Red Scorpion Blu Ray Review
Action films from the eighties are in a class all of their own. For some reason a muscle man taking on an entire army with minimal dialogue and over the top stunts was a major box office draw. Audiences, including my seven year old self, just couldn’t get enough of watching somebody who usually wasn’t American stamp on whatever country was against the United States at the time. Perhaps we were deafened by gunfire and blinded by the homo-erotic tendencies of half naked sweaty killing machines to see what is so obvious now? Yes, they are infantile and ridiculous movies promoting US propaganda but they have a charm all of their own. Just looking at the box artwork of Arrow films latest release ‘Red Scorpion’ takes me back to when I would run around the playground with imaginary guns and infinite grenades shouting ‘take no prisoners!’ a time when I would do drawings of Rambo whilst adding my own soundtrack of gun noises and explosions. For the next 106 minutes I’m allowing Dolph Lundgren to take me back to 1988... Fuckin’ A!
My initial thoughts on this Blu ray disc are quite impressive. The 1080p picture quality is sharp and very clear. On my current PS3 settings there is minimal grain as well. Overall the image transfer is maybe a little too bright in places. The outdoor scenes in the desert look great. The blue skies contrasting on the white sands make the film look like new in places whereas darker interiors appear to have a misty finish, most notable in the opening scenes. Audio on the other hand is a little weaker. There is only an uncompressed stereo soundtrack which is a shame considering all the explosions and weapon fire. A DTS or Dolby 5.1 sound mix would have been far better and is a missed opportunity. For an Arrow release the features for Red Scorpion are a bit sparse. There is the token theatrical trailer which you almost expect these days and we have a brand new 30 minute interview with Dolph Lungren. It’s actually quite an enjoyable piece and I liked hearing about how he got bitten by a hyena during a stunt. There is an audio commentary with director Joseph Zito and another new interview with composer Jay Chatterway. It’s okay and I welcome its inclusion but I would have liked to have seen more considering the films controversy around the African apartheid at the time. Thankfully Arrow doesn’t disappoint with their usual high presentation standards. The new box art from ‘the dude designs’ looks fantastic and there is a choice of covers like before. Inside the box there is a nice double-sided poster and a booklet featuring brand new writing by author Calum Waddell.
In closing I can only really recommend Red Scorpion to die hard 80’s fans. There are bigger and better movies out there that do exactly what Scorpion does. The picture quality is let down by a basic sound mix and the features are a bit thin on the ground. At least the box looks nice!