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Shoot First Die Later (Remastered) [Blu-ray]
Shoot First Die Later (Remastered) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Richard Conte
Price: $12.84
22 used & new from $9.98

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shoot First, Die Later BLU-RAY review, May 3, 2013
Throw away your barely watchable Greek VHS bootlegs! "Shoot First, Die Later" finally shows itself on Blu-Ray from Raro Video! My most anticipated home video title so far this year finally arrived in my mailbox last Monday (it shipped directly from Raro ahead of street date) and looks great. Also known by its original, and more fitting Italian title "Il poliziotto è marcio" (which roughly translates to "A Dirty Cop"), "Shoot First..." is yet another highly entertaining poliziesco from the master of the genre, Fernando Di Leo. It has all of his signature touches: A somewhat downbeat yet intense sense of pacing featuring realistic characters (at least compared to the comic book styling of most other Italian crime films), a great score from Luis Bacalov (It is reminiscent of his scores for the other Di Leo films but more subdued. There is even an Osanna ballad, "There Will Be Time", from the "Milano calibro 9" LP that plays during the love scene), and a truly dark ending which comes pretty unexpectedly.

This one is a real "lost" treasure because it was unavailable in a decent format until now and is the final film Di Leo did at what I consider the peak of his career after his famous mafia "trilogy" (Milano calibro 9, La mala ordina, Il boss). This film was followed by some lesser but still entertaining action films (Kidnap Syndicate, Blood and Diamonds, Rulers of the City) as well as a few middle-of-the-road action/comedies (Nick the Sting, Loaded Guns). Hopefully all of these will make it to the English speaking Blu-Ray world - "Rulers of the City" on Blu in the Di Leo box set vol. 1 looks terrible with lots of artifacts and artificial grain structure - it really needs an upgrade, and "Blood and Diamonds" is his best late 70s crime film that is hard to see in English.

This Blu-Ray looks great and doesn't appear tampered with that I could tell. There were no issues that I noticed and I give it my full recommendation. There are also 2 featurettes, the first is an entertaining interview with Di Leo who reveals a lot of his personality as well as some behind the scenes commentary on the film and the reaction from the police. The second featurette is with the assistant director, editor, as well as lead actor Luc Merenda who all reveal their take on working with Di Leo among other things. Also, there is an English and an Italian trailer.

The only slight negative I could bring up is the fact that the opening and closing titles are in English and the original Italian credits are not featured. I don't remember seeing the ending English text that shows up over the final freeze frame of the film when I saw this years ago, but I could be mistaken. Regardless, this is a must own for Italian crime film fans! Raro Video has done a great job and have announced even more rare Italian films that will be must-own/day one purchases for me. They've really stepped up their game after the disappointing Di Leo vol. 1 Blu-Ray set. I hope they keep em comin'!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 16, 2013 9:24 AM PDT

Red Heat [Blu-ray]
Red Heat [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Geza Balkay
Price: $9.25
38 used & new from $3.86

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars RED HEAT Blu-Ray blues, March 11, 2013
This review is from: Red Heat [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a review for the quality of the Blu-Ray and not for the film itself. This BD has virtually zero natural grain structure thanks to Studio Canal's DNR massacre. The entire film has an artificially smooth look that makes the motion appear very video-like and I almost thought that someone was messing with my TV's settings and turned the "auto-motion" feature on. It's that bad. Most casual viewers or non-videophiles might not really care or notice, but if this type of thing bothers you, then avoid this disc at all costs!

There is a UK BD available that has a different transfer and is a lot more gritty/grainy and natural looking. If you are region-free, then go for the UK disc here:
NEW Red Heat - Red Heat (1988) (uk Edition) (Blu-ray)

Joysticks (1983)
Joysticks (1983)
DVD ~ Joe Don Baker

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Scorpion Releasing DVD has a major video flaw., January 24, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Joysticks (1983) (DVD)
First off, this is a fun movie and highly recommended to fans of 80s teen comedies/low budget sex comedies. It's pretty cheesy in a good way and is a movie I re-visit once in a while when I'm in the mood for some nostalgic 80s fun. Sadly, the Scorpion Releasing DVD has a major video problem: For the entire running time of the DVD the image is stretched slightly horizontally. It's as if the master was 1.66:1 ratio but it was then stretched to 1.78:1. You can tell that this is definitely a problem during the edits where Pac-Man crosses the screen, and Pac-Man is oval shaped! This problem was also mentioned in a review I found on Mondo-Digital where they show a few screen grabs displaying this problem.

Aside from the above, there is a somewhat interesting interview with Greydon Clark where he talks about how Joysticks was created as well as some of the other movies he's made over the years. I haven't yet listened to the audio commentary, so I can't comment on that.
There is a Joysticks trailer included that looks like it was taken from Youtube, very pixelated, and I stopped watching it after 5 seconds. A waste of disc space. There are also a few other trailers for some other Scorpion Releasing DVDs.

I would have given this DVD 5 stars, but the major video flaw will definitely knock the rating down for me. I'm not sure if I'll even keep the DVD since the stretched image was so distracting to me. This is not the first Scorpion Releasing disc with a major video problem: POINT OF TERROR had a brutal "crawling dot" pattern that surrounded almost every edge on the screen and was nearly unwatchable, & QUEST FOR LOVE was probably from a PAL master and had severe motion blur. Most of their other releases look great, however, so it's a shame that once in a while they put out a flawed release.

Fist Of The North Star: The TV Series Box 4
Fist Of The North Star: The TV Series Box 4
DVD ~ Akira Kamiya
Price: $44.79
10 used & new from $35.42

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way better than expected!, July 13, 2012
I read the 2 star reviews dismissing the 2nd FOTNS series and held off buying this set but eventually caved in as I just had to finish the series after immensely enjoying the first 3 sets from Discotek. I'm so glad that I bought this set because it did not disappoint at all and I became just as addicted to watching these episodes as I was during the previous ones.

Pros: We learn of Kenshiro's origins as well as the origin of Hokuto Shinken. Lin's past is explained further. There are some great new characters introduced such as Shachi, Jukei, and Falco. The drama and sadness found in the rest of the series is still present here and I was found emotionally locked in for the entire run. The theme song and music is really good - the intro song 'Tough Boy' will be in your head for the rest of your life! Lastly, we get to see Ken wearing sunglasses/goggles as he crosses the ocean to Asura!

Cons: The series seems rushed, lots of characters don't get developed enough or die off too soon. Bat is basically unused for the last 4 discs of the set. The Celestial Emperor storyline later seems like filler after the bulk of the series takes place in Asura.

Despite the cons, I thoroughly enjoyed this set and look forward to watching the entire series all over again! Discotek did a great job again, and although bare bones with basic menus, the episodes themselves are what matter and they look great. The subtitling on the first few episodes of this set seem a little off and missing during a few moments, but after these early episodes I didn't really notice any more errors. Overall a must own for fans of the series and I recommend buying all 4 box sets ASAP!

Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection (Caliber 9 / The Italian Connection / The Boss / Rulers of the City) [Blu-ray]
Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection (Caliber 9 / The Italian Connection / The Boss / Rulers of the City) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Jack Palance
Offered by fictions
Price: $24.99
25 used & new from $20.49

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars [Blu-ray] Fernando Di Leo crime collection [Blu-ray], February 4, 2012
When I first heard these films would hit Blu-Ray, I was pretty excited since these Di Leo films are among his best and are some of my all time favorites. It was going to be great to see these films in definitive home video editions! Sadly, these new transfers don't look very good at all. They are swimming with digital noise and artifacts that may have been film grain at one point but is now a mass of swirling fuzz. The further away from the TV you get, the better the image appears to look.

The major letdown of the set, however, are the weird, split-second video glitches on the Blu-Ray disc of The Italian Connection (that can be seen in this photo I took here [...] ). Another similar glitch can be seen during the lumberyard fight, and then at least 5 more instances are seen during the final junkyard scene. I'm pretty sure this isn't an isolated incident, so if you've encountered these video glitches throughout the disc, please let Raro know that they need to correct this. They seem to not be willing to fix this problem at the moment and replied with this message to me:

"Thanks for pointing out the problem with the Italian Connection blu-ray. Unfortunately, at this point there's not much we can do to correct the disc. If you're dissatisfied with the collection you can return it and we'll issue you a refund. Alternatively we can send you the single DVD of the Italian Connection, so that you have a clean copy. Again, thank you for your feedback and ongoing interest in RaroVideo."

I'll most likely be returning my Blu-Ray set for a refund and sticking with the original Italian Raro DVDs that still look surprisingly great upconverted on my HDTV. It's a bummer. I want to support Raro because they are consistently releasing interesting and desirable Italian films that are English friendly. But, with their track record of quality already down the tubes, it's hard to recommend blind buying anything they release (Before this, they had issues with their DVD versions of The Boss and Dorian Grey). My fingers are crossed that they can overcome this and drastically improve their quality control.

Originally posted on [...]
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2013 3:29 AM PDT

Quest For Love
Quest For Love
DVD ~ Joan Collins
Price: $19.95
2 used & new from $19.95

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quest for Love (Scorpion Releasing DVD problems), October 15, 2011
This review is from: Quest For Love (DVD)
I'm a fan of Scorpion Releasing and most everything they release. Their DVDs are usually great looking and filled with informative/entertaining extras, so I was eager to check out Quest for Love! I'm a long time collector and own over 2000 DVDs/BDs - I watch all of my DVDs on a 46" LCD/HDTV and have an Oppo blu-ray upconverting blu-ray player. Most everything looks excellent on my setup. This DVD, however, looks awful. There are some serious motion problems that may be due to some PAL to NTSC conversion issues? Every bit of motion contained choppy and jerky, slightly blurry movements. I attempted adjusting all of the settings on the TV and Blu-Ray player, and even tried playing it on an older DVD player. Nothing worked, and the motion problems persisted.

Perhaps the other reviewers are watching this on an old style TV that hides these motion problems? I have yet to read any review that mentions this issue, so I thought maybe I had a bad disc. I contacted Scorpion Releasing and never received a response so I just sold the used disc on here. It's a shame because I've never had an issue with any other Scorpion DVD (well, except for Point of Terror, but that's another review!) and I really wanted to watch this film!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 2, 2012 2:37 PM PST

Reid Fleming: Worlds Toughest Milkman, Vol. 1
Reid Fleming: Worlds Toughest Milkman, Vol. 1
by David Boswell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $23.38
38 used & new from $12.00

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IDW Providing Reid Fleming HC Vol. 1 Replacement Copies, October 2, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
On the original printing of this hardcover there is a major printing error inside this book: page 160 contains the wrong page. It should be page 22 of issue 4, but it is actually page 22 of issue 5. The actual content of issue 4 page 22 is nowhere to be found.

IDW have addressed this problem and will replace your copy with a corrected one. Instructions are available here:


"It has recently come to the attention of IDW that the first printing of Reid Fleming: World's Toughest Milkman HC Volume 1 contained a duplicate page, which took the place of another story page.

To address this issue, IDW has reprinted this hardcover and is now offering replacement copies to readers. Any customer who wishes to receive a replacement copy can simply tear out the duplicate page and send it and a letter requesting a replacement copy for this book to:
IDW Publishing
Attn: Reid Fleming Replacement Program
5058 Santa Fe St.
San Diego, CA 92109

IDW will send back a correct copy of the book, free of charge."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 4, 2012 10:03 AM PDT

Damnation Alley [Blu-Ray]
Damnation Alley [Blu-Ray]
DVD ~ Jan-Michael Vincent
Price: $18.23
22 used & new from $17.18

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Damnation Alley Blu-Ray, October 1, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
First off, the film is just OK and probably best enjoyed by people touched by a bit of nostalgia from seeing it in their younger days. There are plenty of really cool (and sometimes hilariously cheap) special effects such as the psychedelic color shifting skies and the Landmaster vehicle, but other than that, the story falls very short and it all ends up feeling like a made-for-TV movie (especially the lame ending).
The Blu-Ray was really disappointing to me mainly due to the visible compression in the dark/blacks as well as in the orange sky transformation scenes after the bombs drop. Normally Shout! Factory does a pretty good job on their releases, but this one just doesn't look good at all, and it's very disappointing to see a Blu-Ray with these digital artifacts. It would be expected on DVD, but in the HD realm I don't expect to ever notice issues like this at all. I was probably looking a little deeper into the video issues because I just simply didn't enjoy the film that much, but fans of this might not let the mild compression bother them at all since this is probably the best this film has ever looked on home video. It's just a shame that this release couldn't have been authored better with some higher quality video. The extras were pretty entertaining, especially the interview with the designer of the Landmaster vehicle. So, if you're a fan of the film, get it! If you're not sure, rent it first.

Galaxina / Crater Lake Monster- Double Feature- [Blu-ray]
Galaxina / Crater Lake Monster- Double Feature- [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Dorothy Stratten
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $6.58
23 used & new from $2.98

8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Compression Lake Monster, September 10, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Hands down the worst looking Blu-Ray I've seen so far. Galaxina uses a faded/worn print, but the increased resolution makes it a winner over the DVD print - and I wasn't really disappointed with it like many others here. What ruins this release for me, though, is the transfer of The Crater Lake Monster - the cheap "underdog" of this Blu-Ray set. Riddled with compression artifacts and lacking fine background detail, TCLM looks terrible. At first glance it looks great, with strikingly bright colors, but you will soon be taken completely out of the film as the fine details of the trees and water are contantly swimming with digital compression. I thought the increased bitrate of HD would eliminate this issue that ruined so many DVD releases over the years... Maybe they squeezed too much onto a single disc and TCLM suffers in the end? Completely disappointing.

Yes, I know this is a budget release that can be had for less than $6, and the "I wasn't expecting Criterion quality" defense is often tossed around for budget releases like this when a defect is pointed out. But, come on, this is 2011 and the fact that heavily visible compression is present on a Blu-Ray release is simply unacceptable. I wanted to write this review because nowhere else online did I see anyone point out the image quality issues, and really wanted to warn people about what they're going to get before they purchase this. I would definitely be weary of future Mill Creek Blu-Ray titles in the future. If you're only a fan of Galaxina, I would say go for it, but if you're only buying this for TCLM, you've been warned.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2013 3:34 AM PDT

A Tale of Sorrow
A Tale of Sorrow
DVD ~ Kyoko Enami
Price: $24.98
17 used & new from $5.00

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good film/Bad subtitles, November 25, 2009
This review is from: A Tale of Sorrow (DVD)
If you're a Seijun Suzuki fan then this film will definitely satisfy you with many bizarre and stylishly photographed scenes that one would expect from him. This was apparently his return to feature film making 10 years after he was fired from Nikkatsu - so that in itself makes this film a very important document. Unfortunately, there is a major problem with this disc, and it is the subtitles. There are many instances during spoken dialogue where certain dialogue is not subtitled, including an entire scene at about the 1hr 5min mark that is missing subtitles completely. I've contacted the publisher of this disc, Cinema Epoch, and it's been nearly a month with no reply. They obviously don't care about correcting this issue. Adding further insult to this sloppy release, there is an "essay" about Suzuki that reads like a 12 year old's book report, complete with countless grammatical and punctuation errors (Hilariously, the essay cites a "source list" and the only 2 entries are IMDB and Wikipedia!). The image quality looks great, and shows off Suzuki's great, striking color compositions, so it's a shame that the subtitles are all messed up. If you're a Suzuki fan, buy it anyway, because the film is still completely easy to follow despite this issue and it would be a shame to completely ignore the film. Had the subs been better, and the essay been written by somebody with a decent grasp on Suzuki's films (in addition to the English language...), this would have easily been a 4.5-5.0 rating as I enjoyed the film immensely! Let's hope Cinema Epoch steps up and corrects this issue eventually.

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