Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God...Be Back by Five (MVD Rewind Collection) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots

Studio: MVD Visual

Release Date: April 18th, 1998 (theatrical) / May 8th, 2018 (blu-ray)

Picture: 1080p (1.78:1 Aspect Ratio)

Sound: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Starring: Jon Cryer, Ione Skye, Rick Stear

Written by Jon Cryer and Richard Schenkman

Directed by Richard Schenkman

Rated R (Language)

Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God...Be Back By Five title card


Introduction from director Richard Schenkman and writer/producer/actor Jon Cryer

Went to Coney Island...To Make a Movie (18m 36s, SD, 1.33:1)

The Producer (3m, SD, 1.85:1, 4x3)

Commentary by Richard Schenkman and Jon Cryer

Photo Gallery


Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God...Be Back By Five (1m 39s, SD, 1.85:1, 4x3)

The Man from Earth (Special Edition) (1m 29s, HD)

The Man from Earth: Holocene (1m 30s, HD)

The special features found here are nothing all that special. The making of was shot during filming and doesn’t really offer too much outside the “My character does this” and “I am so happy to be in this film” variety of sound bites. The Producer, which is a short film from director Richard Schenkman, plays out like Ari Gold (from Entourage) lite. The commentary fares better because the participants are friends so they play off of each other. Everything else is ok at best. I really wasn’t won over by these features.


The disc is REGION FREE


MVD has given Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God… a brand new restoration (doesn’t specify if it was done in at least 2K or not) done frame-by-frame. The result looks pretty good. Detail is nicely handled especially in close-ups. Colors look great when shown in flashbacks where the colors really pop, but during the film proper, colors are drab and muted. Skin tones are nicely handled as well. All in all, this is a pretty good looking transfer.

The sound, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio, is nicely handled too. The film isn’t heavy on the surrounds, but when they are used, they sound nice. Dialogue is crisp and clear and the music in the film comes through nicely as well.


Two young men (Jon Cryer, Rick Stear) who have been friends since early childhood decide to go on a trip to find a third friend (Rafael Baez) who has long since disappeared. Stories they have heard indicate that the friend has been seen in an apparently rambling, incoherent state at Coney Island. Their trip leads them to a number of adventures involving the otherworld-like life at the Park and revelations related to their own pasts including the death of one's sister, a failed past relationship, financial failings, and alcoholism. 

This film, which has a long name that I do not want to continue to type out so I will call the film, for the rest of this review, Coney Island, starts out well enough. We meet the characters a young kids when they first meet. I liked this scene and the scenes that followed. We see the first time one of the kids meet cutes a girl, we see the boys talking about sex with one of them being an “expert” on the subject.

All of the scenes with the younger versions of the cast are great. The kids are really good actors and we really want good things to happen to them. Then we flash forward to the present and the film's heart and soul leaves the building only to come back when the filmmakers need a flashback.

The adult versions of the kids are almost insufferable. This is not to say anything bad about the actors. Jon Cryer and company all do a good job with their characters, but the stuff that these characters do and say are just downright stupid. I don't think that there are many sensible people are there that would go into a freak show that is clearly running a skeleton crew due to the fact that it is wintertime, something that many characters point out.

The film is also a showcase for the actors involved. Almost every actor gets an “actor moment” in the film where the actors can show what they can do. When this happened around the third or fourth time, I wanted to check out but I didn't because I wanted to see where the film was going. The acting is quite good from everyone involved, but many of the characters are pointless.

The script for the film seems like it was written for a stage show rather than a film because all of the character interactions are done in a very simple shot-reverse-shot manner. The film’s director, Robert Schenkman, who brought us such classics as Playboy: Playmates in Paradise and Angel 4: Undercover, brings nothing to the film. His direction is so lazy that any director could have made this film and it would have been the same or better than what Shenkman has done here. I understand that the film was an independent film made for very little money, but that is never an excuse. I have seen films made for $10,000 that look and play way better than Coney Island.


I really wanted to like Coney Island. The film has such a strong opening that I thought that the film was going to play out just like that. What the film ended up being was yet another independent film, made during the big independent craze of the 90’s, that tries to be more than it really is. The film wants to a deep meditation on life, but it ends up being a film about shitty characters doing shitty things.

The blu-ray, from MVD, is pretty good. The picture and sound quality are great and the special features package gives us a glimpse into what it was like to make an independent film in the 90’s. I would recommend this film to anyone who likes independent film or those who are looking to jump in. Everyone else can stay away.


Post a Comment