are not bad for the old codec formats, but the 5.1 has an edge and it is better to go with that mix, though you can experiment yourself when you get the disc.

There are sadly no extras.

If you're looking for a violent romp then the Indonesian film, Preman: Silent Fury (2022) should whet your appetite and leave you feeling a bit dirty inside. The martial arts action movie was a big winner at Fantastic Fest and is now. The film centers on a Preman, an Indonesian crime boss, who comes to tell the truth to his son, to whom he must protect for a gang of killers out to get them. The film stars Khiva Iskak, Muzakki Ramdhan, & Kiki Narendra and is directed by Randolph Zaini.

The 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, Indonesian DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix with English subtitles. The presentation on Blu-ray disc looks and sounds fine and is up to standards of the format.

Special Features: Trailer.

Preman: Silent Fury isn't bad for what it is, but doesn't bring much new to the table either.

The Village In The Woods (2019) is out on DVD and is a British Horror Movie set in a fog covered countryside, and is a sort of folk horror film inspired by Blood on the Satan's Claw (1971) and others.

Directed by Raine McCormack, a couple breaks down in the woods and soon come across an abandoned village where the inhabitants have an insidious plan for them steeped in ritual. The film stars Therese Bradley, Chloe Bailey, Rebecca Johnson, Richard Hope, Phil Martin, and Katie Alexander to name a few.

The film is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio mixes. The film isn't shot badly, but the transfer is lacking and pushes the limits of the aging DVD format.

The only special feature is a trailer.

The Village in the Woods isn't bad, but it takes a while to get going and is sort of predictable at times. Still, considering the horror sub-genre that it's taking on, it does a good job of delivering.

To order the I Am Hitchcock ViaVision PAL import DVD, go to this link to order and be sure to explore more hard-to-get titles form the company as well:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Hitchcock, Proof) and James Lockhart



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