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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Comedy > TV > Thriller > Crime > Assassins > Martial Arts > Graphic Novel > Exploitatio > Blue Beetle 4K (2023/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray*)/The Flash: The Complete Ninth & Final Season (2023/Warner Blu-ray Set/*both DC Comics)/King Of Killers (2023/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Lion-Girl (2022/

Blue Beetle 4K (2023/Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray*)/The Flash: The Complete Ninth & Final Season (2023/Warner Blu-ray Set/*both DC Comics)/King Of Killers (2023/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)/Lion-Girl (2022/MVD/Cleopatra Blu-ray)

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

Now for the latest comic book superhero action, including one with plenty of exploitation and one when martial arts is the only superpower...

Angel Manuel Soto's Blue Beetle 4K (2023) is not a perfect film, but it is the most family-friendly DC Comics movie since Wonder Woman 1984 back in 2020 and has young actor Xolo Mariduena well-cast in the title role, though he starts as college guy Jaime Reyes. However, the new employment opportunities will have to wait when he finds an ancient scarab (which reminded me a bit of the 1970s Isis TV series with the late, great Joanna Cassidy, but that's where the similarities end) and he lands up unwittingly becoming a superhero... of sorts.

Landing up with a highly technologized blue suit that has also responds to this various commands, he and even his family are soon under attack because they want that little trinket he has just found, though he does not even realize that initially is the reason for all the violence and chaos.

Though the film has elements we have seen before in other films and TV shows in the genre over the decades, I was surprised by the energy and flow that has been missing form most films and TV shows in the genre the last few years, especially an underrated, extended battle sequence about a third of the way though the film. Not being connected to an amusement-park like multiverse, it gives the film room to breathe and run with the better things it has to offer.

George Lopez is actually interesting here, knowing what is going on and knowing how to play it, with the rest of the cast convincing and all in for some fun and a few good in-jokes. No, it is not a masterpiece by any means, but it is more in the element of what a DC Comics movie should be (Marvel films have a different look, feel and sense, as oddly, do the current Spider-Man films) and now that DC is relaunching a new era of feature films, a potentially stronger (and more profitable; I expect this to do better on home video (et al) than it did in theaters) sequel will probably never get made. That's a shame, because getting a cast this good down pat is very, very hard, so enjoy what they accomplished here and be glad it was not shelved.

Susan Sarandon is the villain of the piece, but she is shockingly robotic and cold throughout with zero character development. This is not the kind of person she is used to playing or usually takes on and we do not get any deleted scenes, so that part of the film is one people will eventually start discussing at some point as they catch up with the film itself.

Extras include Digital Movie Code, while the disc adds: ''Generations: Blue Beetle'' 4-part documentary

    • Told in distinct chapters, explore the journeys of actors and filmmakers bringing ''Blue Beetle'' to the big screen for the first time ever. Audiences will be immersed in the POV of filmmakers who showcase their experiences on set and in their creative studios making the story of this DC character a reality.

  • Nana Knows Best featurette

    • Witness Nana's transformation from an adorable 'abuelita' into a machine gun-wielding revolutionary, and stop in for a few of her most fun moments on set throughout production.

  • Scarab Vision 2-part featurette

    • Xolo Mariduena hosts this series of scene study walk throughs that showcases how the scarab works and the role it plays in some of Blue Beetle's most epic moments.

The Grant Gustin-led DC Comics television series, The Flash: The Ninth & Final Season (2023) is captured here in a collectible 3 disc Blu-ray set. We have reviewed past seasons of the show elsewhere on this site. This is not to be confused with the big screen Ezra Miller-led version of the same character, also reviewed elsewhere on this site, and ironically released in the same year. This is one of the last DC television projects under the old studio reign before James Gunn and Peter Safran have taken over the franchises for Warner Bros.

In Season 9 of The Flash, the scarlet speedster returns as he battles against a band of evil-doers known as The Rogues, who descend upon Central City and put The Flash and his counterparts in an ultimate battle that encapsulates the entire series.

The Flash stars Grant Gustin (Arrow, Glee), Candice Patton (The Game), Danielle Panabaker (Sky High, Friday the 13th), Danielle Nicolet (Central Intelligence), Kayla Compton (Making Moves), Brandon McKnight (The Shape of Water) and Jon Cor (Shadowhunters).

13 episodes make up the season including Wednesday Ever After, Hear No Evil, Rogues of War, Mask of the Red Death Parts One and Two, The Good, The Bad, and the Lucky, Wildest Dreams, Partners in Time, It's My Party and I'll Die If I Want To, and A New World Parts 1 - 4.

Special Features:

The Flash: The Saga of the Scarlett Speedster (featurette)

Deleted Scenes

and a Gag Reel.

Kevin Grevioux's King Of Killers (2023) is based on a graphic novel, a comic book for adults, but that market is now more than oversaturated and does not mean the book will be any good or ambitious. In this case, we only have this feature film adaption, but directed by the creator of the original book. A hitman (Alain Moussi) investigates a bad incident on his own when he is offered $10 Million to take out another big assassin by a new client (Frank Grillo strikes again) only to find he is going to choose from several possible counter-assassins.

Forgettable and formulaic, Stephen Dorff shows up as a very bad man and we get fight sequences that are as mixed as the rest of this is cliched. I wanted to like this one, but the missed opportunities pile up faster than the bullets, bodies and fight sequences, so this is for the very curious only. Too bad, because this one had more potential than is realized.

Extras include Digital Copy and a trailer.

Kurando Mitsutake's Lion-Girl (2022) is a purposely bonkers production, meteors hit the earth and bring with them killer monsters who are out to hunt down the human race to extinction (guess they were not accidental landings?) so we are all doomed... until the title super-heroine (Tori Griffith) shows up to fight for us all. Lucky us. Too bad she did not fight for a better screenplay or more original ideas!

The film has ultra-violent cartoon-accented visuals, some flat nudity, cheap sets, really bad acting, bad editing, bad visuals and sloppy fighting sequences. They rip-off anything they can, but the Casshan (the great animated series (see the Blu-ray review elsewhere on this site) and more recent, darker, odd, live-action version that was a mess) is the main storyline and set-up they are drawing from.

No one looks like they are taking any of this seriously and then we get cheap comic book images and cheaper CGI that all adds up to one of the lamest things I have had to sit through in the last few years and that says something. Not the absolute worst, as it is still more ambitious than Black Adam, but that is really not saying much in this case. Unless you are still somehow EXTREMELY curious, this one is best skipped!

Extras (per the press release) include Directors Commentary (audio option), Interviews with the Cast, a conversation with Japanese Manga Legend Go Nagai, Q&A with Key Cast Members at the Hollywood Theatrical Premier of Lion-Girl and The Making of Lion-Girl Documentary Feature Film.

Now for playback performance. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Blue Beetle 4K is the best performer here, but some of the indoor shots are not as solid as the outdoor ones or as smooth as the better CGI sequences. I like the use of color here and though we've seen more than a little of this before visually in recent years of the genre, it looks good often and the CGI us not as sloppy as so many other releases of late. The lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) has some nice sonic moments, but it also has more than its share of dialogue and jokes, so it is sonically the best release on the list as well. The combination is a little better than many may expect.

The Flash is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mix, which is the same across the board for this series.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Killers is an HD shoot on the solid side and a little better than expected, but it also offers no major shots that are of demo quality or particularly memorable, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has a consistent, professional soundfield. Too bad the combination is not that effective, while the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the DVD is easily the weakest on the list. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 is also a comedown form the DTS-MA.

Lastly, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Lion-Girl is sloppy, a little off-kilter (on purpose more than it should be) and has motion blur and softness that makes it look older than a current HD shoot. And yet again, instead of a lossless soundtrack, which 99% of all Blu-ray discs have, Cleopatra insists on older sound codecs and we get a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is one the weak side. In this case, though, the sound mix is also on the sloppy side, so beware!

- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Flash)



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