Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blastfighter (1984)

Gotta be honest with you girls and boys, this is an old review that I made a few changes in. The main reason for this is that I’m slightly involved in the new Swedish DVD release of Blastfighter. There’s a huge quite from me on the back of the cover (and on the front there’s one from Quentin Tarantino) and on the DVD itself it’s an interview I did with star Michael Sopkiw some years ago. So I decided to use this review again, because it was written long before I even knew it would be a DVD here in Sweden. So here it is, either you like it or not…

One day a napkin arrived at my doorstep. It was sent directly from the US and the sender was David Zuzelo. The napkin was special because it was a message to me, written directly over pieces of food and saliva and signed with "Mr God". I will share a photo with you someday. Well, this napkin is holy for me, because "Mr God" there is actually Michael Sopkiw, the best action hero ever to hit the screen. He only made four movies, and I would say that at least two of them are among the best I've seen in Italian action: After the fall of New York and Blastfighter.

I’ve never been a real fan of Lamberto Bava. He's always been too uneven for his own good and has a tendecy to make movies that look like TV-productions. But of course, he's the man behind Demons, You'll Die At Midnight and Macabre. He also directed Monster Shark (with Sopkiw) and the extremly boring Demons 2. But I always hail Blastfighter as his masterpiece. The rumour says it started as a science fiction-movie by Lucio Fulci, but sometime along the way it transformed into a Rambo-esqe action-opera!

For once the story is quite well written, but the star is (except Sopkiw of course) is the action and atmosphere. Shot in Georgia, US, and with Billy Redden (the banjo-boy in Deliverance) in a fun cameo, it's a real beauty of a movie. Wonderful dark forests, a tense little town with more rednecks than in Skåne (a part of Sweden) and grim faces in every corner of the screen. Sopkiw plays Jake 'Tiger' Sharp (ain't that a perfect name of a hero?) and he returns to his old city after spending some time in prison. He's getting to know his daughter (who seems to be almost his own age) and also George Eastman as old friend Tom.

But of course the shit hits the fan quite fast and suddenly everyone with a rifle and with a sister and brother as parents, starts hunting Tiger... and he hits back, fast-hard-brutal! It might take a little while to unfold itself, but Blastfighter is one hell of a movie. The action fastpaced and gory and Sopkiw is THE MAN! He fights, shoots, cuts and explodes himself through the enemy. This is really good. I'm getting more and more impressed by this movie everytime I see it, and it's a shame that Sopkiw just did these four movies and Bava returned to his horror movies.

Finally Blastfighter gets a Swedish release, and as usual it’s Njuta Films who’s behind it! Blastfighter is out on DVD in Italy and Germany since before. I haven’t seen the Italian version, but I heard that one has the correct ratio. This has the same ratio (widescreen of course, 1.85:1) as the German DVD but with a superior sharp picture quality. One odd thing is that this version has the Italian dub track as the main one and the English as a bonus. Theres only Scandinavian subtitles, but that wouldn’t be a problem for non-Scandies because of the English language track.

The only bonus material worth mentioning is the awesome interview I did with Michael Sopkiw some years ago, in text of course.


Alex B. said...

I love it when Sopkiw goes berserk, he just yells and runs into the woods and starts picking people off immediately. When he leaps and knifes the guy along the way it's amazing.
Also, the final stand-off between him and Eastman - great!

Ninja Dixon said...

Yes, and it's awesome! He just goes nuts! What a bodycount the end of the movie delivers!

I also love the cameo from the Deliverance-guy with the banjo. Odd detail.

David A. Zuzelo said...

One of my all time favorite films! When Sopkiw punches that tree you know it is ON!!
Ah, the napkin-that was a great day sir.

Jack J said...

You're leaving out this is an inter-Scandinavian release, LOL. It's coming out from AWE in the rest of Scandinavia. I wonder if they're using your interview. o_O
I certainly hope so.

Ninja Dixon said...

It's a Njuta release in Sweden, so of course I support them :)

Have no idea if they used my interview, but I guess it's easy for me to check if I choose another language when the DVD starts :)

Ninja Dixon said...

It's a Njuta release in Sweden, so of course I support them :)

Have no idea if they used my interview, but I guess it's easy for me to check if I choose another language when the DVD starts :)

Mick said...

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Also I have just started my own film blog and I'm looking for an audience! The name is not very imaginative but I'm having a contest to see who can come up with a good one. If you have time you should check it out!

Thank you very much and keep on writing!


gary b. said...

The German DVD from "Eyecatcher" was actually cropped tight (hard matted) at 1.78:1 - this is really only noticeable during the overly tight opening credit titles. Does the Njuta Films DVD suffer from this, or is it truly 1.85:1 like the Italian DVD?