Mean Guns (MVD Visual) Blu-ray Review + 1080p Screenshots

MVD finally brings Albert Pyun's Mean Guns to blu-ray with a beautiful transfer and a wealth of awesome special features.

Studio: MVD
Release Date: November 21st, 1997 (video premiere)
Run Time: 1 hour 50 minutes 15 seconds
Region Code: FREE
Disc Count: 1 (BD-50)
Picture: 1080p (2.35:1 aspect ratio)
Sound: English LPCM 2.0
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, and French
Slipcover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Starring: Ice-T, Christopher Lambert, Michael Halsey, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Kimberly Warren, Hunter Doughty
Written by Andrew Witham
Directed by Albert Pyun
Rating: R (non-stop violence, and for language)




What's It About?

A gangster boss (Ice-T) has a list of about 100 people who have screwed up at one point or another. Rather than outright killing them, he decides to have a little fun by putting all of them together in a high security prison, unarmed, and dumping bucketfulls of guns, ammo, and baseball bats on them and letting them kill each other. The final three who survive are given a prize of 10 million dollars. Let chaos reign.


Presented in the film's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, something that has only happened one other time and that was the German blu-ray release where the transfer for this release is taken from, MEAN GUNS looks good. I had seen MEAN GUNS before this viewing as I wanted to see the film the way director Albert Pyun wanted us to see it. The film has always been released in a VERY cropped 1.33:1 video release but there was a 1.78:1 not so VERY cropped version that was released in the UK. I knew that Pyun shot the film in 2.35:1 and I knew he would use the entire frame. Pyun knows how to make his films look way more expensive than what was actually paid and I knew watching MEAN GUNS in anything other than the OAR was going to be a bad time. The film is very styled with color, hard white light bathing many scenes. At first, I thought the transfer was lousy, but now I think it's exactly how Pyun wanted it to look. The picture does look a bit flat during these scenes of hard light but in other scenes, the picture does come to life. Skin tones and many other colors aren't going to pop here as they in other films from Pyun but they do look good. Blacks are very deep and inky. There are a few times where something will flash across the screen that looks like crumpled up paper.  If you are a bit weary about how this transfer looks, take a look at this thread on to see what the film used to look like at home.


Interview with Gary Schmoeller (28m 59s, HD, 1.78:1) Producer Schmoeller sits down for a low rez Skype call. He talks about working with Brian Yuzna, getting a deal with Trimark and having to shoot three films, across multiple countries, in 56 days, starting Filmwerks with Albert Pyun, shooting Mean Guns inside of a real (hadn't opened yet and had been sitting vacant for 2 years) prison, paying Charlie Sheen $3 million (half the film's budget) for the film Postmortem, Pyun working with stuntpeople after he pushed a stuntman to work a stunt faster which resulted in the stuntman's death, working with Ice-T who couldn't remember his lines, leaving the company after making their Urban Trilogy, he worked with Pyun a few more times. Albert Pyun shows up in a archival interview where he talks about how he was never allowed to finish any of his films.
Interview with Paul Rosenblum (23m 41s, HD, 1.78:1) This is another Skype interview with much better video. He starts talking about working with Roger Corman but then jumps over to his first time meeting Albert Pyun, before jumping back to work with Corman. He made two films with Pyun before working with Martha Coolidge. He was also instrumental in getting Filmwerks off the ground as one of the founders. Pyun started Filmwerks because he wanted to have as much independence as he could get. He talks about how Pyun was always ahead of the game when it came to producing and problem-solving. The film cost $3 million of which two-thirds went to the talent including big paydays for Christopher Lambert and Ice-T.
Interview with Anthony Riparetti (18m 31s, HD, 1.78:1) He talks about starting his work with Albert Pyun in 1985, writing the songs used in Vicious Lips, working on smaller films with a lot of bosses, collaborating with Pyun, adding the mambo music to Mean Guns (Pyun's idea). He tells some great Pyun stories. I wanted this interview to be longer. 
Introduction by Albert Pyun (39s, HD, 1.78:1) This is from the German blu-ray.

Audio Commentary by Albert Pyun (found in the Set Up menu) Albert Pyun really knows how to keep your attention even when he is talking about film stocks and whatnot. He breaks down his process and how he can make these films so fast, tells some great stories, and is overall one of my favorite recent commentary tracks.


  • Mean Guns (1m 28s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • Blast (2m 14s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • Crazy Six (2m 6s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • Nemesis (2m 25s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • Nemesis 2 (1m 49s, SD, 1.33:1)
  • Nemesis 3 (1m 49s, SD, 1.33:1)

MEAN GUNS is brought to blu-ray here in the States with some nice packaging. The slipcover features the film's original poster art with the usual video store stickers (I wish these were real stickers). I very much like the "tamper with" sticker. These things were on every tape you got from the video store. The video stores would put these on their tapes as a deterrent to those who would open the tapes and switch the movie with a blank tape. They were foil stickers that were stuck to one side of the tape. The thing that video store didn't think about when putting these things on their tapes, is that you could open the tape from the other end and steal the tape. It's one thing that has always been in the back of mind since I realized that 30 plus years ago. 

Anyway, I love that MVD is really the only company that is making an effort to make these releases look like how they looked like in the video store. The only other company that makes their stuff look like this would be Mill Creek and they seem to have lightened up on it a lot but MVD goes the extra mile by including versions of all the different stickers video stores would adorn their copies with. I love this and I wish more companies would do something like this. Many of them talk about the video store like they hold it in a high regard but then style their artworks in modern day styles. 

So the slipcover and the main cover art on the blu-ray feature the same original poster art. This cover is reversible with artwork I have never seen before. It's a decent look poster but I like the artwork we got.

Inside the clear blu-ray case, you will a mini poster that features the main artwork. I love this inclusion as well. MVD has been doing this since their first "Rewind Collection" releases and it is always a nice thing to open the case up to. One thing I wish they would do is make the posters double sided as well. There might be some fans out there who like the other poster art more but they can't put it up as a poster, despite the fact that this same art is featured elsewhere on this release. I understand it would cost more money to do a double sided poster but it would be neat if they could do them in the future. 

The disc is REGION FREE


MEAN GUNS is a lot of fun. Albert Pyun was always a brilliant director who knew how to shoot on very small budgets and MEAN GUNS is a prime example. The film was made for $1 million dollars but it looks so much more expensive. I love the music choices and the action scenes. He really knows how to shoot these things. The film is great and is among the best straight-to-video films of the 90s.

I want to thank MVD for finally bringing MEAN GUNS to blu-ray here in the States. They have given the film the respect it deserves. We get the film in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The 27 year wait was rough but totally worth it. The film wouldn't have made any sense on a 1.33:1 VHS or DVD. I love that we get an Albert Pyun commentary that is just so damn good. The new interviews give us some great Pyun stories and I love the trailer reel. I am glad it was MVD was the company to release this because every other company would have charged an arm and a leg for the same disc. I paid $21 for this and it was worth every penny. Give this disc a spin.





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