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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Stunts > Martial Arts > Comedy > Deathcheaters (1976/Region 4 PAL Import/Madman DVD Set/Australia)

Deathcheaters (1976/Region 4 PAL Import/Madman DVD Set/Australia)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: B-†††† Film: C+

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Four/4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Madman Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.

 

 

In between his epic action fest The Man From Hong Kong (1975) and cross between a wild Rock concert and more amazing stuntwork in Stunt Rock (1978, both reviewed elsewhere on this site), Director Brian Trenchard-Smith made Deathcheaters (1976) with his usual combination of great fight scenes, great stunt work, wacky humor and action plotting that owes something to the James Bond films.This one also owes something to the TV series The Persuaders too as two wildmen (Grant Page and John Hargreaves) are pushed into a suicide mission in the Philippines.

 

They are so over the edge that part of the idea (especially implied at the time) is that they are a two-man Wild Bunch, so this film even has elements of a Professional Western, but without the larger cast.Along the way, there are all kinds of eccentric characters, bad people and other outrageous moments that make it another amusing and very watchable Trenchard-Smith film.Sure, the story is derivative (shamelessly too) and the script somewhat thin, but once the action kicks in, that does not matter and he odes it better than most of his Hollywood counterparts, especially now.

 

The leads are well matched, with Page a real-life stuntman doing as good an acting job as the film needs, while Hargreaves is convincing as his no-stunt-is-too-dangerous best friend.Michael Coveís script also throws in elements of the karate films of the time and James Bond films to that time, so this is a mix, but one that works well enough to catch and Trenchard-Smithís action directing is top notch, even when the story is left behind.Peter Collingwood (Razorback, Newsfront), Margaret Gerard, Roger Ward (the original Mad Max) and Noel Ferrier (Turkey Shoot) also star.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image represents the first major work of award winning Director of Photography John Seale, who would go on to lens Witness, Children Of A Lesser God, The Mosquito Coast, Rain Man, The English Patient, The Firm, The Perfect Storm, Cold Mountain, Harry Potter & The Sorcererís Stone and Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time.This was shot in 35mm and the print looks good for its age, while the film itself looks good overall with editing that holds up and some nice locations.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono shows its age too, but is just fine considering the budget of the film.

 

Extras include another Trenchard-Smith feature-length audio commentary with Gerard & Executive Producer Richard Brennan, trailers, stills and DVD 2 has his amazing documentary Dangerfreaks, narrated by Nick Tate (Space: 1999) that is even better than the actual film, but should be seen afterwards.

 

 

As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD set import exclusively from Madman at:

 

https://www.madman.com.au/actions/channel.do?method=view

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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