Thursday, June 5, 2014

Blu-ray Review: DOLLMAN (1991)

DOLLMAN (1991) 
Label: Full Moon Features
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 80 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 amd 2.0 Stereo
Video: 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
Director: Albert Pyun
Cast: Tim Thomerson, Jackie earl Haley, Kamala Lopez, HumbertiOrtiz, Nicholas Guest, Michael Halsey, Eugene Glazer

Brick Bardo (Tim Thomerson, Trancers) is a cop from the planet Arturos on the other side of the galaxy, in pursuit of the evil doer Spurg (Jackie Earle Haley, Bad New Bears) he follows him to the planet Earth. It's a nice touch when we realize that while Bardo is a normal sized guy on his home planet he's only 13" tall on planet Earth and his ship is model-sized - apparently we're the space giants of the galaxy here on Earth. Thomerson is very much his Jack Death Trancers-mode as the Dirty Harry styled cop who wears his shades evem at night - that's just how cool he is. His nemesis is the criminal mastermind Spurg (Frank Collison, The Village) who is a just a disembodied head attached to rotor-blades, stemming from injuries sustained after previously falling victim to Bardo's dreaded proto-blaster gun, Collison makes the most of the disembodied head giving him some real malice.

On Earth Bardo aligns himself with a neighborhood watch organizer named Debbie (Kamala Lopez, Total Recall) who wants to clean-up her drug-riddled South Bronx neighborhood. Evil doer Spurg hooks up with vicious gang leader named Braxton played by Oscar winner Jackie Earle Hayley who's performance has a nasty edge to it.

The film is surprisingly short with an extended intro and end credit sequence, it's padded out but the meat of the film is pretty tight and well-paced with little waste which keeps things flowing at a decent pace. Director Albert Pyun (Radioactive Dreams) doesn't leave a moment for boredom or nitpicking to creep in, just plugging away from one scene to the next.

It surprises me just how much the cheapie effects and forced perspective effects still work, though keep in mind I have a lot of love for these early Full Moon features and for Tim Thomerson cheesy  Dirty Harry macho-shtick.
Jackie Earle Haley's turn as a drug-dealing gang banger is a nasty bit of business. I do wish we had more scenes with Spurg whose design and delivery are a lot of fun.

Blu-ray: The transfer features solid color reproduction, decent black levels and a nice layer of film grain left intact. The print used for the remastering looks pretty great with very few instances of print damage though there's some digital noise evident throughout. 

Audio option include both DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and the original 2.0 stereo track, not a lot of depth to the soundfield here but the dialogue, effects and Tony Riparetti score sound pleasing. There are no subtitle options. 

Extras on the disc include a vintage Dollman Videozone episode with interview from director Albert Pyun and stars Tim Thomerson, Jackie Earle Hayley and Kamala Lopez. There's a 2013 interview with Charles Band and Tim Thomerson which is really a shameless advert for Ooga Booga merchandise and over a half hour of Full Moon trailers. Pretty slim on features but this cheapie while enjoyable probably doesn't deserve a whole lot of introspection. 

Special Features:

- Tim Thomerson and Charles Band Video July 2013 (5:44) 
- Lost Pulse Pounders 1988 Promo Reel (1:20) 
- Original Dollman Videozone (7:41) 
- Full Moon Trailers: Unlucky Charms (1:25), Ooga Booga (1:28), Reel Evil (1:40), Puppet Master X (1;37), Castle Freak (2:14), Subspecies (1:17), Puppet Master 3 (2:16), Grindhouse Promo (1:13) 

Verdict: This is straight-to-video sci-fi fun from the early nineties from Full Moon. Tim Thomerson does the Eastwood-styled cop routine effectively and Jackie Earle Hayley turns in a decent performance as a vicious gang-banger. It's not too silly but there are plenty of corny one liners and what little gore we do get is nicely done. Dollman (1991) fun piece of b-movie popcorn that doesn't take itself too seriously and makes for an entertaining watch. 

3 Outta 5