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Ozone: Signature Edition (Tempe Digital) Blu-ray + DVD Review


Tempe Digital is trying to make 2020 better for genre fans with the release of Ozone, a film that takes the anti-drug movie formula and turn it on its head. This 2 disc release is chock full of special features for fans to spend days taking in.


Studio: Tempe Digital
Release Date: 1993 (video premiere) / July 7th, 2020 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 81 mins
Region Code: FREE
Picture: 1080i (1.33:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English and Spanish
Slipcover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Starring: James Black, Tom Hoover, Bill Morrison
Written by David A. Wagner
Directed by J.R. Bookwalter
Rating: Not Rated (strong bloody violence and gore and some language)

NOTE: The included BD-R and DVD-R used for this release would not read in my computer's blu-ray and dvd drives. This means that I could not capture screenshots for this review. I did, however, capture screenshots from the 2004 dvd release of OZONE for this review as a representation of what the movie is. Therefore, the captured screenshots are not representative of the 2020 blu-ray release.

THE FILM




While ambushing a drug-dealer, Detective Eddie Boone (James Black) is injected in a fight against the dealer with a new drug called Ozone, which transforms the users in powerful zombies. His partner and friend Mike Weitz (Tom Hoover) is kidnapped by a group of Ozone addicted. Eddie tries to find Mike in the streets, fighting against the zombies and having several hallucinations due to the effect drug in his blood.

After the incredibly enjoyable ROBOT NINJA, J.R. Bookwalter signed a deal to make a very low budget, shot-on-video movies that would go directly to video. While he directed KISS OF THE VAMPIRE, he left the directing of the other movies in the deal to other directors. Movies like CHICKBOXER, GALAXY OF THE DINOSAURS, and HUMANOIDS FROM ATLANTIS were made during this time with Bookwalter not being all that happy with any of them. He wanted to make a movie that was more like his previous films, THE DEAD NEXT DOOR and ROBOT NINJA, but he would have to shoot on video.

The movie that came from this was OZONE, a neat little flick that does a lot of really good things, but one major thing: It makes you forget you are watching something that was shot-on-video. Five minutes in and I completely forgot about that aspect of the movie. I was just really enjoying the movie regardless of what it was shot on.

Now, most SOV movies look, sound, and actually are crap, but they gave those who wanted to make a movie the chance to with very little in upfront costs. The thing is: for every BOARDINGHOUSE or TALES FROM THE QUADEAD ZONE you get a BLOOD LAKE or WOODCHIPPER MASSACRE.

J.R. Bookwalter uses the format to the best of the format’s abilities. There are times where the film is very colorful, something you really never see in SOV movies. Bookwalter's camera also doesn't act like a normal video camera in terms of shot composition and field of depth. In most SOV movies, the makers behind these films don’t care about shot composition or can't figure out who to the shots they want so they shoot the movie like a home video. Not with OZONE. This thing is shot like a movie shot on film with real talent behind the camera.

The acting in the film is also much better than you would expect with James Black leading the way. He does a great job with the material he is given and never looks down on anything about the movie. We like him from the start and are glad to go on this journey with, no matter how horrifying the journey is.

The world that Bookwalter and screenwriter David A. Wagner is pretty unique, giving us mutants, zombies, and whatever else they decide to throw at us. The main antagonist is a blobby thing that looked like Jabba the Hut if he had legs and had spent some time in the gym. Not a lot of time in the gym, but some time. When this character showed up, I was fascinated by what I was seeing. This is the guy that is controlling the Ozone that is getting people hooked? I don’t know if I completely bought it, but I have to give credit to Bookwalter and Wagner for trying to give us something different.

Another great thing about OZONE are the effects. There are great practical effects including the makeup for the mutant along with some transitions that I actually was impressed by. Being a child of the 80s and 90s, back when effects like these still held wonder, I was taken aback when a character transitioned from human to mutant. To think, that an effect from the early 90s could still wow me in 2020. That is impressive.

OZONE isn’t going to change your life like the drug in the movie, but it will make you rethink your stance on SOV movies. There is a love and affection for the craft here even if you really want to just mock the movie for being trash. I had a lot of fun with OZONE and I think that if people would give the movie a chance, you might actually like the movie. I know because I was an SOV hater until I saw VIDEO VIOLENCE. It was at that time that I knew that there were movies out there I was missing because I had a prejudice against something that I had never really sat down to explore. OZONE is a fantastic movie that needs to be seen by more people.

THE PICTURE AND THE SOUND




OZONE was shot on Video and has been optimized for this release. I can tell you that it looks better than the dvd released in 2004, from where the screenshots came from. That release saw a darkness and muddiness that is not present on this blu-ray. There are still artifacts and errors that are present in every release of the movie but they seem to be minimized here. The picture seems more alive in this transfer than it has in any other version.

The film comes equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio track that is actually really good. Dialogue comes through clear, for the most part, and the movie's score sounds great.

Here is a breakdown of the audio options for both discs:

Disc 1
-English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
-Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
-3 Audio Commentary Tracks

Disc 2
-English Dolby Digital 2.0 Original Mix
-English Dolby Digital 2.0 Production Audio Track
-Isolated Music Track Dolby Digital 2.0
                -2020 Audio Commentary by Doug Tilley and Moe Porne of The No-Budget
                Nightmares Podcast

THE PACKAGING



THE FEATURES


Disc 1: 2020 Restored Version (Blu-ray) (1h 20m 53s, SD, 1.33:1)

                -2020 Audio Commentary with J.R. Bookwalter and Tempe Historian Ross Snyder
                -2003 Audio Commentary with J.R. Bookwalter and actor James Black
                -2003 “Street Zombies” Audio Commentary with J.R. Bookwalter

                -Bloopers and Outtakes (29m 56s, SD, 1.33:1)
                -Production Art Gallery (4m 45s, HD)
                -Promotional Gallery (5m 32s, HD)
-1993 Channel 23 News Segment (2m 50s, SD, 1.33:1)
-1993 Newstalk 29 TV Apprerance (19m 23s, SD, 1.33:1)
-Paying for Your Past Sins: The Ozone Story (29m 32s, SD, 1.33:1)
-Into the Black: James Black and Ozone (8m 23s, SD, 1.33:1)
-2003 Location Tour with James L. Edwards (4m 53s, SD, 1.33:1)
-Behind the Scenes Footage (6m 25s, SD, 1.33:1)
-With or without audio commentary with J.R. Bookwalter
-Early Test Footage (13m 24s, SD, 1.33:1)
-Tempe Trailers
-Ozone (1m 26s, SD, 1.33:1)
-Robot Ninja (1m 25s, HD, 1.78:1)
-The Dead Next Door (1m 47s, HD, 1.78:!)
-Platoon of the Dead (1m 15s, HD, 1.78:1)
-Poison Sweethearts (1m 31s, HD, 1.78:1)

Disc 2: 1994 Original VHS Version (1h 21m 20s, SD, 1.33:1)

-Ozone: Droga Mortal (12m 24s, SD, 1.33:1)
-1992 B’s Nest Video Magazine Intro (5m 25s, SD, 1.33:1)
-Original 1993 Trailer (2m, SD, 1.33:1)
-1995 Japanese Trailer (1m 47s, SD, 1.33:1)
-2003 “Street Zombies” Trailer (1m 26s, SD, 1.33:1)
-Trailers
-Skinned Alive (1m 50s, SD,1.33:1)
-Kingdom of the Vampire (1m 2s, SD, 1.33:1)
-Zombie Cop (1m 4s, SD, 1.33:1)
-The Sandman (1m 18s, SD, 1.33:1)
-Polymorph (1m 29s, SD, 1.33:1)

THE WRAP UP




OZONE is a movie that needs to be seen by horror fans. Sure, it's a shot-on-video movie, but one needs to just look past that to see a movie that is well shot, well told, and is just plain fun. This blu-ray really presents the movie in the way possible and contains tons of special features. The only downside is that both discs are made-on-demand and not pressed discs. Outside of that, this is a wonderful release from Tempe Digital.

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