Jackie Chan Actioner ‘Vanguard’ Arriving on Digital March 2, Disc March 9

The Jackie Chan actioner Vanguard arrives on digital March 2 and on DVD and Blu-ray (plus digital) March 9 from Lionsgate.

The film, released in the United States Nov. 25 in 1,000-plus theaters, stars Jackie Chan (Rush HourThe ForeignerPolice Story), Yang Yang (Once Upon a Time, TV’s “The King’s Avatar,” “The Whirlwind Girl”) and Miya Muqi (Tomb RobberKung Fu Yoga, The Pluto Moment).

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In the film, Jackie Chan plays Tang, CEO of the covert security company Vanguard. After wealthy businessman Qin rats out his corrupt partner in an arms deal gone fatally wrong, he and his family become targets of the world’s deadliest mercenary organization — and the fighting power of Tang’s team is their only hope to survive.

Extras include a making-of featurette.

Fatman

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 1/26/21;
Paramount;
Action;
Box Office $0.28 million;
$19.99 DVD, $22.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, and language.
Stars Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Chance Hurstfield, Robert Bockstael, Eric Woolfe, Susanne Sutchy, Deborah Grover.

The idea at the center of Fatman hints at a fun deconstruction of a Christmas movie — a kid upset with his gift hires a hitman to kill Santa Claus. However, the premise turns out to be more intriguing than the execution.

Mel Gibson stars as Chris Cringle, who is presented as the gruff, put-upon chairman of the Christmas workshop whose business is declining every year due to children becoming less enthralled by the magic of the holidays. The workshop gets paid by the U.S. government based on the number of presents delivered, but as Cringle explains, more and more children are being naughty every year, and per the rules of his existence are eligible to receive only coal.

One such child is a spoiled rich kid named Billy (Chance Hurstfield) who tortures his classmates into dropping out of the school science fair so he can win. He is so incensed by receiving a lump of coal that he steals $25,000 from his grandmother to send an assassin played by Walton Goggins to kill Cringle.

In a twist, the killer has his own beef with Santa over crappy childhood Christmases, and has been amassing a collection of toys that seem to have come from the workshop.

Meanwhile, to make ends meet, Cringle takes on another contract with the U.S. government, this time outsourcing the workshop’s elves to make military hardware.

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A modernist take on Santa that is somewhere between Elf and Die Hard by way of No Country for Old Men, the film offers some clever takes on the Santa myth, such as when Cringle returns from his Christmas deliveries and reveals a gunshot wound he has to patch up, the result of an increasingly violent society mistaking his sleigh as hostile. Gibson is certainly a non-traditional Santa, eschewing the jolly red suit for antacid tablets and shots of whiskey to get by in the harsh winters, and using his knowledge of the naughty list to shame men into not cheating on their wives.

The film’s absurdist quality makes it passable as a curio, though its leisurely pacing and sparse action make it seem to drag on a lot longer than its 99 minutes.

Among the Blu-ray extras is a nice commentary track with Mel Gibson, directors Eshom and Ian Nelms, producer Michelle Land, and cinematographer Johnny Derango, that gives a good idea of the flavor the filmmakers were after.

Also included are two storyboard-to-film comparisons of key scenes, running a total of 10 minutes.

Finally, the Blu-ray offers six deleted scenes running nine minutes total with optional commentary by the filmmakers.

Actioner ‘El Coyote’ Due on DVD and Digital Feb. 25 From Random Media

The action-comedy El Coyote will come out on DVD and digital Feb. 25 from Random Media.

The film made $1.3 million at the box office and was screened in 400 theaters across 50 cities in October.

Starring Michael Saquella (Dream Round), Robert Costanzo (Die Hard 2), John Capodice (Speed) and Tom Sizemore (Black Hawk Down), the film follows a father, Stone Spencer (Saquella), who is living in Arizona in the witness protection program for helping the United States government. Stone is a self-made man — and hit man — for the mafia and an undercover killer for the CIA, who has to negotiate a deal with the Mexican cartel because they have captured his son Jax, a federal ice agent. After doing what the cartel requests of him, they renege, and all hell breaks loose. With too many cartel members to handle, he makes a call to New York and a dozen or so Italian mobsters fly from New York to Arizona to take care of business with the cartel.

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El Coyote is a classic showdown between two high profile gangs, the Italian mafia and Mexican cartel,” stated Michael Saquella. “When was the last time you saw, or heard, about the mafia taking on the cartel?”

‘Rambo: Last Blood’ Shooting to Home Video in December

Lionsgate will release Rambo: Last Blood through digital retailers Dec. 3, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Dec. 17.

The fifth film in the “Rambo” franchise finds Sylvester Stallone back as one of the greatest action heroes of all time, John Rambo, who must confront his past and unearth his ruthless combat skills to exact revenge in a final mission. The cast includes Paz Vega, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Adrianna Barraza, Yvette Monreal, Joaquin Cosio and Oscar Jaenada.

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The film earned $44.5 million at the domestic box office.

Extras include the featurettes “Drawing Last Blood: Multipart Production Diary” and “From First Note to Last Blood: Music for the Massacres,” plus the theatrical trailer.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray will include Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Actioner ‘Universal Soldier’ Shooting to 4K Nov. 5 From Lionsgate

The 1992 actioner Universal Soldier will come out on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital) and digital 4K Nov. 5 from Lionsgate.

Directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, upcoming World War II epic Midway), Universal Soldier stars Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren, alongside Ally Walker and Ed O’Ross. The film follows soldiers Luc Deveraux (Van Damme) and Sgt. Andrew Scott (Lundgren), who killed each other in Vietnam. But their demise proves to be just the beginning for the U.S. government, which brings both men back to life decades later for a secret anti-terrorism program.

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Special features include:

  • audio commentary by Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Van Damme and Lundgren
  • audio commentary by Emmerich and Devlin
  • the “A Tale of Two Titans” Featurette
  • the “Guns, Genes, and Fighting Machines” Featurette
  • an alternate Ending
  • the “Behind the Scenes” Featurette and
  • a trailer.

‘Bumblebee’ Screenwriter Relished Chance to Put a Woman in the Driver’s Seat

A girl and her car are at the center of the “Transformers” reboot Bumblebee, available now on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and digital from Paramount Home Media Entertainment.

And that’s just as screenwriter Christina Hodson intended.

“As soon as I got the call about working within the ‘Transformers’ franchise I knew I wanted to tell a female-driven story,” she said in an interview with Media Play News on the Paramount lot.

It’s something that blockbuster action franchises rarely feature.

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“Honestly, it’s more about the big picture for me; it’s just about seeing girls in these kinds of roles,” she said. “I think we haven’t seen it often enough. We see so many movies where we just take for granted that it’s the boy or the man that’s at the lead going on the adventure.…  It’s wonderful to just introduce into the world a new spin on that, to see a woman — forgive me — at the steering wheel.”

She based the character of Charlie on her two nieces. One is neither a “girly-girl” nor a “tomboy,” but “something in between” like Charlie, she said. Another has a special relationship with her dad that inspired Charlie’s.

Hodson said she wants more women to get into screenwriting to provide more balance.

“The numbers are crazy, and we’ve got to work on fixing them, and the one thing that I can say — knowing a lot of the female screenwriters of my generation — is we are bringing more women up with us,” she said. “That’s very much our goal.”

To talk about Bumblebee, editor-in-chief Stephanie Prange visited the Paramount lot to learn about the sound effects and more:

She also talked to screenwriter Hodson about the need for more girl power in the movies. Here is the full interview:

Actioner ‘Miss Bala’ Coming to Digital April 16, Disc April 30 From Sony

The action adventure Miss Bala will shoot to digital April 16 and Blu-ray and DVD April 30 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film earned $15 million in theaters.

Gina Rodriguez (Annihilation,“Jane the Virgin”) plays a young woman caught in the perilous world of a brutal cross-border cartel who finds powers she never knew as she seeks to rescue her friend. Ismael Cruz-Córdova (Mary Queen of Scots) stars alongside Rodriguez as the cartel kingpin, whose growing attraction to his strong-willed female hostage raises the stakes for both as the CIA, DEA and rival cartels close in. The film is directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight).

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More than an hour of bonus material includes eight deleted and extended scenes, wardrobe and rehearsal footage with insights by Hardwicke, and three behind-the-scenes featurettes. In “Gina: The Unstoppable Strength of a Woman,” Rodriguez explains the importance of portraying a strong Latina woman on the big screen. The cast and stunt team explain how they created the action scenes in “The Bigger the Bang: Action on Set.” “The Making of Miss Bala” explains how the story was brought to life from script to screen with a 95 percent Latinx cast and crew. A feature audio commentary includes Hardwicke, executive producer Jamie Marshall, and associate producer Shayda Frost.

‘Aquaman’ Swimming to Home Video in March

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the DC Comics adaptation Aquaman through digital retailers March 5, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 26.

The sixth installment in the interconnected series of films based on DC Comics, Aquaman picks up with the title character’s adventures after his appearance in 2017’s Justice League. While Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is content on using his abilities to help people, he is summoned to Atlantis by Mera (Amber Heard), who urges him to assert his birthright as the true king of the undersea kingdom to prevent his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) from waging a war against the surface world. To do this he must set off on a quest across the realms of the seven seas to recover the ancient artifact that will allow him to unite the oceans and fulfill his destiny as Aquaman.

The cast also includes Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison and Ludi Lin.

Directed by James Wan, the film has earned $325 million at the domestic box office, and $1.1 billion worldwide.

All versions of Aquaman will include a three-minute preview of Shazam, the upcoming live-action adaptation starring Zachary Levi as the DC superhero, due in theaters April 5.

The Blu-ray and DVD editions of Aquaman will also include scene study breakdowns and several featurettes: “Going Deep Into the World of Aquaman,” “Becoming Aquaman,” “James Wan: World Builder,” “Aqua Tech,” “Atlantis Warfare,” “The Dark Depths of Black Manta,” “Heroines of Atlantis,” “Villainous Training,” “Kingdoms of the Seven Seas,” “Creating Undersea Creatures” and “A Match Made in Atlantis.”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Aquaman will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

‘Hardbodies,’ ‘Krull,’ ‘Last Action Hero’ Among VHS-Era Classics Due on Blu-ray From Mill Creek in January

Recalling the VHS rental era when the video store reigned, Mill Creek Entertainment in January will release on Blu-ray Disc six of the time periods’ classics, featuring such stars as John Candy, Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Sporting retro art mimicking the VHS release, the Blu-ray collection includes Happy Birthday to Me, Silent Rage, Last Action Hero, Hardbodies, Who’s Harry Crumb? and Krull.

The mystery-shocker Happy Birthday to Me (1981) follows popular high school senior Virginia Wainwright (Melissa Sue Anderson), who survives a freak accident, but suffers from memory loss and traumatic blackouts. As she attempts to resume a normal life, something terrible is happening — her friends are ruthlessly murdered one-by-one. Will she be the next victim or is she the killer? The terrifying truth is finally uncovered at Virginia’s 18th birthday party.

The release is restored with the original soundtrack.

Chuck Norris, six-time World Karate Champion, stars in Silent Rage (1982), his first suspense film, as the tough, street-fighting sheriff of a small Texas town terrorized by a psychotic killer. He is faced with the dilemma of stopping the invincible murderer, made virtually indestructible through genetic engineering. A young group of researchers are responsible for developing the serum, and the head of the research institute is determined to continue the genetic experiments regardless of the consequences. Norris’s sheriff singlehandedly routs a dozen brutal bikers from a truck stop hangout, while rekindling an old romance with Alison Halman (Toni Kalem), a researcher at the institute.

In Last Action Hero (1993), young movie fan Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien) knows the first three Jack Slater movies by heart, and the fourth one is just about to be released. With the aid of a magical ticket, while watching the opening action sequence during an advance screening, Danny is transported into the movie. On the other side of the silver screen, Danny becomes the sidekick of Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the toughest cop on the police force. Complications arise when one of the bad guys takes Danny’s magic ticket and escapes out of the movie into the real world. Danny and his hero must chase the arch villain in the real world, a world where evil guys can actually win.

The film, which includes the song “Big Gun” written for the film by AC/DC, features a number of cameo appearances by stars inlcuding Chevy Chase, Jim Belushi, Sharon Stone, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Damon Wayans.

In the classic teen comedy Hardbodies (1984), three middle-aged geezers move into a swinging beach house and hire a young stud to teach them how to score with the local beauties. The ‘80s band Vixen and hundreds of Southern California swimsuit models co-star in the cult comedy originally made for broadcast on the Playboy Channel but picked up for theatrical release by Columbia. Stars include Grant Cramer, Teal Roberts, Courtney Gains, Kane Hodder and Gary Wood.

The sci-fi fantasy Krull (1983) explores a mystical time and place that belongs to neither the past nor the present, where extraordinary creatures of myth work their incredible magic, and where a horrific, omnipotent Beast is the ruler. Prince Colwyn sets out on a daring mission to rescue his young bride who is held captive by the Beast, but slayers and alien beings under the command of the Beast oppose him at every turn. Colwyn must first reach a faraway cavern to recover the legendary Glaive, a flying blade capable of phenomenal powers.

Directed by Oscar nominee Peter Yates, the film stars Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony, Liam Neeson and Francesca Annis.

In Who’s Harry Crumb? (1989), John Candy stars as the bumbling private eye Crumb. When Harry, the last of the great sleuthing Crumbs, finally gets a shot at a frontpage kidnapping, it’s only because his boss Eliot Draisen (Jeffrey Jones) doesn’t want the case solved. At stake is the gorgeous daughter of multi-millionaire P.J. Downing, a $10 million ransom, and Draisen’s mistress (Annie Potts). Attired in a bizarre array of goofball disguises, from a Hungarian hairdresser to a hefty housewife, Harry is determined to crack the case.

‘The Predator’ Stalking to Digital Nov. 27, Disc Dec. 18

The Predator will stalk to digital (including Movies Anywhere) Nov. 27 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 18 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film made $50.9 million at the box office.

The studio will also release a special-edition “Predator” four-movie collection, which includes Predator, Predator 2, Predators and The Predator on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Dec. 18. It includes four collector cards of the original film poster re-issue with some of the franchises most iconic quotes on the back.

The hunt has evolved in the next chapter of the “Predator” series, from director Shane Black (Iron Man 3). The most lethal hunters in the universe are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever, and only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biology professor can prevent the end of the human race.

Extras on The Predator releases include deleted scenes, “A Touch of Black,” “Predator Evolution,” “The Takedown Team,” “Predator Catch-Up” and a photo gallery.