DVD Review: Judas Priest “Battle Cry”

“Battle Cry”

Judas Priest
Epic Records
Rated: Not Rated
DVD Running time: 94 minutes

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Judas Priest’s tour in support of their 17th studio album was one of the most extensive of the group’s entire career- consisting of 130 shows in 33 countries and offering a set-list that touched upon selections from nearly all of their classic albums. Fans can now relive the live Priest experience through “Battle Cry”. Recorded live on August, 1st 2015 at Germany’s Wacken Festival in front of 85,000, the live performance is available on 15 track audio CD as well as DVD and Blu-Ray which both feature an additional 3 tracks shot in Poland on December 10th 2015.

Though not the first live concert performance release from metal gods Judas Priest it is however the first live release from the band to cover material from practically every album including “Redeemer of Souls”. Everything a hardcore Priest fan could want is here and more! From such classic tracks as “Metal Gods” and “Victim of Changes” to newer tracks like “Battle Cry” and “Redeemer of Souls”. You serious get a little bit of everything with this release. One track missing that I had hoped would make the cut was that of the song “Love Bites” off of “Defenders of the Faith”. The band performed this song for the first time since 1986 during the opening night of the “Redeemer of Souls” tour in Rochester, NY and continued playing it off and on throughout the tours run. Despite my own personal favorite missing the stunning visuals and immense crowd and staging made me quickly forget about that one minor detail as there was just so much to take in. The band made a really great decision by selecting the Wacken Festival as it is really proving to be one of if not thee most premier heavy metal festival.

This release will make a great addition to any metal fans collection especially if they were able to catch one of the bands shows from this tour. It would have been nice though if they came packaged as a CD/DVD combo giving you both an audio and video option all in one purchase. It also would have been cool to include some behind the scenes footage from the tour along with the 3 additional tracks being the tour was such a large undertaking for the band. Minus those few small things and you have great live release.

DVD/Blu-Ray Track Listing:

1.) (Intro) Battle Cry
2.) Dragonaut
3.) Metal Gods
4.) Devil’s Child
5.) Victims of Changes
6.) Halls of Valhalla
7.) Turbo Lover
8.) Redeemer of Souls
9.) Beyond the Realms of Death
10.) Jawbreaker
11.) Breaking the Law
12.) Hell Bent for Leather
13.) Hellion
14.) Electric Eye
15.) You’ve Got Another Thing Coming
16.) Painkiller
17.) Living After Midnight

Bonus tracks:

18,) Screaming for Vengeance
19.) The Rage
20.) Desert Plains

Book Review “The Avengers Storybook Collection”

Age Range: 6 – 8 years
Grade Level: 1 – 3
Series: Storybook Collection
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Marvel Press
Release Date: March 31, 2015

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

I wish I had a book like this when I was a kid. “The Avengers Storybook Collection” is a must have for any parent with young boys or even young fan girls for that matter! There is nothing like getting ready a story filled with heroism, adventure and action just before going to slip. These stories are fun, exciting and feature some of our favorite Marvel superheroes. Even though, my daughter is a little young for this one, she still loves it and already came name every character on the cover!

Official Premise: Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Falcon are Earth’s Mightiest Marvels-the Avengers! Join them as they work together to battle against sinister Super Villains such as Ultron, Thanos, the Masters of Evil,and more, to keep the Earth safe. Featuring 20 explosive stories of good vs. evil. Avengers assemble!

Let’s hope that this Storybook Collection is the first of many. There are literally an infinite collection of characters that they can include in future collections. This one has 20 stories included with all of the favorites like Iron Man and Captain America but I would love to be able to introduce my daughter to some of the lesser known characters as well. They could even do a female superhero only book OOHHHH OOHHHH or even better a villains only book. Who wouldn’t want to read a new story featuring everyone’s favorite Avenger villain, Loki! Fingers crossed!

3D Blu-ray Review “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

Starring: Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Aidan Turner, Cate Blanchett
Director: Peter Jackson
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Run Time: 144 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
3D: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of both “The Lord of Rings” and “The Hobbit” film series. I have to admit though, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is easily the weakest entry in Peter Jackson’s entire six-chapter saga. Now it is not terrible at all but in terms of the scale of the other films it just does not live up to be the closing chapter in a six film saga. We all know that “The Hobbit” was a very short book and these three films have been expanded to enable a trilogy but this third film just feels too stretched out. There is like an hour long battle scene, which I wouldn’t never think this would happen but it just feels boring. This film could have easily been summed up in the second film and probably made that a better film also. The cast are still top notch and both Richard Armitage and Martin Freeman really shine here.  Honestly a little sad to see this chapter close but who knows maybe their will be future Middle Earth adventures in the future (hopefully).

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” brings to an epic conclusion the adventure of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) and the Company of Dwarves. The Dwarves of Erebor have reclaimed the vast wealth of their homeland, but now must face the consequences of having unleashed the terrifying Dragon, Smaug, upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town. As he succumbs to dragon-sickness, the King Under the Mountain, Thorin Oakenshield, sacrifices friendship and honor in search for the legendary Arkenstone. Unable to help Thorin see reason, Bilbo is driven to make a desperate and dangerous choice, not knowing that even greater perils lie ahead. An ancient enemy has returned to Middle-earth. Sauron, the Dark Lord, has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends as five great armies go to war.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” is releasing this film as a 5-disc combo pack with a 3D Blu-ray + Standard Blu-ray + DVD and also Digital HD copy. The 3D on this film was good but I wasn’t blown away like the second film actually. I didn’t really feel like it added much to the film other than some depth. The 1080p transfer though was fantastic. This series has excelled in the audio and video department since the very first “The Lord of the Rings”. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track is also perfect. Since the film is basically one long fight scene, this track really stands up and delivers an action packed adventure at every turn. From dragons spewing fire to metal clanging, this track is exciting and intense.

Like previous releases in this trilogy, the initial Blu-ray special features have not been outstanding. It is the Extended Edition releases set for each Fall that have impressed. This Blu-ray includes some decent extra still. First up is “New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Part 3”, which is an overview of the third film and its shooting locations. “Recruiting the Five Armies” looking into the casting, costumes and everything else involved with creating this army. “Completing Middle-earth: A Six-Part Saga” is an interview with Director Peter Jackson introduces discussing the last film, as is also “Completing Middle-earth: A Seventeen-Year Journey” taking about the saga as a whole. “The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes” looks into the creating the film’s end credits with actor Billy Boyd’s “The Last Goodbye.”, also included is the music video as well.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies arrives onto Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, 2-Disct DVD Special Edition and Digital HDÔ on March 24th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

DVD Review “Jake and the Never Land Pirates: Battle for the Book!”

Starring: Sean Ryan Fox, Madison Pettis, Jadon Sand, David Arquette, Corey Burton
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: January 6, 2015
Run Time: 141 minutes

Episodes: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Disney Junior’s “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” continues to impress time after time. The show is great and then a few years ago, they introduced Peter Pan into the mix, which made it cooler. Now they have mixed in classic characters like Wendy, Michael and John to complete circle in the all-new special “Battle for the Book!”. This is literally the best episode of the series since it has aired. It is funny, sharp and very entertaining. I am not sure how they are going to top this next time but I can’t wait to see what they have planned next for this show…oh and BTW my two year old loved it also 😉

Official Premise: When Wendy’s special Storybook is stolen by Captain Hook, Jake and his mates go to London to help Peter Pan’s friend (from the classic movie Peter Pan). The longer the book is out of Wendy’s hands, the more she and her brothers (John and Michael) forget about their past adventures on Never Land. The battle for the book continues in Never Land, where Hook plans to destroy the book and its stories in the legendary Ring of Blue Fire. It’s up to our young heroes to save Wendy’s Storybook and the Story of Peter Pan!

“Jake and the Never Land Pirates” includes the following voice cast: Sean Ryan Fox (“Life Tracker”, “East of Kensington”) as Jake, Madison Pettis (“Cory in the House”, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 and 3”, “The Game Plan”) as Izzy, Jadon Sand (“Frozen”, “Wreck it Ralph”) as Cubby, David Arquette (“Scream” movies) as Skully, Jeff Bennett (“Tinker Bell” film series) as Mr. Smee, Bonesand Corey Burton (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) as Captain Hook.

If the hour-long season three finale of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” is not enough for you there is still much more packed into this DVD. In terms of special features we get ten “Jake’s Never Land Pirate School” shorts. The shorts are “Flying”, “Tick Tock Croc”, “B-B-Big Bugs!”, “Go Bucky!”, “Saving Captain Hook!”, “Mama knows Best!”, “Dancing with the Pirates”, “I’ve Got My Sword!”, “Hop-Hop-Hop!”, and “Look Out!”. These are great watchings for the for kiddies to enjoy. Also includes inside every DVD is an exclusive checker board bandanna with gold coins, which is not available anywhere else but this DVD release. So if you love “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”, this is a must own!

Film Review “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”

Starring: Martin Freeman and Ian McKellan
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hours 24 mins
New Line

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It’s over. After thirteen years and six films, Peter Jackson has completed not one but two amazing film trilogies that will be thrilling viewers for generations to come. Welcome to the final chapter of “The Hobbit” series, “The Battle of the Five Armies.”

When we last saw Bilbo Baggins (Freeman), he and his dwarf friends had royally pissed off the great dragon, Smaug, who was doing his best to destroy Laketown. In case you didn’t see the middle film, “The Desolation of Smaug,” the final film opens with the same scenes that closed part two. Kind of like getting to see the end of the fight from “Rocky” when you screen “Rocky II.” Once things calm down the film settles into its narrative…Thorin (Richard Armitage) has gotten “gold fever” and begins to distrust those around him. Did you ever see the old Daffy Duck cartoon where he stumbles into a vault and begins to hoard all of the treasure? Well, it’s pretty much like that except Throin doesn’t run around yelling “mine, mine, mine….no, no, no!” Meanwhile, the Orcs are heading towards our heroes’ location, guaranteeing that the title battle will indeed take place – Orcs, Dwarves, Elves and Eagles spend an almost wordless 45 minutes kicking serious ass. So why am I not as in love with this film as the previous ones? One word: Legolas. Apparently his long blonde hair makes him able to defy gravity among other incredulous activities. Yes, I know it’s a fantasy but come on all ready!

On the plus side the film’s cast is as game as ever to bring the story to life and the special effects continue to amaze. If nothing else, Jackson has established himself as a master storyteller, even when the story sometimes goes a little off track. The saga is over and what never could have been imagined on screen two decades ago has now come to life. If that’s not something to be thankful for at this time of year I don’t know what is.

Win Passes to the Kansis City Premiere of “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” in 3-D [ENDED]

Media Mikes has teamed up with Warner Brothers/New Line Cinema and MGM to give (25) readers and their guests a chance to be among the first to see the final film in Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” in 3-D!

The screening will be held on Thursday, December 11, 2014 at the Cinemark Merriam 20 Theatre in Merriam, Kansas and will start at 7:00 p.m.

All you have to do is go to: http://www.gofobo.com/main/sweepstakes/TheHobbitMediaMikes and register. On Monday, December 8, (25) random entries will be chosen and those chosen will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. Winners will be notified via email on Tuesday, December 9.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” opens nationally on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Nintendo 3DS Video Game Review “Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay”

Release Date: October 23, 2014
E10+ for Everyone 10 and older: Cartoon Violence
Genre: Platformer
Publisher: Game Mill Entertainment
Developer: 1st Playable Productions

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

Right from the start, “Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay” was off to a bad start. I thought there was something wrong with my 3DS and it turned out the game isn’t presented with 3D effects. I mean come on, there are indie games that are coming out in 3D and a big game like “Big Hero 6” is not. Very disappointing. The game difficulty is extremely easy. The bad guys are no challenge at all, in fact I beat the first boss while checking my email on my phone. You play as each of the five main characters mixed up throughout the game’s 20 levels, which will take the average gamer about an hour or two to beat. The other main issue is that Baymax, who is the best character in the movie is merely background noise. Big miss here for sure.

Official Premise: Following on the heels of their super hero debut, the Big Hero 6 team has targeted a dangerous gangster named Yama and his legion of out of control fighting robots! Take control of the stars of the film in this action packed combat platformer! Send robot’s flying across the screen as Hiro with his electro-mag gauntlets! Zoom through levels at top speed as Go ! Slice and dice as Wasabi with his plasma blades! Smash and burn as Fred in his Kaiju monster super suit!

“Big Hero 6: Battle in the Bay” features no spoken dialogue or cut scenes at all along with bland and repetitive sound design. One thing this game does have though to add slightly more game play instead of jump flying through each level is that there is some in-game collectibles. You can collect various hidden items in each level including a cat, a plus symbol consisting of five cubes and the word HERO spelled out. Finding these items will provide health upgrades as well as trophies, art work and more. Unless you are completely obsessed with “Big Hero 6” and need to have everything from the movie, this is a definite pass.

 

Blu-ray Review “Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods”

Actors: Sean Schemmel, Christopher R. Sabat, Stephanie Nadolny, Sonny Strait, Jason Douglas
Directors: Christopher R. Sabat
Rated: Unrated
Studio: FUNimation
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Run Time: 85 / 105 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The first new “Dragon Ball” feature film in over seventeen years?! Yeah sign me up!! “”Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods” is a hell of a good time. I saw this film in theaters during its limited run and it was a real blast. The audience loved and we all really just loved seeing a new “Dragon Ball” feature. I think that diehard fans are going to love this as well (or loved it since it they are diehard fans they should have seen in theaters like me). I hope that the success of this film, still shows that there is plenty of demand for “Dragon Ball” content in the U.S., so I hope that they have future films planned as well. We are more FUNimation!! Bring it on!

Official Premise: Following the events of the Dragon Ball Z television series, after the defeat of Majin Buu, a new power awakens and threatens humanity. Beerus, an ancient and powerful God of Destruction, searches for Goku after hearing rumors of the Saiyan warrior who defeated Frieza. Realizing the threat Beerus poses to their home planet, the Z-fighters must find a way to stop him before it’s too late. Only Goku, humanity’s last hope, can ascend to the level of a legendary Super Saiyan God and stop Beerus’s from destroying Earth, and possibly the entire universe!

“Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods” delivered a solid Blu-ray presentation courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment The 1080p transfer in 1.78:1 looks amazing with this films colors and animation style. It keeps the original series look with not too much of an upgrade in terms of style but it just looks very polished and sharp. Same goes for the audio tracks. There are Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks for both Japanese and English on the Theatrical Version of the film and and an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 track for the Uncut Version. Either one really rules personally. I originall saw it in English but I love DBZ in Japanese as wel.

The Blu-ray contains as a mentioned, two cuts of the film the Theatrical cut runs about 85 minutes, while the Uncut version runs about 105 minutes. Obviously, I love DBZ so the longer the better for me. The film already had slight pacing issues at 85 minutes, so it runs a little long but I still can’t get enough personally. In terms of special features, we get a Behind the Scenes look into the film with “Battle of Voice Actors” and also similarly “The Voices of Dragon Ball Z Unveiled”, which touches on the cast. There is also a Textless Closing Song and U.S. Trailer included.

NCAA March Madness vs. NBA Playoffs – A Battle of the Basketballs

Any basketball fans out there? As we approach the end of the season, the burning question for sports way is which is the best way to end it properly. Some will same NCAA March Madness and some will say NBA Playoffs. If you are conflicted, take a look at this amazing infographic and let it give you the facts behind each.

Feel free to enter your comments below and let us know what are your thoughts, feeling and of course most importantly predictions for the end of this season!


Via: Equip Supply

CD Review: GWAR “Battle Maximus”

GWAR
“Battle Maximus”
Metal Blade Records
Tracks: 13
Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

GWAR the rubber clad creatures from Antarctica are back with their 13th studio album titled “Battle Maximus”. The album is being released via Metal Blade Records and features 13 brand new tracks from the heavy metal group that have been slaying audiences and figure heads since the late 1980’s. When a band loses a member there are two things that can happen. The band can either replace that member and continue on or pack it in and call it quits. When Cory Smoot (Flattus Maximus) guitarist and key song writer for the band passed away while the group was on tour in 2011 I was unsure how a role that large could be filled and if there ever would be new GWAR music again. Thankfully the group has decided to forge on and with the addition of Pustulus Maximus (Brent Purgason) Gwar has been able to not only carry on with their signature sludge like sound they have taken it to an entirely new level.

The album kicks off with an acoustic tinged intro featuring the always comical lyrical stylings of Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) before blasting into “Madness at the Core of Time” which is a song done in typical GWAR fashion. The song also features several Iron Maiden type lead passages which were spot on. As the album continues to pulverize your senses you come across tracks such as “Nothing Left Alive” which features some stellar double bass technique courtesy of Jizmak (Brad Roberts) before making way for tracks such as “Torture” and “I, Bonesnapper” which gives GWAR’s always entertaining sidekick Bonesnapper a chance to strut his stuff and tell stories of his days on the Scum Dog slave ships. The album closes on several high notes such as “Falling” which features even more great solos and a trippy vibe reminiscent of “Dark Side of the Moon” before ending with the track “Fly Now” which upon close listen plays like a tribute to the bands fallen brother Flattus.

All the performances on “Battle Maximus” are well crafted and executed flawlessly. I have to give it to the groups newest members as with this being their first record with the band they are certainly worthy the Scum Dog armor in this writers eyes. GWAR fans both new and old will definitely want to grab a copy of this for their collection as it ushers in a new era for the wart covered creatures known as GWAR.

Track Listing:
1.) Intro
2.) Madness at the Core of Time
3.) Bloodbath
4.) Nothing Left Alive
5.) They Swallowed the Sun
6.) Torture
7.) Raped at Birth
8.) I, Bonesnapper
9.) Mr. Perfect
10.) Battle Maximus
11.) Triumph of the Pig Children
12.) Falling
13.) Fly Now

XBOX 360 Game Review “Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth”

Platform: Xbox 360
Studio: Ubisoft
Rated: Teen
Release Date: October 30, 2012

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

When it comes to “Marvel’s The Avengers”, they are the hottest ticket in not only film this year but also anything having to do with media in general.  So the release of “Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth” is not a shock.  The game is a head-to-head fighting game where you can put iconic Marvel superheroes and villains against each other. You can choose from 20 classic Marvel characters, each one that is equipped with four unique superpowers. But this isn’t your typical fighting game you have to use motion to fight and trigger attacks using the Kinect.  But it is met with mostly mixed results.

Like most fighting games there is a wide variety of game modes including Co-op, Campaign, Arcade, Challenges, Versus, and Tournament. Concerning the fighting system, it is decent and definitely not the worst I have ever come across, there is your typical use of Super Attacks, Velocity Boost, Breaker, or Frenzy to battle your  opponents. On the plus side that didn’t make it a total bust for me, there is tons of extras to unlock as you go through the battles like unlocking unique outfits and collector cards.

The character line-up avaialble for “Marvel Avengers: Battle For Earth” is Black Widow, Captain America, Doctor Doom, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Human Torch, Iceman, Iron Man, Loki, Magneto, Phoenix, Queen Veranke, Scarlet Witch, Spider Man, Storm, Super Skrull, The Hulk, Thor, Venom and Wolverine.

I did enjoy getting a chance to control both the heroes and villains of the Marvel universe using my movements but it did get a little tiring.  The capturing of my movement was also quite accurate. The graphics are also quite impressive with some sharp shading. I mean it is not super high-def but I feel that that was the angle that they were going for, more of a comic book look and not so polished.  In the end, this will surely be loved by energetic kids under the age of 12.   Adults might enjoy playing but will most likely loose interest after a short while.

Product Description: “Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth” is the ultimate superhero brawler. It features 20 different characters, including Avengers such as Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America and Thor, as well as other fan-favorite Super Heroes and Super Villains from the Marvel Universe. Players will use motion gameplay to execute explosive super attacks, unleash devastating special moves and play with friends or against the AI in a wide variety of game modes.

Full Character Lineup Revealed for “Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth”

Ubisoft revealed the full lineup of Super Heroes and Super Villains for Marvel Avengers Battle for Earth and key art created by Marvel Comics artist Stefano Caselli.  Fans will get to play as 20 different Marvel characters including:


1. Black Widow
2. Captain America
3. Doctor Doom
4. Dr. Strange
5. Hawkeye
6. Human Torch
7. Iceman
8. Iron Man
9. Loki
10. Magneto
11. Phoenix
12. Queen Veranke
13. Scarlet Witch
14. Spider Man
15. Storm
16. Super Skrull
17. The Hulk
18. Thor
19. Venom
20. Wolverine

About Marvel Avengers Battle for Earth:
Marvel Avengers Battle for Earth is the ultimate super hero brawler set in authentic comic book-style art environments based on the iconic Secret Invasion storyline. Battle for Earth provides endless entertainment through a variety of gameplay modes including co-op, campaign, arcade, challenges, versus and tournament. Fans will enjoy embodying their favorite Marvel super heroes or villains within the game including Avengers Captain America, The Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Loki.

Developed by Ubisoft Quebec, Marvel Avengers Battle for Earth will be released in North America on Kinect for Xbox 360 on October 30th and Nintendo’s Wii U system this Holiday.

For more information on Marvel Avengers Battle for Earth, please visit: http://AvengersBattleforEarth.com

DVD Review “Battle Circus”

Director:   Richard Brooks
Cast:   Humphrey Bogart, June Allyson, Keenan Wynn, Robert Keith
Distributed by: Warner Archive
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 90 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Humphrey Bogart carries such a presence and always delivers such a great performance.  He is one of the Hollywood legends and this film is no different.  Humphrey Bogart and June Allyson together in the film just work so well. This really represents the classic 50’s MGM productions.  Thanks to Warner Archive, this film is released on DVD for the first time and is also newly remastered.

The film is presented in 4 X 3 full frame and its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The audio included is a mono track like most released from Warner Archive. The B&W film looks awesome for a film that was released in 1953 that has has never been on DVD. The only extra that comes on this release though is a trailer.  But nonetheless, all fans of Bogart’s classic films will definitely want to check out this release.

Synopsis: Long before M*A*S*H, there was Battle Circus. Made during the Korean War, this tribute to the indomitable human spirit takes an authentic, almost documentary-like look at the nurses and doctors who operated in the battlefront Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals. Major Jed Webbe (Humphrey Bogart) is a brilliant, hard-bitten Army surgeon with a weakness for women and strong liquor. Fresh from the states arrives Lt. Ruth McCara (June Allyson), a naïve young nurse ready to save the world. The story of their love and heroism, told against the grimly realistic background of pounding artillery and deadly ambushes, forms the core of the film. The title Battle Circus comes from the way the mobile field units can strike their tents, move to a new battle area, then set them up again like circus roustabouts in nothing flat. And, like circus daredevils, these heroes risk life and death on a daily basis.

Blu-ray Review “Battle Royale: The Complete Collection”

Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku
Starring: Beat Takeshi, Chiaki Kuriyama
Number of discs: 4
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Distributed by: Anchor Bay
Release Date: March 20, 2012
Running Time: 368 minutes

Collection: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out 5 stars

It is really sad that it took this film this long to get released properly in the US. “Battle Royale” has been proclaimed by many as “One Of The Most Controversial Film Series Of All Time”. It is definitely that for sure…and then some. The reason for this release occurs due to the unbelievable hype from the upcoming movie “The Hunger Games”. There has been talks of doing a US version of “Battle Royale” for many years but those were silenced since “The Hunger Games” came along. They are relatively similar in a sense besides the fact that “Battle Royale” is a no-holds barred kick-ass movie not backed by a teeny-bopper/Twilight-esque following like with “The Hunger Games”. Nonetheless, I am happy to finally see this film and its sequel “Battle Royale II: Requiem” released in the America and in glorious high definition.  So if you enjoy “The Hunger Games”, you should enjoy this release as well, no question.

The complete collection consists of four discs within fantastic case/box. The box comes with great photos from the films through the case. The first disc is the director’s cut of “Battle Royale”. The second disc is the theatrical cut of “Battle Royale”. The third disc is the sequel “Battle Royale II: Requiem”, less superior that the first but still very enjoyable. The fourth and final disc is jam packed with bonus content. The video resolution looks great with its 1080p transfer, with its original aspect ratio: 1.85:1. The audio is also fantastic specifically with its Japanese track boasting a very impressive Dolby TrueHD 7.1. The English dubbed track only included a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track.

Kinji Fukasaku’s violet yet poetic “Battle Royale” follow a group of Junior High students forced by the government to hunt and kill their classmates for sport. Sounds similar to “The Hunger Games” huh? When they are flown to a remote island, the rules are laid out for the game. Each student is put in a group with another student, given a weapon and set against their fellow classmates. Only one group will be allowed to leave the island alive. Of course what separates this from “The Hunger Games” is that one your team member is killed the device around the team members neck will explode in a few seconds.

“Battle Royale II: Requiem” follows right about the events of the first film. The survivors of previous Battles Royale, led by Shuya Nanahara have formed a rebel group called the “Wild Seven”. A class of teenagers are kidnapped by the Japanese government again. Instead of being forced to kill each other, like the first film, the students are sent off to war and ordered to attack and kill terrorist group and its leader.

The special features on this release are so fantastic and include more than 3 hours of extras. The main issue with these is that they are only presented on DVD, it would have been great to see these presented on Blu-ray and in high definition. The extras includes the following: The Making of Battle Royale, TV Spot: Tarantino Version, Basketball Scene Rehearsals, Tokyo International Film Festival 2000, Special Edition TV Spot, Original Theatrical Trailer, Battle Royale Documentary, Special Effects Comparison Featurette, Filming On-Set, Behind-The-Scenes Featurette, Audition & Rehearsal Footage, Instructional Video: Birthday Version, Battle Royale Press Conference. If you previously purchased the Special Edition International versions, then this is nothing new here just with subtitles now.