Batman: Soul of the Dragon

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 1/26/21;
Warner;
Animated;
$29.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD;
Rated ‘R’ for some violence.
Voices of David Giuntoli, Mark Dacascos, Kelly Hu, Michael Jai White, James Hong, Josh Keaton.

The latest DC Comics animated movie offers a rollicking throwback to the action movies of the 1970s, with a touch of James Bond for good measure, and a supernatural storyline that harkens back to Bruce Wayne’s training before he became Batman.

While it’s billed as a Batman movie, Soul of the Dragon puts less of a focus on the Dark Knight and puts him among an ensemble of DC action stars, primarily Richard Dragon (voiced by Mark Dacascos), a secret agent who seems to have been deliberately drawn to resemble Bruce Lee.

Dragon uncovers a plot by a cult called Kobra to open a portal to a demon dimension. To do so, they have acquired a mysterious doorway once possessed by Dragon’s old mentor, O Sensei (James Hong), who sacrificed himself years earlier to keep it sealed.

To aid him in stopping Kobra, Dragon recruits other students he trained with, including Bruce Wayne (David Gluntoli), Shiva (Kelly Hu) and Bronze Tiger (Michael Jai White, who previously played a live-action version of the character on “Arrow.”)

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The movie weaves in some of the more bizarre characters from DC Comics and serves as a nice reminder of how wacky Batman comics from the 1970s could get. The core cast brings some nice chemistry to the proceedings and their mission results in some entertaining, if bloody, cartoon violence that should leave comic book movie fans satisfied.

The only real drawback might be an animation style that seems a bit stilted and modern for the subject matter.

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The Blu-ray includes a great half-hour featurette called “Batman: Raw Groove” — a retrospective about the pop culture of the 1970s that inspired Soul of the Dragon, particularly kung fu and blacksploitation movies.

The making of the film is covered more in the 18-minute “Producer Jim Krieg’s Far-Out Highlights,” which offers several filmmaker interviews, with special emphasis on Krieg, who is known for appearing in costumes appropriate to the movie he is promoting.

Rounding out the Blu-ray package are a pair of “Batman: The Animated Series” episodes — “Day of the Samurai” and “Night of the Ninja” — plus several previews for other DC Universe animated movies, including an eight-minute preview of the upcoming Justice Society: World War II.

In the 4K combo pack, all the extras are on the standard Blu-ray Disc. The 4K disc contains just the movie and its spectacular color palette.

‘Big Trouble in Little China’ Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Coming Dec. 3 From Scream Factory

Indie home entertainment distributor Shout! Factory’s horror imprint, Scream Factory, is bringing director John Carpenter’s 1986 cult classic Big Trouble in Little China back to Blu-ray in a big way Dec. 3 with a new collector’s edition and a number of packaging options for fans.

Kurt Russell stars as tough-talking truck driver Jack Burton, who gets pulled into a supernatural adventure to rescue his best friend’s fiancée from a dangerous, magical world beneath San Francisco’s Chinatown. The cast also includes Kim Cattrall, James Hong and Dennis Dun.

Scream Factory’s two-disc Blu-ray set includes a trove of new bonus material.

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The first disc will include the film with a new audio commentary by producer Larry Franco, a new commentary by special effects artist Steve Johnson moderated by filmmaker Anthony C. Ferrante, and the legacy commentary with Carpenter and Russell from previous home video releases. An isolated score track also will be available. The disc also includes previously released material such as deleted and extended scenes, an extended ending, a vintage audio interview with John Carpenter, electronic press kit interviews and profiles, theatrical trailers, TV spots, a gag reel, a music video and photo galleries.

The second disc will include a vintage featurette and an interview with visual effects artist Richard Edlund from previous disc releases; interviews with Carpenter, Russell, Franco, director of photography Dean Cundey and stuntman Jeff Imada; and hours of new interviews, including actors Dun, Hong, Donald Li, Carter Wong, Peter Kwong and Al Leong, writers W.D. Richter and Gary Goldman, associate producer/martial arts choreographer James Lew, The Coupe De Ville’s member Nick Castle, second unit director/The Coupe De Ville’s member Tommy Lee Wallace, and movie poster artist Drew Struzan.

The Shout! Factory store at ShoutFactory.com is offering fans five different special offers for preorders of the title.

One is the collector’s edition Blu-ray with an exclusive 18-inch x 24-inch rolled poster of the new cover art by Laz Marquez.

‘Big Trouble in Little China’ Steelbook

The second is the collector’s edition in limited-edition Steelbook packaging.

The third is the Steelbook with an exclusive 28.5-inch x 16.5-inch rolled lithograph of the new Steelbook artwork by Nat Marsh, and a 7-inch green vinyl record by Sacred Bones, featuring music composed by John Carpenter and recorded by him, Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies, with a slipcase with new art by frequent Carpenter collaborator Chris Bilheimer. Limited to 2,500 copies, the A-side includes the 2017 version of the main theme, “Porkchop Express (Big Trouble in Little China),” and the B-side contains a never-before-released recording of “The Alley War,” recorded in 2019.

The fourth bundle includes the Blu-ray with slipcover, rolled poster and green vinyl album.

The fifth option includes both the standard and Steelbook Blu-rays of the collector’s edition, the artwork posters for both editions, and the limited-edition record.

Preorders of the collector’s edition or Steelbook bundled with a purple vinyl variant of the 7-inch record are available from Sacredbonesrecords.com.

Universal Releasing ‘Grand-Daddy Day Care’ on Disc and Digital Feb. 5

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release Grand-Daddy Day Care on DVD, digital and on demand Feb. 5.

The film is a spiritual follow-up to 2003’s Daddy Day Care and its sequel, 2007’s Daddy Day Camp, but with new characters.

Reno Wilson stars as Frank Collins, who decides to start a day care for his father-in-law (Danny Trejo) and other seniors as a way to make quick cash while he’s writing a book. With a code enforcement officer challenging the legality of his business, and his senior charges getting into all kinds of trouble, Frank’s work days become anything but effortless.

The cast also includes Anthony Gonzalez, Barry Bostwick, Linda Gray, Julia Duffy, Alec Mapa, Garrett Morris, Margaret Avery, Roxana Ortega, Hal Linden, James Hong and George Wendt.