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2 JCVD classics "split" in decent packaging
on June 21, 2009
Ah, Jean Claude Van Damme movies ... watching these brings back memories of being in middles school and sleeping over my best friend's house. We'd go to the video store, pick up a JCVD videotape, and pop it in the VCR in-between eating pizza, racing barefoot across his living room's hardwood floor, and making terrible prank phone calls. Middle school me was kind of an idiot.
Years later and I'm buying the "Van Damme Collection," which features "Bloodsport," which I haven't seen since I was a kid, and "Timecop," which I'd already purchased on DVD a little while back. Watching "Bloodsport" again, all I could think was, "Jeez, what an insanely dumb movie." But a well-made, entertaining dumb movie: it has simple characters, a rushed love story without the love (it's more confusing when you see it), slow-mo shots, and a bit of comic relief, but it also has some fantastic fight choreography and a charismatic villain. Later Van Damme movies would even steal bits from this flick, including the injured friend JCVD has to avenge (changed to his brother in "Kickboxer") and the military organization he's fled and that is now looking to recapture him ("Lionheart"). The movie looks great here - it's in Widescreen and contains some sparse special features, such as the trailer.
"Timecop" is a quasi-intellectual sci-fi film trapped in a corny action movie ... or is it the other way around? Either way, this flick features some savvy use of time travel to start the film with an entertainingly convoluted storyline that becomes clearer as it unfolds, as well as plenty of cool action sequences, decent use of CGI, and an enemy who fights with his intellect rather than his physical prowess. Unlike the standalone DVD we've had all this time, "Timecop" is presented here in Widescreen! The good news here is that the film looks excellent in Widescreen, with above-average direction and blocking used in several scenes that make full use of this aspect ratio. Also, it doesn't look like any of the picture was cut off here, so instead of it being matted, it appears that this transfer was taken directly from the source print. The bad news, and this could very well just be my imagination, is that the picture looks darker and less crisp than the one from the Standard DVD release. I'd like to know if anyone else can verify this, but it seemed less clear throughout than the way I was accustomed to seeing it, which is a shame. Also, the DVD menu is different than on the Standard DVD release and contains no special features at all ... not even a trailer.
As for the packaging, this sucker comes in a standard DVD case with the cover art pictured on Amazon. There's no chapter insert, but it surprised the split out of me by having a slipcase with different cover art! In lieu of the random pic of Van Damme seen on the DVD cover, the slipcase cover features the cover art from both "Bloodsport" and "Timecop" across the front. Finally, the disc itself is a flipper (which I've never been fond of), with one movie on each side.
These movies have come a long way since I popped them into a VCR at my friend's house once upon a time, and the presentation isn't perfect - flipper discs blow, and while it's great to have "Timecop" in Widescreen, the lessened picture quality makes it a costly trade-off. However, having "Timecop" in Widescreen and getting these together complete with a nifty slipcase makes this worth having. All right, I gotta split. Thanks for reading.