Double Dragon (MVD Rewind Collection), Two Evil Eyes (Blue Underground), and Rock 'n' Roll High School (Shout! Factory)



DOUBLE DRAGON (1994)

Studio: MVD Visual (as part of their Rewind Collection)
Release Date: November 4th, 1994 (theatrical)
                               January 22nd, 2019 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 96 mins
Region Code: FREE
Picture: 1080p (1.78:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English Dolby Digital 5.1
                  English LPCM 2.0
                  German Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, and French
Slipcover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Robert Patrick, Mark Dacascos, Scott Wolf, Kristina Wagner, Julia Nickson, and Alyssa Milano
Written by Michael Davis and Peter Gould
Directed by James Yukich
Rating: PG-13 (martial arts violence)

1993 saw the release of the first film based on a video game with Super Mario Brothers. While that film saw failure, it did not deter filmmakers from trying to do right by video games. Enter Double Dragon. Based on the 1987 arcade beat ‘em up, Double Dragon tells the story of the Lee brothers who must battle Robert Patrick for the “double dragon” a necklace that comes in two parts that, when joined, gives the wearer or wearers powers that are never properly explained. The film, despite having almost nothing to do with the video game it is based on, is actually kind of fun. The actors are clearly having fun and the film never feels like it is ever being taken seriously. This is one of the most 90s films you will ever see and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Lots of martial arts action as well as some cheesy one-liners. While you can do way better than Double Dragon, this film is not to be overlooked if you like cheesy 90s action films.

The blu-ray, from MVD Visual as part of their “Rewind Collection”, is pretty nice. The picture and the sound are good for the budget that the film had to be made on. The special features package will make even the most die-hard fan happy. There is an hour-long making of that gives a really great glimpse at the semi-troubled production. We also get the pilot episode to the Double Dragon cartoon that would be the basis for the Double Dragon 5 video game. There is also an interview with the film’s producer, a lot of behind the scenes footage, a few still galleries, and trailers for Double Dragon as well as some of the other action films that MVD Visual has released. Overall, this is a worthwhile purchase and something that needs to be looked at again.

Special Features:

          The Making of Double Dragon (1h 7m, HD)
          Don Murphy: Portrait of a Producer (24m 1s, HD)
          “The Shadow Falls” Animated Pilot (4m 21s, SD, stretched 16x9)
           Behind the Scenes Featurette (4m 21s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Making-of Featurette (4m 44s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Stills Gallery (4m 56s, HD)
          Behind the Scenes Gallery (1m 55s, HD)
          Artwork Gallery (3m 15s, HD)
          Storyboards Gallery (5m 51s, HD)
          Press Photo Gallery (1m 28s, HD)

Under the Trailers Tab:

          Double Dragon Trailer #1 (1m 51s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Double Dragon Trailer #2 (2m 1s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Double Dragon VHS Trailer (31s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Double Dragon TV Spot 1 (30s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Double Dragon TV Spot 2 (1m, SD, 1.33:1)
          Angel Town (2m 6s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Black Eagle (2m 13s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Man from Earth (1m 29s, HD)
          Out of Time (2m 6s, SD, 2.40:1)
          Raven (2m 6s, HD)
          Return of Swamp Thing (1m 27s, HD)

TWO EVIL EYES (1990)


Studio: Blue Underground
Release Date: October 25th, 1991 (theatrical)
                               October 29th, 2019 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 120 mins
Region Code: A (locked)
Picture: 1080p (1.78:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
                English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
                French Dolby Digital MonoSubtitles:
Slipcover: Yes (lenticular)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, Bingo O'Malley, Jeff Howell, E.G. Marshall, and Harvey Keitel
Written by George A. Romero (The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar)
                         Franco Ferrini and Dario Argento (The Black Cat)
Directed by George A. Romero (The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar)
                         Dario Argento (The Black Cat)
Rating: R (graphic horror violence and gore, and language)

Bringing together two of horror’s biggest director, George A. Romero and Dario Argento, seems like a slam dunk. How could it go wrong? Well, it does, big time. The first story, the one directed by Romero, tells the story about a trophy wife who, together with her sick husband’s doctor, hatches a scheme to keep the husband under hypnosis in order to get all of his money. When the husband dies while under hypnosis, strange things begin to happen. That is all you are going to get out of my about the plot, but suffice it to say, this one is a stinker. Everything that happens here happens because everyone is stupid. They danced with the devil once too many and they get what they deserve. The problem is it all happens very slowly. Like snail’s pace slow. By the time the ending comes around, you rejoice not because the story has concluded, but because it is all over with and you never have to see the film again.

The second story, by Argento, starts off well enough with a gruesome murder scene and our “hero” who takes photographs of crime scenes. He takes a special glee in these photos but his gleefulness is taken to a new level by the introduction of his girlfriend's black cat. This cat terrorizes the photographer who then commits murders of his own out of what he sees as a necessity. This story is told in a kind of disjointed way. There is a nightmare sequence about fifteen minutes into the film that could have ended everything, but that would make the story too short, so Argento introduces insanity into the mix. The photographer starts killing people more because the script says he has to rather than it helps move the story along or makes sense to the story. Needless to say but I really did not like Two Evil Eyes. I would have rather watched something else. I was bored with both stories and the moments that perked me up a bit do not make up for other minutes that the films had left to go.

This blu-ray, from Blue Underground, is just fantastic. They gave the film a brand new 4K remaster and it looks really great. There is also the original sound and then a 7.1 track that sounds ok if you are listening on a surround sound system, but if you watch the film on a tv using that tv’s speakers, the sound doesn’t sound very good. There are also a ton of special features that fans will really love. There is also a CD featuring the score from Pino Donaggio. If you love this then pick this up. It is worth the time.

Special Features

          Disc 1: The Movie

                    Audio Commentary by Troy Howarth
                    Theatrical Trailer (1m 28s, HD)
                    Poster and Still Gallery (112 images)
         
       Disc 2: Special Features

                    Two Masters’ Eyes (29m 31s, SD) Interviews with directors George A. Romero
                    and Dario Argento, Special Make-up Effects Supervisor Tom Savini, Executive 
                    Producer Claudio Argento, and actress Asia Argento
                    Savini’s EFX (12m 8s, SD) A behind the scenes look at the film’s special 
                    make-up effects
                    At Home with Tom Savini (15m 42s, SD) A personal tour of Savini’s home.
                    Adrienne Barbeau on George Romero (4m 35s, SD)
                    Before I Wake (14m 3s, HD) Interview with star Ramy Zada
                    Behind the Wall (16m 9s, HD) Interview with star Madeleine Potter
                    One Maestro and Two Masters (15m 12s, HD) Interview with composer Pino 
                    Donaggio. Italian with English subtitles.
                    Rewriting Poe (13m 17s, HD) Interview with co-writer Franco Ferrini. 
                    Italian with English subtitles.
                    The Cat Who Wouldn’t Die (26m 3s, HD) Interview with assistant director 
                    Luigi Cozzi. Italian with English subtitles.
                    Two Evil Brothers (13m 52s, HD) Interview with special make-up assistant 
                    Everett Burell.
                    Working with George (interview with costume designer Barbara Anderson.
        
       Disc 3: The Score (CD) by Pino Donaggio

                    18-page booklet with an essay by Michael Gingold, CD tracklisting, 
                    and chapter selections.


ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL (1979)

Studio: Shout! Factory 
Release Date: April 20th, 1979 (theatrical)
                                 November 19th, 2019 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 93 mins
Region Code: A (locked)
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: No
Digital Copy: No
Starring: P.J. Soles, Vincent Van Patten, Clint Howard, Dey Young, Mary Woronov, and Paul Bartel
Written by Richard Whitley, Russ Dvonch, and Joseph McBride
Directed by Allan Arkush
Rating: PG (crude humor and brief drug use)

Roger Corman has always made films that he thinks that people will want to see. I know that sounds like a “duh” thing to say, what I mean is that he doesn’t care about awards. He just wants people to like the films he makes and to talk about them. Rock ‘n’ Roll High School is a film that you won’t soon forget. This is one of the most happy-go-lucky films I have ever seen. P.J. Soles is so damn charming as the lead that I wanted to find more films that she has done ASAP. The music here, even if its not my kind of music, is actually really good and is implemented into the story in clever ways. Needless to say, but I was completely won over by this film and I urge everyone to give the film a shot. It is so much worth it.

The blu-ray, from Shout! Factory, is a real winner. The picture is culled from a brand new 4K restoration and looks amazing. The sound is no slouch either. The special features contain a new documentary by Ballyhoo Motion Pictures that contains some great stories about the making of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and is a must for any fan. The rest of the features are from the 2010 blu-ray so if you have that then you have the features. Shout! has also packaged the blu-ray in a really nice SteelBook case that features the film’s original theatrical poster.

Special Features:

          Class of ‘79: 40 Years of Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1h 10m, HD)
          Allan Arkish’s 2019 Sunday Slasher Rock ‘n’ Roll High School Intro (5m 30s, HD)
          Back to School: A Retrospective (23m 46s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Stay After Class (16m 2s, SD) Interview with PJ Soles, Vincent Van Patten, and Dey Young
          Interview with Roger Corman Conducted by Leonard Maltin (4m 36s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Interview with Allan Arkish (11m 35s, SD)
          Audio Outtakes from The Roxy (15m 24s, SD)
          Original Radio Ads (1m 5s, SD)
          Theatrical Trailer (2m 11s, HD)
          TV Spot (34s, SD, 1.33:1)
          Audio Commentary with Allan Arkish, Mike Finnell, and Richard Whitley
          Audio Commentary with Allan Arkish, PJ Soles, and Clint Howard
          Audio Commentary with Richard Whitley and Russ Dvonch
          Audio Commentary with Roger Corman and Dey Young


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