Blu-ray Review “Miramax Multi-Feature: Jackie Chan Series”

Directed by & Starring: Jackie Chan
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Running Time: 386 minutes

Operation Condor: 3 out of 5 stars
Operation Condor- Armour of God 2: 3 out of 5 stars
Jackie Chan’s Project A: 3 out of 5 stars
Jackie Chan’s Project A2: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I remember dating back to 1994 when I first saw Jackie Chan’s “Rumble in the Bronx”, still one of my favorites. It changed my life and introduced me to kung-fu films. Since then Jackie’s films have been ported to the US over the years. The films included in this set are not his best but are still entertaining. Though since they are American versions of the films, they are badly cut and edited. They also are only available with a dubbed track not the original language with subtitles. Though with the low price, fans of Jackie Chan will enjoy a chance to see this films on Blu-ray.

“Operation Condor” features Jackie Chan as the world’s greatest secret agent, code name Condor, who is sent to track down stolen Nazi gold. “Operation Condor: Armour of God 2” features Chan back as the fortune hunter whose ex-girlfriend is kidnapped and held for ransom by an evil cult. “Jackie Chan’s Project A” features Chan as Dragon, a coast guard officer on patrol in late 19th century Hong Kong, who battles with a vicious gang syndicate for control of the waters. “Jackie Chan’s Project A2” follows its predecessor where Dragon is assigned to lead the local police force but discovers and aims to remove police corruption.

The Blu-ray transfers on these films are not the greatest. They are all presented in 1080p though, which is a plus at least. The video quality on “Operation Condor 2: Armour of the Gods” is the best on the disc but it only comes with Dobly Stereo 2.0 audio track, as does “Project A”. “Project A” and “Project A2” transfers are also very grainy and rough, despite the 1080p transfer. “Operation Condor” and “Project A2” comes with Dobly Digital 5.1 surround tracks. Overall mixed results on these films, leading up to barely satisfactory. But when it comes down to it, you can find this Bluray for $10 or less and for that it is worth your money.


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Blu-ray Review “Miramax Multi-Feature: Wes Craven Presents Series”

Directors: Patrick Lussier, Robert Harmon
Starring: Christopher Plummer, Jason London, Jonny Lee Miller, Omar Epps, Roy Scheider
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 29, 2011
Running Time: 364 minutes

Dracula 2000: 4 out of 5 stars
Dracula II: Ascension: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Dracula III: Legacy: 3 out of 5 stars
They: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray Score: 3 out of 5 stars

The main draw for me to this release was the three “Dracula” films, all presented by Wes Craven. “Dracula 2000″ was a really clever and fun film. The two “Dracula” sequels are decent but have a direct-to-video feel, still the three together are worth the purchase alone. I was never a huge fan of “They” but it is also a decent bonus to this release. Wes Craven’s name personally to me does not bare much weight recently I feel that he has really lost his street cred…I mean have you see “Scream 4″? Nonetheless, they films are worth purchasing for horror fans, especially for the low cost.

“Dracula 2000” takes the tale of Dracula into the 21 century where a team of techno-savvy thieves break into a vault they find a crypt unopened for 100 years. Dracula is unleashed and wreaks havoc. “Dracula II: Ascension” follows a group of medical students who discover the body of the Dracula and will wish that they hadn’t. “Dracula III: Legacy” follows vampire hunters Father Uffizi and Luke as they follow Dracula back to Eastern Europe they aim to end his reign again. “They” follows a student who experienced night terrors only to find out that the monsters in their closets are real and they are coming for her.

The Blu-ray presentation of these discs are not the greatest like most Echo Bridge multi-feature releases but they are honestly worth it to have these films on Blu-ray. The first two “Dracula” films are the best two films but also the worst presented here. They both included 1080i transfers and are only equipped with Dolby Stereo 2.0 tracks. This is a bit disappointing as they have full 5.1-channel versions on the DVDs. Though “Dracula III” & “They” both are presented in 1080p and both have 5.1 surround tracks. I wish that Echo Bridge will focus on unifying their releases and include 1080p and 5.1 sound on all films in these sets. Fans of these films, will still be happy for these HD upgrades.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Multi-Feature: Children of the Corn Series”

Directors: James D.R. Hickox, Greg Spence, Ethan Wiley, Kari Skogland
Starring: Terence Knox, Daniel Cerny, Ron Melendez, Paul Scherrer, Naomi Watts
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Entertainment
MPAA Rating R
Release Date: Nov 29, 2011
Running Time: 341 minutes

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest: 4 out of 5 stars
Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror: 3 out of 5 stars
Children of the Corn 666: Issac’s Return: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

The “Children of the Corn” series is a guilty pleasure.  The films in the franchise were never my favorite horror films but I could never say no to a new sequel.  Over the years there has been a total of eight films in this series, so this Blu-ray is just the tip of the iceberg.  Echo Bridge is behind this release, which they are very well-known for their Miramax Multi-Features.  This release is a great pick-up for horror fans, especially for its extremely low price.  It is also a great place to get all these films in one place and it is a step up from DVD for sure.

“Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest” is one of my favorites and follows a couple who adopts a pair of orphaned brothers, but the boys may not be as sweet an innocent as they seem.  “Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering” follows a young medical student who must solve the mystery that plagues the children of a small Midwestern town, starring a young Naomi Watts.  “Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror” follow six college students who take a wrong turn in a deserted rural town to discover that this place hides a murderous cult of evil children. “Children of the Corn 666: Issac’s Return” follows Hannah Martin, who while looking for parents picks up a dark stranger, who ends up assisting her in completing a sinister prophecy.

Let’s get to the Blu-ray presentation which is actually surprisingly decent.  The video transfer for “Children of the Corn 3, 4 & 6” are only presented in 1080i but honestly look pretty good. “Children of the Corn V” is presented in 1080p.  The picture has solid clarity and the colors are sharp.  It is definitely a step up from the previous DVD transfers.  The audio for all four movies include only an Dolby 2.0 Stereo track. They work though I always prefer 5.1 audio on Blu-ray, since 2.0 just screams DVD quality. Nonetheless, this is still a great purchase if you enjoy the series.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Multi-Feature: From Dusk Till Dawn Series”

Directors: Robert Rodriguez, Scott Spiegel, P.J. Pesce
Starring: George Clooney, Marco Leonardi, Robert Patrick, Harvey Keitel, Michael Parks, Bruce Campbell
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Entertainment
MPAA Rating: R
Release Date: Nov 29, 2011
Running Time: 290 minutes

From Dusk Till Dawn: 4 out of 5 stars
Full-Tilt Boogie: 2.5 out of 5 stars
From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Blood Money: 3.5 out of 5 stars
From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“From Dusk Till Dawn” is such a great film and kick started the careers of Robert Rodriguez and George Clooney. It is such a unique and fun film. It’s two sequels, also included in this release, are good but don’t reach the same level of kick-ass. Don’t forgot the feature-length and well-respected documentary “Full-Tilt Boogie” which is also included here. These are conveniently included all on one release thanks to Echo Bridge. Now with that said, this isn’t the best presentation of the films ever but it is in high-def and for the low-price it is definitely worth the purchase. Horror fans should not miss this release!

“From Dusk Till Dawn” follows the Gecko brothers (George Clooney and Quentin Tarantino) as they head south to a seedy Mexican bar to hide out in safety. Of course it isn’t just your typical strip joint and has to fight for their lives to survive from the creatures it inhabits. “Full-Tilt Boogie” is a full length documentary which goes behind the scenes of on the production of the first “From Dusk Till Dawn”. “From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Blood Money” features a gang of misfits who head to Mexico for the perfect heist. But when they cross the wrong vampire, they get involved with a lot more than they can handle. “From Dusk Till Dawn 3: The Hangman’s Daughter” follows Johnny Madrid, who is on the run from the hangman along with the hangman’s daughter Esmeralda by his side. They embark on an adventure that leads them straight into the fight of their lives.

All four films are presented with 1080p transfers and they looks decent at the best but are still a step up from DVD. “Full-Tilt Boogie” is easily the worst quality of the three but it doesn’t bother me because I will watching the films more often than this doc. The audio is also decent with the first and third “From Dusk Till Dawn” pack a 5.1 surround track, but the second “From Dusk Till Dawn” and “Full-Tilt Boogie” are only Stereo 2.0 tracks. Also latestly there are no special features included, if you don’t count “Full-Tilt Boogie”.


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