DVD is still here, still good, and there’s never been a better time to NOT be upgrading to the new tech. Why? Because the studios are dumping all their product out on DVD in inexpensive (comparatively) fashion and putting out all kinds of box sets totally worth your time. Exhibit A, for your perusal, I present the new Schwarzenegger
DVD set from Lionsgate
. As opposed to the last time they pooped out one of these, trying to get a few last sales of the no-frills editions of his films, this time it’s four special editions, all but one of which is well worth having. If you don’t already own the other three all I can do is tell you that the time has come to do so.
First up we’ve got a little film you may not have heard of, “Terminator 2”
. Remembering back to when the Terminator
used to be the rockingest robot on the block has never been quite so shiny. On DVD anyway. This is the loudly self-proclaimed “Extreme edition”
which has a regular, but cleaned up, DVD edition as well as a version of the film in WMV-HD
that you can watch in 1080p definition if you watch it on a PS3 or your computer. What did we need Blu-Ray for again?
Is there any point in me going over the plot here? Honestly, if you’ve seen it or not absolutely everyone who even has the tiniest chance of reading this knows exactly what the story of T2
is, and only an infinitesimal number of you haven’t actually seen it. If you want more of a synopsis than “robot from the future protects young boy destined for greatness against the other evil robot from the future”
than you’ll just have to go to Wikipedia. Also accompanying the fantastic feature, aside from lots of added scenes you’ll definitely enjoy if you’ve only seen the theatrical version, are lots of extras…
-New commentary by James Cameron
and co-writer William Wisher
: Click during times of the movie when the Cyberdyne
logo appears and you’ll get taken to assorted special features.
-Special Dolby Headphones Track: Some sort of processed sound to simulate 5.1 surround on your headphones.
-“No Feat But What We Make”
24-minute doc on how T2
changed the face of special effects. And it most certainly did. When we all first saw that liquid metal, we about jizzed in our pants. It was the bullet time
of its day.
-“T2: On the Set”
: 8 minute featurette. Montage of production.
-“DVD Rom Features”
: If you’re playing this on a computer, or as near as I can tell, a PC computer, since my Mac didn’t recognize this as doable, you can morph yourself into a terminator and play some sort of game. Do people still do these things?
Next is…well, we started with the best so let’s follow it up with the worst. This one is “Red Heat”
’s 1988 buddy cop team up with Jim Belushi
, now reduced on the DVD cover to merely “Belushi”
peering out from the back of Arnold
’s pissed off looking head.
Based on an idea by the director, Walter Hill
, the story follows a Russian detective (Arnold
, natch) and a crazy Chicago cop (whose only detectable talent is that he looks a little like his brother) who are forced to team up when a Russian drug lord escapes to the American city to carry on his business. Expect all kinds of extremely dated jokes, mediocre action, and most painfully…Belushi
. Not even the amusement generated from Arnold
’s weird exaggerated Russian hair cut can take away from how clearly it was a misguided attempt at the time to turn Belushi
into a big star.
The single disc comes with a few extras…
-“East Meets West: Red Heat and the Kings of Carolco”
: A bit of background on Arnold
and his relationship with the production company, and the making of the film.
-“Bernie Dobbins: A Stuntman for all Seasons”
: The stunt coordinator who died of a heart attack during the making of the film is given a tribute here.
-“I’m Not a Russian, But I Play One on TV”
: The villain, Ed O’Ross
, talks about playing a Russian in the movie.
-“Making Of TV Special”
: 16-minute silly thing promoting the film.
The second best thing in the set is 1990’s “Total Recall”
, one of the better Phillip K Dick
adaptations yet to make it to the screen, but only in the same sense how “Re-Animator”
is one of the best H.P. Lovecraft
movies. It’s thoroughly silly and completely an Arnold
-style action film. Even though it suffers from some extreme effects-datedness, it remains one of his most quotable and entertaining films.
plays a construction worker IN THE FUTURE
who keeps having weird dreams about the planet Mars. Against the wishes of his ridiculously hot wife (a young Sharon Stone
who is WORKING it), he goes to a company called REKALL who advertise being able to implant all the memories of a vacation with memory implants without all the cost and hassle of an actual trip AND with a fantasy aspect added. However, once the procedure begins, he freaks and starts yelling about people coming after him, which seems to indicate the fantasy programming has taken a little too well. Only, they hadn't started implanting it yet. They manage to put him under and remove his memory of even coming to REKALL for fear of a lawsuit, but when he gets back home, his wife and his co-workers start attacking him. He discovers that his entire identity on Earth is fake, based on implanted memories. Formerly, it appears, he was a secret agent on Mars, and he goes there, while narrowly dodging creeps after his skin, in order to find out who he really was and what happened to him. By the end, “Total Recall”
pre-dates “The Matrix”
as a sci-fi film that functions both as a kick-ass action movie as well a think piece about the nature of reality…how would we know if what we experience is real or not?
While it’s only a single disc edition, there’s a nice selection of special features…
-Audio commentary with Arnold
and director Paul Verhoeven
-“Imagining Total Recall”
: a 30-minute doc about the making of with lots of Arnold
-"Rekall’s Virtual Vacations”
: Three thirty second videos of nature screensavers. The only reason for this is if you like your TV to be playing peaceful looking footage on a loop during a yoga party or something.
-“Visions of Mars”
: Five minutes about the actual planet (as opposed to the one IN THE FUTURE
: For three scenes. Another one of those features that generally is there only to make the disc seem more packed with goodies but that you’ll likely skip altogether.
-“Conceptual Art Gallery”
: A small collection of art that led the film’s design.
: A few behind-the-scenes production shots.
“The Running Man”
is loosely adapted from a Richard Bachman
(aka Stephen King
for those three of you out there who didn’t know) novel. While both the book and the 1987 movie deal with a game show based on murder and the poverty and oppression IN THE
, the film takes it to a rather gaudy, even tacky level. But, this is a Schwarzenegger
movie, not a documentary about Lenin
, and within that framework, it’s wicked fun.
The USA in 2019 is frelled up. IN THE FUTURE
a police state is in control and has suppressed art and culture to an outrageous extent. To keep the sheep happy (that’s you folk who watch nothing but reality shows, btw) they sponsor game shows where criminals compete to live. The big daddy of them all is the titular one, hosted by (who else?) Richard Dawson
, nicely parodying his own career as long time host of “Family Feud”
plays Ben Richards
, a military man framed for a crime against humanity he was actually disobeying orders against committing. After an aborted escape attempt, he’s put into the show where he has to fight more lethal versions of the American Gladiators
in order to survive.
This one is a two-disker featuring…
-Commentary with Director Paul Michael Glaser
and Producer Tim Zinnemann
-Commentary with Executive Producer Rob Cohen
-“Lockdown on Main Street”
: A surprising 24 minute documentary on the history of America spying on and illegally imprisoning its own citizens focusing especially on the post-911 society and everything we’ve lost because of politicians who whip us into a paranoid frenzy so they can get whatever they want through Congress. Nice.
-“The Game Theory”
: A 20-minute piece on Reality TV and how it’s had a detrimental effect on society. Damn, I love these features. It’s how I would put together bonus features, but then again, I’m a shameless liberal.
-“Meet the Stalkers”
: Click on each one of the baddies from the film to see useless extra info about them.
All in all, this isn’t a bad little set. You can pick all these up for about 24 bucks which is a must buy if you’re missing at least two of them. As surely as John Wayne
was the masculine icon for my Dad’s generation, Arnold
was the ridiculously over-pumped one for mine. These are all silly, yet even the worst of them (Red Heat
, in case I didn’t make that clear enough before) is worth a watch if you enjoy this sort of action.
By the way, sorry about the IN THE FUTURE
thing. I keep hearing that loud, echoing announcer voice every time I type IN THE FUTURE
. See? I didn’t even mean to do that. I can’t help myself. Must be the silliness inherent in any Arnold
film that takes place…well…you know. I’ll try to exert more self-control over my finger emoting IN THE FUTURE
Click Here to Buy Schwarzenegger Collection (4pc)