Flight Of The Intruder/Jade/The Relic (Paramount/Lionsgate Blu-ray)
B-/C+/C+ Sound: B/C+/B- Extras: C-/C-/C Films: C-/C/C
Paramount continues their licensing to
Lionsgate of titles in their catalog for the Blu-ray format with three odder
entries from three directors know for doing key genre work and exceeding genre
in their work as well. John Milius is
known as a tough-guy writer/director from U.S. cinema’s counterculture past
and writes many of his own films, while contributing to the Dirty Harry films and even Jaws.
William Friedkin helmed classics like The French Connection, The
Exorcist and controversial films like Crusing
and To Live & Die In L.A., will
forever be associated with thrillers despite his work outside of them. Peter Hyams is an action director whose hit Capricorn One was followed by memorable
films like Outland, The Star Chamber and the underrated
remake of Narrow Margin.
these cases are attempts to do more commercial films and to have hits, but in
all the cases, things did not go as planned.
had the sorry timing of his 1991 film Flight
Of The Intruder hitting theaters the weekend the U.S. started Operation Desert
Storm, so that killed the picture financially and he has not directed a feature
film since. The tale of A-6 Intruder
fighters used during the Vietnam
debacle is a tough guy melodrama that never really worked despite a cast that
includes Willem Dafoe, Danny Glover, Brad Johnson, Rosanna Arquette, Tom
Sizemore, Ving Rhames and Red Brown. Pretending
was a different situation (i.e., like WWII), the film is flat and dull with
nowhere much to go. Now, it is just a
Eszterhas wrote Basic Instinct and
every studio wanted another such hit, so studio head Sherry Lansing paired Friedkin
(her husband) with the script for Jade
(1995) and a cast that included David Caruso (still a target after leaving NYPD Blue), Linda Fiorentino, Chazz
Palminteri, Michael Biehn, Richard Crenna, Kevin Tighe and Angie Everhart in a
murder thriller with a killer wielding an old hatchet. It is too similar to the previous hit in
plot, but Friedkin tries to make it work.
This is the shorter R-rated cut and does not work as well as the uncut
version, in fairness to all involved.
Add the critics out to get Eszterhas with those out to get Caruso and
the film did not have a chance.
hot off of a big hit with Jean-Claude Van Damme and a smaller film when he took
on The Relic (1997) with Penelope
Ann Miller at her early peak doing an action film in the James Cameron mode
with a giant monster on the loose made possible by the title item. No more than a fun genre film at best, it was
not a big hit, but has its fans and with additional casting that includes Linda
Hunt, James Whitmore, Tom Sizemore, Diane Robbin, Francis X. McCarthy, Audra
Lindley and Constance Towers, you get odd casting as well that makes this oddly
watchable more than you would think. Too
bad the script is formulaic.
1.78 on Jade is softer and weaker
throughout than it should be and thanks in part to Director of Photography
Andrzej (Speed, The Verdict) Bartkowiak, A.S.C., is a much better looking film than
what we get here. This is likely an
older HD master for the R-rated cut and when they do the uncut edition down the
line, need to do a brand-new transfer. The
1080p 2.35 X 1 image on both Relic
and Flight also disappoint, both
shot in Super 35mm and showing their age as a result, but the problems are
different in each case.
Flight (lensed by Director of
Photography Fred J. Koenekamp, A.S.C., of Billy
Jack and The Towering Inferno)
is also an older HD master, but holds up better than the other two Blu-rays,
yet detail is weak, there is noise where there should not be and color can also
be limited. Hyams lensed Relic himself and the imitation of
James Cameron’s films is more obvious visually than ever before, yet he does a
better job than most and the look is more consistent than most in the genre.
The Relic is infamous for looking too dark
ion previous DVD and other incarnations, so though the Blu-ray has more
clarity, it is not as much as the 35mm film prints of the time would have had
and this too is an older HD master with noise, detail issues and other flaws
that should not be there. It is just too
soft. In all cases, darker shots have
more troubles than bright ones.
MA (Master Audio) lossless soundmixes in all cases is the first time any of
these films have been in DTS in the U.S. market. Older home theater fans of The Relic will
note the sound has been upgraded to a 7.1 mix and almost was a DTS DVD until Paramount decided not to
do DTS. However, there is a clip of the
climax of the film in DTS 5.1 on the still-collectible DTS Demo DVD No. 4 fans
and home theater experts used as a demo for years. Though the image quality is weak on some
clips, the sound is not. Compare the DTS
DVD clip of the same scene with Miller vs. the monster to the Blu-ray’s sound
and you can hear the 7.1 was stretching things a bit.
get some good base of the monster running around and crashing through things,
but it is weakened by the extension. Flight has the best mix in its DTS 5.1,
which comes from the advanced Dolby analog SR (Spectral Recording) mix and is
one of the better upgrades, but it is still dated and weak. Jade
was originally a Dolby Digital release, but is oddly the weakest-sounding film
here, no doubt again from the older soundmaster.
hardly any extras here. All have
trailers for their respective films and other Lionsgate titles, but Relic adds an interview featurette with
Hyams and audio commentary track by Hyams.
- Nicholas Sheffo