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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Animation > Action > Horror > Comedy > Animals > Redline (2007/MVD Blu-ray)/Samurai Wolf 1 & 2 (1966, 1967/Film Movement Blu-ray)

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham 4K (2023/DC Comics 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray*)/Cocaine Bear (2023/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Primal: The Complete Second Season (2022/Adult Swim/Cartoon Network/*both Warner)/Redline (2007/MVD Blu-ray)/Samurai Wolf 1 & 2 (1966, 1967/Film Movement Blu-ray)

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

Here's a set of new genre releases that deal with animals, humans and otherwise...

Based on the DC Comics / graphic novel by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and comic legend Richard Pace, Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham 4K (2023) is a dark 1920s-based Lovecraftian Batman tale unlike any other Dark Knight story you've ever read or seen. And that's a good thing especially if you like H.P. Lovecraft.

Set in the DC Elseworlds alternate time-line, the film reimagines Bruce Wayne's origin story and features both classic and new villains for the Dark Knight to face. This is one of the better animated DC feature films that I've seen in recent times, and could be a very awesome live action film some day in the right hands, particularly if (former Mike Mignola collaborator) Guillermo Del Toro was at the helm. But us nerds can only dream!

David Giuntoli (Grimm, A Million Little Things) reprises his Batman: Soul of the Dragon role as the voice of the Dark Knight along with Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Gideon Adlon (Legion of Super-Heroes) as Oracle, Karan Brar (Jessie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid franchise) as Sanjay "Jay" Tawde, Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator, The Frighteners) as Kirk Langstrom, Darin De Paul (Mortal Kombat Legends & Overwatch franchises) as Thomas Wayne, Brian George (Seinfeld) as Alfred, Jason Marsden (Young Justice, A Goofy Movie) as Dick Grayson & Young Bruce Wayne, Navid Negahban (Homeland, The Cleaning Lady) as Ra's al Ghul, Emily O'Brien (Days of Our Lives) as Talia al Ghul & Martha Wayne, Tim Russ (Star Trek: Voyager) as Lucius Fox, William Salyers (The Regular Show) as Cobbelpot & Professor Manfurd, and Matthew Waterson (The Croods: Family Tree) as Jason Blood / Etrigan.

An ancient evil from another dimension is being ushered into the 1920s-era Gotham City thanks to a mysterious cult that ties back to Bruce Wayne's origins. Batman must solve the history of Gotham's creation, which is oddly in line with several dark entities all obedient to this ancient Cthulhu-type creature that's trying to break in. One character that gets an interesting spin in this tale is Oswald Cobbelpot, which I won't spoil, but is tied heavily to Wayne's father. The story is clever, original, and does a good job of altering Batman lore in a more fantastical sci-fi manner than the other iterations.

Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is presented in (what looks like an upscaled) 4K (2160p) on 4K UHD disc with HDR10, an HEVC / H.265 codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, and an audio track in lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 sound. Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray version of the film with similar widescreen and audio specs, but a more compressed image. The animation style overall for this film is in line with other DC animated productions and has a clean look similar to the animation style of the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series. Overall, the art is pretty close in design to the graphic novel, but missing Mignola's signature art style. It's a shame there isn't some way that they could animate these films to match the comic art style to a more exact point so that it would basically be the artwork from the page come to life. However, they seem to have to always fall back on this similar animation style for all of these more mature DC animated films.

Special Features:

Batman: Shadows of Gotham (new featurette)

and a Feature-Length Audio Commentary: Filmmakers and storytellers, including producer/co-director Sam Liu and screenwriter Jase Ricci.

Overall, Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham is one of the best entries in the DC animated library and certainly worth checking out! Let's hope one day DC is crazy enough to make a live-action version of this! I'd be first in line!

Actress / Filmmaker Elizabeth Banks sits back in the director's chair for the silly Cocaine Bear (2023), which is loosely based on true events. The outrageous horror / comedy shows us what happens when a grizzly minding his own business comes across discarded cocaine that previously fell from a plane crash and of which belongs to a messy drug dealer played by the late screen legend Ray Liotta in one of his final roles. Any unlucky person who comes across this drug fueled creature ends up in desperate peril and the film goes to great lengths to show just goofy things can get, and it all mostly works.

Honestly, this is probably Banks' best film to date, and seems like she had more creative freedom than she did on that awful Charlie's Angels reboot from a few years ago (reviewed elsewhere on this site, but it was not worse than Full Throttle!)

Of course, a real 500-pound feral bear wasn't used and it's obviously digital, and there are some pretty fun moments that you would come to expect from a film with this title. It doesn't hold back or sugarcoat much, it's just a wild tale with a little bit of inspirational family themes thrown in for good measure. That being said, the film is what you expect it to be and delivers on its promises of being crazy, silly, popcorn munching fun and nothing more.

The film stars Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Alden Ehrenreich, and O'Shea Jackson Jr to name a few.

Cocaine Bear 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) 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mix, which brings the film to life and looks and sounds great and is up to the standards of the aging format. Sadly, Universal pulled another fast one and didn't come out the gate with a 4K UHD release, much as they did with M3gan recently, which is reviewed elsewhere on this site. Speaking of aging formats, a DVD version in standard definition, anamorphically enhanced and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, is also included.

Special Features:

Alternate Ending

Gag Reel

Deleted and Extended Scenes

All Roads Lead to Cokey: The Making of Cocaine Bear

Unbearbable Bloodbath: Dissecting The Kills

Doing Lines

and a Feature-Length Audio Commentary

Cocaine Bear is pretty fun, and I think did pretty well overall upon its release. It is certainly better than Snakes On A Plane, which was a better title than it was a movie. Elizabeth Banks proves that she can direct a fun movie here, and I wouldn't be surprised to see more drug fueled animal movies on the horizon.

Primal: The Complete Second Season (2022) returns for an decent sophomore season, but it is not a show for everyone. We covered the previous debut season at this link:


The caveman/dinosaur journey continues and it has some good moments, but it is hard to keep something that plays like a silent movie going for long this long and expect it to work. The over-simple animation is by choice, so why does it seem a step backwards from the likes of 1970s animated TV shows like the Filmation Tarzan and Hanna-Barbera Valley Of The Dinosaurs? The results are, like this series, mixed for me, though I was not expected Fantasia either. You can read about the older releases elsewhere on this site.

Thus, I can only recommend this for fans only or for those who start with the First Season. Otherwise, you might get bored quickly.

Despite the oversimple animation, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image looks about as good as it can and the mostly-dialogueless soundtrack is here in DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes (people talk in only the last two chapters). It is comparable to the first set, but nothing extraordinary here otherwise and performance-wise.

The only extra is the featurette Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal: Inside The Evolution.

Andy Cheng's car racing thriller Redline (2007) has finally arrived on Blu-ray after many years, a film we reviewed on DVD eons ago at this link:


My thoughts and feeling on the film remain the same, aging oddly and badly as the Fast & Furious films have become beyond lame, yet you don't see many imitators like this anymore. Now, its a curio for unexpected reasons, but if you are interested,

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the HD-shot materials used, getting better color and a more slid look, but it is still too soft throughout and that is the price they pay for not shooting on film at the time when HD was still a lame option. Worse, the original DVD has a DTS soundtrack and here, we get a very lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix instead of a lossless upgrade that is just very weak and aged. A shocking choice, it hurts a film that needs all the help it can get.

It repeats the few extras of the old DVD.

Finally, we have Hideo Gosha's Samurai Wolf 1 (1966) and 2 (1967) has the title character (Isao Natsuyagi) dealing with a corrupt town and then a gold-mining scheme in these two genre entries stemming from the classic films Akira Kurosawa originally made on the subject, though the history goes much further back. These are hardly dramas or documentaries.

However, it is at the point the genre was adding too much comedy and not just because Leone's Spaghetti Westerns were so groundbreaking and popular. The choreography is better than the recently-reviewed Shanghai Joe, but the comedy seems odder here too for some reason. No doubt there is hard work here, but this double feature is for samurai film fans only. At least it is in print for you to decide!

Both 1080p 2.35 X 1 black and white, digital High Definition image transfers can show the age of the materials used, shot in ToeiScope, they can be a bit on the weak side Video Black-wise and some of that faintness can cut into detail, definition and depth. Otherwise, they look good, but that is a little more than annoying. Both Japanese PCM 2.0 Mono, on the other hand, are much better than expected and these two films will likely never sound better, so that's a plus.

Extras include a solid 20-Page booklet on the films with a new essay by Robin Gatto, author of Hideo Gosha, cineaste sans maitre, while the disc adds Outlaw Director: Hideo Gosha featurette with Tomoe Gosha and a feature-length audio commentary track by Chris Poggiali, co-author of These Fists Break Bricks.

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



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