Wednesday, June 24, 2015

ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX (1983) BD/DVD Combo 2-Disc Collector's Edition

BD/DVD Combo 2-Disc Collector's Edition 

Label: Blue Underground
Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Rating: R
Region Code: Region-FREE
Duration: 89 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD Mono, Dolby Digital Mono with Optional English SDH Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1) 
Director: Enzo G. Castellari
Cast: Mark Gregory, Henry Silva, Valeria D'Obici, Timothy Brent, Paolo Malco, Antonio Sabato, Massimo Vanni

The sequel to 1990: The Bronx Warriors is a down and dirty action fest with more than enough gun fire, flames throwers and huge slow-motion violence to appease the most ardent junk-cinema connoisseur. so strap yourself in and enjoy the low-budget mayhem for all it's worth. 

It's been a few years since the events from Bronx Warriors and Trash (Mark Gregory) is no longer the leader of the Riders biker gang. Now he's a smuggler running arms in the Bronx, supplying  ammunition to a the remnant of the gangs who now reside underground  where they are lead by Dablone (Antonio Sabato), a hairy son-of-a-bitch who keeps underground, away from the eyes of the GC Corporation who are currently campaigning to rebuild the Bronx as a city of the future. Before they can begin reconstruction they must rid the burrough of the scum and villainy inhabiting it. Under the false image of a mass relocation program the GC Corporation hires a disgraced prison warden named Wrangler (the always fun Henry Silva) to burn the streets clean of the scum, Wrangler heads the Disinfestation Squad, a troop of murderers bent on erasing the left over gang members from the streets. Silva is a good stand-in for Vic Morrow, though he never does go quite as insane as Morrow did at the end of Bronx Warriors. This time out the death troops have upgraded from black leather to shiny foil uniforms, which is pretty corny and yet another layer of cheese on an already packed action-quesadilla of a movie. 

As the death troops sweep the street eliminating pretty much anyone who won't take them up on their offer to relocate to sunny New Mexico Dablone and his crew are content to keep underground and not engage Wrangler and his merciless minions. However, things heat-up pretty quickly when Trash's parents are burned to cinder by the death squads, who then push deeper into the underground territory of Dablone, forcing him to team-up with Trash and enlist the talents of a loner named Strike (Giancarlo Prete) and his fire-bug son Junior (Alessandro Prete), coming up with a ridiculous  plan to kidnap the president of the GC Corporation and much violence and slow-motion mayhem ensues. 

Shot on the cheap by a man who knew how to stretch a dollar the movie is loaded with plenty of action things considered, you can see every penny onscreen with a few too many slow-motion action sequences and huge fireballs -- this is mindless fun at it's finest ...and cheapest. Trash shooting down a well-gunned helicopter out of the sky with his tiny snub nosed .38 was a favorite of mine, and that's just the beginning of the gratuitously cheap onscreen mayhem, a film that is dripping with Italian testosterone, machismo and sweat from start to finish, so much good stuff. 

Mark Gregory seems way more comfortable in the role of the long-haired street tough, he moves more naturally, not sure if Enzo pulled him aside for a chat or what but for whatever reason he seems more badass. Henry Silva as Wrangler is straight-up maniacal and a lot of fun, so evil in fact that sugar is just too damn sweet for him, there's a fun scene of him losing his shit over a cup of sweetened coffee, fantastic stuff. Additionally we have Valeria D'Obici as mouthy reporter Moon Gray who is out to expose the corruption of the GC Corp. plus a love interest for Trash, unfortunately the pair have zero chemistry, their scenes are sort of hilarious in an overly-dramatic doomed love sort of way. Fortunately no one is coming into a Enzo G. Castellari joint for the deep character development and a thoughtful storyline, you are here for the awesome low-budget action fun and we have plenty of that! 

Audio/Video: Escape from the Bronx (1983) arrives on Blu-ray from Blue Underground with a brand new 2K HD transfer and it looks pretty damn nice with a nice layer of fine film grain, a few of the scenes are stronger than others with a few looking a tad soft from time to time, but surely this is an issue with the source elements and not of the transfer itself. Colors are vibrant, skin tones look good and the black levels are pretty decent all around, a damn nice transfer. The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono audio sounds crystal clear, well balanced with Francessco De Masi's cheesy score, hilarious English-dubbed audio and the wonderful array of loud sound effects sounding really great. Optional English subtitles are provided. 

Onto the special features we have an Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Enzo G. Castellari and Enzo's son Andrea with David Gregory moderating the whole affair, a good commentary and a lot of fun. Then we have part three of the Enzo G. Castellari and Fabrizio De Angelis In Conversation with the producer and director reuniting and speaking at length about the film and their various collaborations through the years. A fun inclusion id The Hunt For Trash - Interview with BRONX WARRIORS Superfan Lance Manley featurette with a superfan who has spent years trying to locate actor Mark Gregory who has seemed to have dropped of the face of the earth after a brief stint in Italian cinema in the eighties. Finishing up the extras are the International and Italian trailers for the film and a poster a still gallery, a very solid array of extras for an awesomely fun actioner.  

Special Features:
- Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Enzo G. Castellari

- Enzo G. Castellari and Fabrizio De Angelis In Conversation Part 3 (13 Mins)
- The Hunt For Trash: Interview with Bronx Warriors Superfan Lance Manley (13 Mins) 

- International Trailer: (3 Mins)
- Italian Trailer: (3 Mins)
- 1990: The Bronx Warriors Trailer (3 Mins) 
- The New Barbarians Trailer (3 Mins) 
- Poster and Still Gallery

The movie is all sorts of awesome, if you love low-budget violence, funny dubbed-dialogue and slow motion action this just might be a slice of Italian exploitation worth checking out. Of the three Enzo G. Castellari Blu-rays coming out from Blue Underground this one offers the most bang for your buck, and benefits from a slightly more comprehensible storyline than it's predecessor, but this is still bug-nuts insanity as only the Italian could give us. 4/5