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The Secret of the Sword

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"I've got that flying horsey in my sight" He-Man & the Masters of the Universe was a massive hit toy line and a massive hit animated TV series. He-Man ruled the airwaves in the 80s and it would only make sense to not only make a feature length theatrical film but also a new spin-off series with a new character! The film follows Price Adam/He-Man as he embarks on the search for his twin sister. Turns out that a new villain by the name of Hordak had kidnapped He-Man's twin sister shortly after birth and taken here to another dimension on a planet called Etherea. No one knows what happened to the little girl, Adora. But, with this information and with a magical sword, He-Man is on his way to find Princess Adora.  What much can be said of "The Secret of the Sword", it's not necessarily a film for cinemas as there is nothing special enough about the movie for it to warrant a theatrical release, other than the length of the film. The animation remains the

Martial Law 1 and 2 (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review


Vinegar Syndrome packages two video store classics together in one kick ass double feature with Martial Law 1 and 2.

Studio: Vinegar Syndrome
Release Date: May 16th, 1991 (video premiere) (Martial Law)
                            August 20th, 1992 (video premiere) (Martial Law II)
                            November 27th, 2020 (blu-ray) (both films)
Run Time: 89 mins (Martial Law)
                    91 mins (Martial Law II)
Region Code: A (locked)
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (both films)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (both films)
                English Dolby Digital 2.0 (both films)
Subtitles: English SDH
Slipcover: Yes (chipboard, thick)
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Chad McQueen, Cynthia Rothrock, David Carradine, Andy McCutcheon, Philip Tan, and Tony                      Longo (Martial Law)
                 Jeff Wincott, Cynthia Rothrock, Paul Johansson, Evan Lurie, Charles Taylor, Sherrie Rose,                             and Billy Drago (Martial Law II)
Written by Richard Brandes (Martial Law)
                    Richard Brandes and Jiles Fitzgerald (Martial Law II)
Directed by Steve Cohen (Martial Law)
                        Kurt Anderson (Martial Law II)
Rating: R (martial arts violence, language, and brief nudity) (Martial Law)
                R (martial arts violence and some language) (Martial Law II)
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Posters

       
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Quote

Spencer Hamilton: You're on thin ice, lady.

Tiffany: Well, it's a good thing I know how to skate.
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What Are They About?

In MARTIAL LAW, Sean Thompson (Chad McQueen) is a tough as nails, martial arts master, LA street cop with the appropriate nickname of "Martial Law". After a body is discovered bearing telltale signs of "Dim-Mak" or "death touch," Sean and his female partner Billie Blake (Cynthia Rothrock) take on the case, which soon leads them to ruthless crime lord Dalton Rhodes (David Carradine) whose kung fu fighting band of thugs is preparing to unleash bloody mayhem on the city. All the while, and unbeknownst to Sean, his younger brother Michael has become one of Dalton's henchmen...

The saga continues in MARTIAL LAW II: UNDERCOVER when the body of a cop is found dead in a park, Sean Thompson and his kickboxing, crime-fighting partner Billie Blake are hot on the trail of suspects, which leads them to a high-end nightclub where the rich and powerful men are entertained by beautiful women and high-stakes martial arts fighting. Billie decides to go undercover in order to expose the shocking truth about the club and its patrons before more bodies turn up.
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The MARTIAL LAW films were mainstays at just about every video store during The Video Store Days. In fact, when I worked at the big two video stores during the 2000's, both films could be found at every location I worked at. These films were pretty big and I have to say that at least the first film is good. The second one, not so much. The first film has a better lead in Chad McQueen and the fight scenes are better. Hell, the villain is much better in the first film with David Carradine giving us a formable villain. The villain in the second film is bland and forgettable. Of course, both films feature Cynthia Rothrock and that is the real reason why we are here. During the 90's, Rothrock was a force to be reckoned with. She has great screen presence and her screen fighting skills are so much better than most of the other straight-to-video stars of the day. MARTIAL LAW II is not nearly as good as the first film with Jeff Wincott not holding the screen as well as Chad McQueen did. Wincott is not very interesting in the role. Both films are worth watching, though, even if it's just for nostalgia reasons.
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Both films are presented in their original aspect ratios of 1.85:1 and both also sport brand new 4K restorations. Both films have a nice layer of grain with some nice detail work going on. Blacks are a bit crushed, but that is probably how the film is supposed to look. Colors are accurate as are skin tones. The second film is softer than the first.

Both films feature lossless and lossy tracks. The lossless track shines the most with dialogue sounding great. The lossy track isn't a slouch either, but lossless is going to win nine out of ten times.
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MARTIAL LAW begins with a nice retrospective featuring director Steve Cohen, actress Cynthia Rothrock, and fight choreographer Jeff Pruitt. The actors, fight scenes, and some behind the scene stories are all discussed. A trailer and a video trailer that brings back so many memories are also included.

MARTIAL LAW II: UNDERCOVER starts out with a nice retrospective that runs 19 minutes. The same participants from the retrospective found on disc one are here. Six months after the first film was finished work began on the second one with the producer of the first film taking on directing duties while the first film's director took over producing the film. Jeff Wincott had a TV series in Canada and was chosen over bringing back Chad McQueen. No real reason was given, but Wincott was probably a bigger star due to his show. Rothrock talks about teaching choreography and how people don't adjust to it easily. We also get a trailer and a video trailer for the film. As with the first film, the video trailer felt like a time machine going back to a simpler time. 

Disc 1: Martial Law

    "Declaring Martial Law: The Birth of a Female Action Star" (28m 39s, HD, 1.78:1) with director Steve     Cohen, actress Cynthia Rothrock, and stunt coordinator Jeff Pruitt
    Outtakes (no sound) (5m 12s, HD, 1.85:1)
    Original Trailer (2m 3s, HD, 1.85:1)
    Original Video Trailer (3m 23s, SD, 1.33:1)

Disc 2: Martial Law II: Undercover

    "Under the Law: How a Hit Became a Franchise (19m 6s, HD, 1.78:1) with producer Steve         Cohen,  actress Cynthia Rothrock, and fight choreographer Jeff Pruitt
    Original Trailer (1m 49s, HD, 1.85:1)
    Original Video Trailer (1m 31s, SD, 1.33:1)

This release is limited to 4,000 copies (with no reprints) and comes with a hand-numbered, bottom loading chipboard slipcover and double-sided, folded poster that features both pieces of commissioned artwork.
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Both MARTIAL LAW films are worth watching with the first film being the clear winner. These films never came to DVD here in the States so this blu-ray set from Vinegar Syndrome a must-own. The brand new 4K restorations are beautiful and the sound is no slouch. The special features are pretty good, but a commentary on each film with Rothrock and/or martial arts film experts like Mike Leeder would have the icing on the cake. This is a wonderful set that needs to be in every martial arts fan's collection.
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