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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Anthology > Epic > Greek Mythology > Action > Terrorism > Taxi Hunter (1993/MVD/88 Films Blu-ray)

Four Rooms (1995/ViaVision/Imprint Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Helen Of Troy (1955/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Kill Shot (2023/Well Go Blu-ray)/Metalocalypse: Army Of The Doomstar (2023/Adult Swim/Warner Blu-ray)/Taxi Hunter (1993/MVD/88 Films Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Four Rooms Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Via Vision Entertainment in Australia and can play on all 4K and Blu-ray players, while Helen Of Troy is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. All can be ordered from the links below.

Four Rooms (1995) was a much-hyped anthology film with four stories by four different directors tied together by Tim Roth playing a bellhop in the same hotel with the eccentric madness unfolding. It is a classy place, but the events are far from it. Instead of a big hit, it was a commercial dud and critically received a very mixed reception. Quentin Tarantino (who also produced the whole thing) shows up in his segment, Robert Rodriguez has Antonio Banderas becoming too cartoonish for his own good, Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging, Sugar Town) gets a great set of actresses whose characters have witchcraft in common (including Ione Skye, Madonna and Lili Taylor) and Alexandre Rockwell (Sons, In The Soup) with Jennifer Beals in a personal crisis tale.

This all takes place on New Year's Eve, but that made no difference to me in a a film I had to rewatch to remember how much I did not like it, how many missed opportunities there are here, all the acting talent wasted and how none of this really synergizes like it should have. Now you can see it on this Via Vision/Imprint Region Free Import Blu-ray disc as yet another Miramax Film that has been trapped until recently in all kinds of legal deals. It is worth maybe one look because of who is in it, but it has not aged well, making its disappointment more pronounced and unfortunate.

Extras are listed at the order link below and include the original trailer and two vintage Making Of featurettes.

Robert Wise's Helen Of Troy (1955) is one of the larger productions devoted to the tale of the woman so beautiful, her face launched a thousand ships and here, actress Rosanna Podesta plays the title character just well enough and just about has the face to convince us. Sure she has some Hollywood-calibre make-up on, but still a pretty face and it sure did not stop Liz Taylor eight years later in Cleopatra.

So this Hollywood production has its share of British actors and is technically an international production with all the people (including thousands of extras, always better than a thousand digital images of extras and people) in the background. Jack Sernas holds his own as the male lead, as they are joined by Stanley Baker, Sir Cedrick Hardwick, Nial McGinnis, Robert Douglas, Nora Swinburne, Torin Thatcher, Marc Lawrence, Harry Andrews, Maxwell Reed, Brigitte Bardo (in an early role, maybe she could have played Helen at some point) and so many others. Though not a great film, it might still remain the best adaptation of the Greek Mythology tale to date by default and has some good moments.

Helping out Wise was the great, tough Raoul Walsh did some directing and a then-unknown Sergio Leone was directing on Second Unit work. One time editor Wise moved to directing with smaller films, drama and thrillers and later to big event films like this, West Side Story, The Sound Of Music, Star!, The Hindenburg and his best film, The Andromeda Strain. However, this is a little out of his purview and has some of the same kind of lapses as his 1979 Star Trek: the Motion Picture. Still, it is worth a look and its great that Warner Archive got to restore this so well.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer, and three vintage Making Of featurette pieces made for TV to promote the film.

Ari Novak's Kill Shot (2023) is yet another belated entry in the endless and usually forgettable and dated films on the U.S. dealing with its Gulf War conflicts, this time with the Islamic Terrorists showing up in Montana (!!!) and the 'action' ensures with a trio that includes a Navy SEAL come upon heist money. Guess what it is supposed to support?

The strangest thing is how the script thinks it is current, yet also seems still somehow stuck in the 1980s and in the immediate post-9/11 eras. I never bought it and though the action actors do put some physical effort into all this, it is all for very minimal results and just runs on and on, cliches and all. I was hoping for something different or better, but to no avail. Thus, this is only for the most interested, if that.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer, plus three more for other Well Go USA releases.

Metalocalypse: Army Of The Doomstar (2023) is a faithful, if belated fans-only sequel (and conclusion?) to the hit Cartoon Network/Adult Swim TV series about the heavy metal band Dethklok finding themselves battling mythic monsters, black magic and battles in real life the music genre used to write and sing about all the time.

Though never a fan of the show or the music, I am amused to see the music lives and the show having one more go at it here. The artwork is in the mode of the series effectively enough and the voice cast is a plus including John Hamm, Mark Hamill, Scott Ian, Laraine Newman, Julie Mills, Brendan Small and Malcolm McDowell. A quality effort most fans should be satisfied with, I cannot imagine what else they could have done here.

Extras include Digital Movie Code and a folded poster inside the Blu-ray case, while the disc adds the Behind The Metal Curtain Behind The Scenes/Making Of interview featurette. For more on the original series, here is our coverage of the show over the years:

Season One DVD set


Season Two DVD set


Season Three Blu-ray set


Herman Yau's Taxi Hunter (1993) was a serious deal in its time, getting an adults-only rating about a man (Anthony Wong) whose wife is killed by a careless taxi operator. Instead of blaming him, he blames every cabbie in Hong Kong for her death and goes on a killing spree, et al in this semi-exploitation film that has some great scenes, interesting acting, rich urban locales and more blood and violence than you might expect.

Well, it can overdo it as expected, but this is now sadly a record when this kind of thing would have been more shocking. Needless to say we should never look at this or any such film or tale as 'the good old days' though since China has changed Hong Kong into a completely different place, it is a time capsule aside from the narrative of the once-great city in its livelier and freer period. This also happens at the tale of of revenge films as a cycle internationally that started in the very late 1960s and were wrapping up around now. Thus, it is worth a look if you are interested and that the film is gritty with no boring digital visual effects is more of a plus than all involved in its making could have ever imagined.

Extras include a slipcase and double-sided poster, while the disc adds a Stills Gallery, Original Theatrical Trailer, feature length audio commentary track by Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng, and three on-camera interviews (one with Scriptwriter/Producer Tony Leung Hung-Wah named Hunting For Words, another with action director James Ha entitled How To Murder Your Taxi Driver?, the third with star Anthony Wong labeled Falling Down In Hong Kong).

Now for playback performance. The picture quality across all five releases have some issues or flaws that put them on par with each other, starting with the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Four Rooms, which has decent color, but is a little softer than it should be or I remembered. Add the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and PCM 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes being narrowly the same (the DTS is slightly better) off of an analog Dolby SR (Spectral Recording) theatrical audio release and the sound could use a little more work too. The combination is passible.

The 1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Helen Of Troy can show the age of the materials used, but this is superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film which have been muddy and too often pan and can, losing 60%+ of the original framing. The makers use the very widescreen frame to its fullest extent, especially in the early years of scope when the frame as wider as it is here. Wider or not, this earlier, wider CinemaScope has all the same flaws and distortions the format always had and they hold back the picture quality throughout, lensed by the great Harry Stradling Jr., A.S.C., whose work includes Hitchcock's Jamaica Inn and Suspicion, Intermezzo, A Streetcar Named Desire, Johnny Guitar, Gypsy, My Fair Lady, Funny Girl and Hello Dolly!. A master of black and white who became a master of color and widescreen filmmaking, he was as qualified as any Director of Photography alive to lens this film and he delivers to a point he is one of the reasons it holds up as well as it does.

Warner has done the best restoration job possible and was a WarnerColor/Eastman Color 35mm negative film shoot, so no dye-transfer copies were ever made. Thus, expect some limited color and slight fading throughout too. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix can be a little louder than normal, but Warner has done what they could to upgrade the original analog, 4-track magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects. Max Steiner's music score is not bad.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Kill Shot is a digital shoot that has a slightly softer look throughout than it ought to, then the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is not as consistent or well-recorded as I would have liked, so the combination can be trying and plays as slightly dated in an unintentional way.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Metalocalypse has a consistent color palette, but is also slightly soft throughout though some of that seems to be a style choice. DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix fares better, is consistent and turns out to be the best-sounding release here.

That leaves the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Taxi Hunter can show the age of the materials used, but color holds up well despite how this is a little too soft for a 35mm shoot from its time period. Must be a 2K scan at best. The Cantonese PCM 2.0 Mono shows its age and like many such films from that market, it sounds like the original sound materials were not always recorded or stored properly or worse, any magnetic tape (whether it was an analog or digital recording or any combination thereof) might not have had the highest quality and has had some deterioration, even if the storage was good.

To order the Imprint/Via Vision import Blu-ray Four Rooms, go to this link:


...and the Warner Archive Helen Of Troy Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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