Wrong Bet!! Lionheart (MVD Rewind Collection) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots



Studio: MVD Visual

Release Date: January 11th, 1991 (Theatrical) / June 12th, 2018 (Blu-ray)

Run Time: 104 mins (Theatrcial Cut) / 110 mins (Extended Cut)

Region Code: REGION FREE

Picture 1080p (1.78:1) (Theatrical Cut) / 1080p w/ 480i inserts (1.85:1) (Extended Cut) / 480p (1.78:1) (Theatrical Cut-DVD)

Sound: English LPCM 2.0 (Theatrical Cut) / Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 (Extended Cut) and (Theatrical Cut- DVD)

Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Harrison Page, Deborah Rennard, Lisa Pelikan, Brian Thompson

Written by Sheldon Lettich and Jean-Claude Van Damme

Directed by Sheldon Lettich

Rated R (graphically violent fight scenes and for strong language) (Theatrical Cut) / Not Rated (Extended Cut)


THE FEATURES ⭐⭐⭐1/2
  • Theatrical Cut (1h 44m, HD, 1.78:1)

  • Extended Cut (1h 50m, HD, 1.85:1) The scenes and shots added into this release are from an SD source. The picture quality drops when these scenes and shots come into play.

Audio Commentary with director Sheldon Lettich and actor Harrison Page. The commentary track is only on the Extended Cut of the film and is only selectable once the Extended Cut has been selected from the main menu.

The commentary is very entertaining as Lettich and Page have a great rapport with each other. They both have great memories when it comes to the film and tell some great stories.

The Story of Lionheart (47m 28s, HD) Director Sheldon Lettich, producer Eric Karson, actor/co-writer Jean Claude Van Damme, and actors Harrison Page, Deborah Rennard, and Brian Thompson are all on hand to talk about the film and tell stories. The film came from an idea that Van Damme had about telling the story of his career up to that point through the guise of a martial arts film. Lettich had written the screenplay for Bloodsport and he got to know Van Damme well on that film. Karson had made Black Eagle with Van Damme and he came on as a producer. The rest of the cast were hired through auditions. This is a really good making of. I was thoroughly entertained and actually wished that there was more. Towards the end of the making of you can tell that Van Damme doesn’t really want to talk anymore because he starts to fold a piece of paper that is on the table in front of him and his answers start becoming shorter and shorter. Kudos to MVD for being able to secure Van Damme for the special features. Other studios have tried and failed.

Inside Lionheart with the Filmmakers and Cast (25m 52s, HD) Everyone who was in the previous making of is back for this look at the each of the actors and filmmakers and how they became involved in the project. This plays like stories that were deleted from the main making of but edited into a new story.

Lionheart: Behind the Fights (10m 18s, HD) Lettich, Karson, and Van Damme talk about the fight scenes in the film. Lettich tells a story about how they hired too many fighters and had to scale the roles down. They got rid of actors who looked too much like other actors in the film because they didn’t want to audience to become confused if everyone looked the same.

Making of Featurette (8m 52s, SD, 1.33:1) Made during the filming of Lionheart, this featurette is a promotional piece aimed at selling the film to video stores and to be featured on TV shows like Entertainment Tonight.

Interview with Sheldon Lettich (25m 51s, SD) Produced for the Digidreams blu-ray in Germany, this interview with the film’s director is good, but many of the same stories are told elsewhere on the disc.

Interview with Harrison Page (13m 4s, SD) Another interview produced for the German blu-ray.

Behind the Scenes of the Audio Commentary (5m 39s, SD) Here we see Lettich and Page recording the commentary track that appears on the German blu-ray (it is on this disc as well).

Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery 94m 45s, SD)

Five Promotional TV Clips:
  • #1 (1m 29s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • #2 (1m 3s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • #3 (1m 26s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • #4 (1m 15s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • #5 (1m 24s, SD, 1.33:1) 
Trailers (found in tab on main menu)
  • Lionheart (2m 6s, SD)
  • Black Eagle (2m 13s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • Return of Swamp Thing (1m 27s, HD)
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (2m 11s, SD, 1.33:1)
THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Lionheart comes to blu-ray from MVD Visual as part of their Rewind Collection.


The packaging is meant to look like an old VHS from the video store days. The front features the film’s original theatrical art, which has been used for almost every U.S. release of the film. We get some faux stickers that remind us that this release is a “2 day rental” and to “Bee Kind! Remember to Rewind”


The blu-ray/dvd are housed inside of a clear, non-eco friendly blu-ray case.


This release also includes a fold-out mini poster of the cover art.

The discs are both REGION FREE.

THE PICTURE (Theatrical Cut) ⭐⭐⭐1/2  (Extended Cut) ⭐⭐ 

Theatrical Cut

Extended Cut
Presented in 1.78:1, which opens the frame up from the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and the results are very nice. This looks like it could have come from a recent remaster (it isn't mentioned on the box) as the picture looks lively. There is a nice amount of grain throughout that lends to a lot of detail. Clothing, hair, etc gets a nice uptick in detail. Colors look great and skin tones are natural and healthy. This is the best that Lionheart has looked.

Theatrical Cut

Extended Cut
The Extended Cut of the film does not benefit from any of the positives that the theatrical version does. This version comes from the German blu-ray done by Digidreams Studios. They are known for lathering their films in DNR after removing film, and thus the detail. While the film doesn't look like some of the worst DNR’d messes that we have seen (Predator: Ultimate Hunter Edition, Moontrap), but it doesn't look too good either. Detail hasn't been scrubbed completely but it might as well have been. Colors are ok, but skin tones are awful with no detail and colors ranging from brown to red. The extended shots and scenes all come from an SD source so the picture quality jumps around a lot during these scenes. I understand that the Digidreams guys in Germany ruined a lot of films with their despicable practices, but this is not the version of the film that you want to watch.

I want to make this known: I do not hold MVD Visual or the people who run the Rewind Collection at fault for how the picture looks on the Extended Cut. They had nothing to do with how the picture quality looks on the version of the film. They were given the Extended Cut that Digidreams over in Germany created. MVD is in a damned if they do, damed if they don't situation here. They could have not released the Extended Cut and they would have gotten shit for not including it. They have included it, but are getting shit for it on some forums. I am glad that they released it because this is the only way we will see this version of the film. If you want to damn anyone, then damn Digidreams for their shit practices when it comes to removing detail from a film. MVD did do a restoration and it looks amazing. Give MVD credit for that.

Theatrical Cut

Extended Cut
I have uploaded the screenshots above onto Screenshot Comparison so that they can be looked at in a much better way.

Screenshot Comparison #1
Screenshot Comparison #2
Screenshot Comparison #3

THE SOUND (Theatrical Cut) ⭐⭐  (Extended Cut) ⭐⭐⭐

Lionheart sound ok. Dialogue is crisp and clear, but much of the background noise, including foley and effects work, has a tiny, hollow sound that has a bit of an echo to it. It is most notable during the fight scenes but it is there throughout the whole film. I have heard this in films before but it is usually kept at bay. Here the film suffers a bit from it. There is just the one track so there is no fix to this problem.

The extended cut contains two lossy tracks and the echo is not found on either track. Even though they are lossy tracks they are the preferable tracks. Too bad they are on a version of the film that has picture problems.


THE FILM ⭐⭐⭐

Upon receiving news that his brother in Los Angeles is seriously injured, Lyon Gaultier (Van Damme) Deserts the French Foreign Legion from a remote outpost in North Africa. Fleeing from two of the Legion’s security force who have orders to bring him back at any cost, Lyon reluctantly turns to the illegal, bare-kuckles underground fighting circuit to raise the money he needs to help his brother’s family.

Lionheart is the fourth film that Van Damme made as a leading man. Coming off of the success of Bloodsport, Kickboxer, and Cyborg Van Damme started to make a niche for himself in the martial arts film world. Fan so martial arts films knew who he was and what he was capable of doing. His films started to earn more and more money and he was becoming a bigger star with each new film released.

Lionheart takes the underground fight movie to new heights. While Bloodsport and Kickboxer are better films, it was Lionheart that became the introduction to Van Damme for a lot of people. And why not? Lionheart is a fun film with some pretty good fight scenes, although the fight scenes are not what one would call “classics”. That was one thing that Van Damme was not very good at. He knows his way around a camera and a film set, but making fight scenes exciting is something that he needs to work on. When he works with actual choreographers, his fight scenes had more of a punch. Here, the fight scenes are not about being exciting, but as an advertisement for Van Damme himself. The fight scenes are still good, don’t get me wrong. They just never become anything more than that.


OVERALL: ⭐⭐⭐

Lionheart is a good film that opened the door for Van Damme to become a bigger star. He has the charisma and the looks of a leading man while being able to kick some ass. Van Damme would have more success with films down the line, but Lionheart is what really got, not only Van Damme, but the 90’s off to a very good start.

The blu-ray, from MVD Visual, is pretty nice. The picture and sound quality can be problematic but is still watchable. Those who do not like copious amounts of DNR need to stay away from the Extended Cut. This is not the fault of MVD as they are only using what was given to them. The real enemy here is Digidreams Studios who have ruined many films by stripping the high definition picture of the one thing that makes it high definition: detail.

The rest of the disc is fantastic with some really great special features including a very entertaining and informative making of and a wonderful commentary track. Despite my misgivings when it comes to the picture quality of the Extended Cut, I still recommend this release to action fans, martial arts fans, those who grew up with films like this, and Van Damme fans.

MORE SCREENSHOTS: