James Cole Clay has been working as a film critic for the better part of a decade covering new releases, blu ray reviews and the occasional drive-in cult classic. His writing is dedicated to discovering social politics through diverse voices, primarily focusing on Women In Film and LGBTQ cinema.
James Clay// Film Critic
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is available now and Hard Target will be released December 7 at kinolorber.com
INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS
Rated PG, 115 minutes.
Director: Phillip Kaufman
Cast: Brooke Adams, Donald Sutherland, Leonard Nimoy, Jeff Goldblum
Kino Lorber has been cleverly releasing 4K discs this year for acclaimed studio titles that achieved critical success and were huge crowd-pleasers. Their releases of THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY, MISERY, THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS started the boutique retailer off with a great start getting fans primed and ready to open their wallets and start collecting.
Their latest is Phillip Kaufman’s INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS from 1978 starring Brooke Adams, Donald Sutherland, Jeff Goldblum and an incredible performance by Leonard Nimoy. Not only is this the best version of INVASION, the cast is giving it their all to have a complete vision of terror for the other and terror for ourselves. The film is brilliant and its a must see and in my estimation a blind buy because the quality just oozes from these Kino Lorber releases. Get them quick before they sell out (and they will), or before they run out of slipcovered editions.
RENT/BUY: The transfer on INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS looks incredible giving a sharp tint to all the color palates while retaining the film grain that made the film so incredibly tactile. This is by far the definitive version of this picture and is a must own for ANY blu ray or 4K collector. This thing is loaded with special features including a retro commentary with Phillip Kaufman, a commentary with film historians and a laundry list of behind the scenes looks and insights into the production of the film. There’s so much it’s overwhelming, but the 4K sets the mood and gives more than any film fan could dream, but don’t fall asleep you’ll turn into a pod person.
Rated UR, 105 minutes.
Director: John Woo
Cast: Jean Claude Van Damme, Lance Henriksen, Yancy Butler, Wilfred Brimley, Arnold Vosloo
John Woo’s first Hollywood film HARD TARGET hits a specific 90s action tough guy tone that’s nestled right in the middle of larger than life and direct to video schlock, and somehow the movie is perfect. If you would have told me HARD TARGET getting a 4K release from Kino Lorber would need to be on my 2021 physical media bingo card I guess I would have been shocked, but this release is damn near perfect.
Kino Lorber has restored the film from the Unrated International Cut from a 4K scan of the original camera negative which overflows with color on screen. This is the treatment that if budgeting permits more films should get, but not every film has a respected director like John Woo behind the camera. This release is loaded with interviews from Woo, actor Lance Henriksen, Yancy Butler and stunt coordinator Billy Burton. This is an action lover’s dream and the stories the cast and crew tell about working on the set show how grueling it was bring Woo’s vision of New Orleans to life.
Almost buried the lead that HARD TARGET stars Jean Claude Van Damme at the height of his powers as an action star playing Chance Boudreux a cajun seaman who is out of work and saves a woman (Yancy Butler) from a group of local thugs who wind up being small potatoes compared the film’s actual big bad (played by Lance Henriksen). Alongside his muscly henchman (Arnold Vosloo) and a gang of evil mercenaries, the group are making noise hunting lower class human beings for sport, for no other reason than its fun and they’re bored. When this group offs the wrong man it becomes personal for Boudreaux. He must take vengeance with the help of Wilfred Brimley who totes around his bow and quiver.
The film itself is a ton of fun and supremely entertaining from an action standpoint. Woo hits the perfect tone with not taking the more earnest and emotional elements seriously, while always keeping a straight face. From scene to scene Woo puts in little moments that make the film worthwhile from the way Henriksen drops shells into his gun, to an ear lobe getting cut off, and the most famous moment when JCVD punches a snake. HARD TARGET rules.
RENT/BUY: Buy this immediately don’t ask any questions.