Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Shout Factory Select - RED DAWN and COLORS on Blu-ray ""

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Shout Factory Select - RED DAWN and COLORS on Blu-ray

RED DAWN (1984; John Milius)
To say that this movie was a huge deal to me when I was a kid would be an understatement. After the first time I saw it, my best friend and I spent the better part of the rest of the afternoon and evening sneaking around his neighborhood, hiding in bushes and shout "Wolverines!" randomly. It affected me as much as STAR WARS had honestly and it has stayed with me since that initial viewing and the many many subsequent viewings that followed. The story and the characters - particular as played by this remarkable 80s ensemble - just resonated with me when I was a kid. The idea of a group of kids having to retreat into the mountains to get away from an invading force of Russian soldiers seemed a little far fetched, but not totally out of the realm of possibility to me at the age that I first saw the movie. The Cold War was not yet over and so things like this were a little scary, but I'm sure that helped the movie stay in my head. There was also something about the violence and the chaos, especially of the opening attack on the kids' high school that set a tone that probably disturbed me a little bit, but made everything feel more "real". Several students and teachers are gunned down with automatic weapons at the outset and that certainly makes the kids having to disappear feel warranted. It's interesting now to look back at this movie and see how much director John Milius' politics are a great deal more apparent to me.  I won't comment further, but rather allow you to judge for yourself. Regardless, that doesn't detract from my enjoyment of this dark, but powerful Cold War "what if?" scenario that Milius has helped create. 
What grabs me now is how remarkable the cast is. At the time, I likely knew Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and maybe C. Thomas Howell. I think I saw this before BACK TO THE FUTURE and FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY off, so it may have been my introduction to Lea Thompson and Jennifer Grey. I would have possibly recognized Harry Dean Stanton, but wouldn't have thought of him as one of the greatest actors ever as I do now. And Powers Boothe was unknown to me as I had yet to delve into the Walter Hill movie universe back then. Ben Johnson and William Smith are part of the ensemble as well - as is a much less SUPER FLY looking Rob O'Neal. It's a truly ridiculous group of talented folks which only serves to elevate this tale of the ugliness of war and a the loss of innocence. RED DAWN is an 80s classic in my mind and a film that I recommend to anyone looking for an adventure film with a dark side that will help it stay with you. 

Disc Features:
-NEW "A Look Back At Red Dawn" – A 70 Minute Feature Including Brand-New Stories From Co-Star Doug Toby, Casting Director Jane Jenkins, Production Designer Jackson DeGovia And Editor Thom Noble
-Archival Featurette: "Red Dawn Rising"
-Archival Featurette: "Training For WWIII"
-Archival Featurette: "Building The Red Menace"
-Archival Featurette: "WWIII Comes To Town"
-Original Theatrical Trailer

Buy RED DAWN on Blu-ray Here:
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COLORS (1988; Dennis Hopper)
In high school, I had little to no taste in music beyond my parents record collection so I had no real exposure rap music at all. I was starting to get into movies though and even the R-rated ones that I couldn't see in the theater still had their soundtracks show up at the music stores in my local mall. It was around this time that I got my first Walkman cassette player and was always looking for stuff to listen to with it. Not knowing a ton about bands, I gravitated towards soundtrack albums as fun, curated collections of songs that typically went pretty well together. For some reason the COLORS soundtrack caught my eye and I picked it up. It became one of my favorite things in the world for several months after that. It kind of blew my mind when I first heard it. The mix of various artists as well as the dark poetry of all the lyrics combined with the beats and music together made this incredibly engaging sonic and emotional tapestry that I was transfixed by. There was an anger to the title song (sung by Ice-T) that I hadn't heard in music before and it both intimidated and intrigued me. He spoke of a life and everyday difficulties that I couldn't relate to at all, but that opened up my mind to the idea of the trials of inner city life. It made me want to see the movie. When I finally did see it, I was in the unique position of having memorized pretty much every song and so it was maybe even a little bit distracting but didn't make the movie any less affecting. Watching it now, the film is far less revelatory than it was to me then as I had never really seen any portrayals of Los Angeles gang culture before. COLORS preceded BOYZ N THE HOOD and MENACE II SOCIETY by several years and both those movies would be even more powerful (as they are not told from the point of view of the police) after COLORS set the stage for me. My idea of gangs before this was colored by villainous, dehumanized examples like the punks in DEATH WISH III. No real background is established for those gang members and we are obviously not many to sympathize with them. COLORS desired to paint a slightly more even handed portrait of life in the inner city and for that I must give the film some credit. I'm guessing that any progressiveness the film might demonstrate comes in part from director Dennis Hopper and his sensibilities. It was a sad movie for me, but as I said, it gave me pause and me think. It also gave me this impression of Los Angeles as one of the most dangerous places to live in the country. Little did I know that I would Movie there just over a decade later and begin to see the city itself in a completely different light. Still, COLORS is an interesting snapshot of a city and a culture at a time of daily turmoil which hasn't gone away. The issue of police treatment of minorities is obviously still a huge issue and one that we can't help but think about constantly. 

Disc Features:
-The Unrated Cut Of The Film, Including Footage Restored From The International Cut And The Original Home Video Cut
-"A Cry Of Alarm" – An Interview With Screenwriter Michael Schiffer
-"Cops And Robbers" – An Interview With Technical Advisor/Ex-L.A.P.D. Gang Division Dennis Fanning
Buy COLORS on Blu-ray Here:
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