Le Scorpion Rouge - Joseph Zito (1988) Un Rambo blond en Afrique
Posté 13 juin 2012 - 14:47
Test complet et captures
Posté 16 juin 2012 - 10:49
The audio commentary with Zito features myself so there's obviously no way of reviewing that one, but hopefully it will prove enjoyable as it covers the origins of the production, how it had to change shooting locations at a late date, the perils of working with live scorpions, and what Zito thinks of that period of his career turning out high-profile guy movies. Of course, this wouldn't be complete without some Lundgren, and the star appears for his own video featurette, "Hath No Fury: Dolph Lundgren and the Road to Red Scorpion," in which he talks about getting cast as a Russian (for the second time after Rocky IV), how he got his start in acting, and the path his career was taking at the time. Easily one of the most appealing action stars of his generation, he's still fun to watch as he covers one of his key titles. Incidentally, while the Synapse version may be the definitive Blu-Ray on the market, two earlier ones are also available. A German one amusingly released as part of "The Expendables Selection" is fine but definitely on the modest side, while the UK one from Arrow features a more worn-looking but good HD transfer and its own separate slate of extras including a different audio commentary with Zito and Howard Berger (the director of Original Sins, not the effects guy), which spends much more time on the political end of things. Lundgren also has a half-hour "All Out of Bullets" featurette, which covers some of the same ground but with a few variations of its own, while Chattaway has a 12-minute interview about his collaborations with Zito.
Anyway, back to the Synapse extras. Next up is the juiciest one and the big shocker of the set, "Assignment: Africa," in which Abramoff (who got out of prison in 2010 and penned a book about his experiences) delivers a thorough rundown of how he became involved in the film, the ways it slotted in with his other activities outside of filmmaking at the time, his memories of working with his star and director, and how he saw its political agenda aligning with his own. Amazing stuff. Finally FX maestro Tom Savini appears for "Scorpion Tales;" you won't really be able to spot his work until fairly late in the film (and many of his concepts never even made it before the camera), but he has plenty to say about going to Africa and generating some brief but memorable bits of bodily mayhem including a particularly grisly bit of business during the climax. Some behind-the-scenes camcorder footage from the set comes afterwards as well, including a few fun shots for those familiar with the movie. Finally you get a gallery of stills and artwork from the theatrical and video releases, a trailer, TV spots, a reversible cover (the back one reflecting the US poster art), and liner notes by Lundgren expert Jérémie Damoiseau, who covers everything from pre-production to the problematic theatrical release in a succinct but excellent history well worth reading before watching the actual film. If you're a Dolph fan, this release will be very tough to beat for a long time.
Posté 16 juin 2012 - 21:30
L'équipe du SCORPION ROUGE n'était d'ailleurs pas mancho: John Evans le superviseur des effets spéciaux et pyrotechniques était sur FULL METAL JACKET, BATMAN de Burton et bien d'autres, Newt Arnold, le 1er assistant réal et réal de 2nde équipe, a bossé avec Peckinpah, Coppola sur LE PARRAIN II, Scott sur BLADE RUNNER, Friedkin et beaucoup d'autres grands etc ect... Ce qu'il y a de plus drôle cependant c'est que le chef op a débuté sur des classiques du porno avec Gerard Damiano sur DEEP THROAT ou DEVIL IN MISS JONES...
Red Scorpion is about as middle of the road as an action flick can get. It neither excels nor fails spectacularly. It can be a fun popcorn munching, throwback to the ’80s action film and I enjoyed seeing it again for the first time in years. If you’re a fan of old school action films, or you’re partial to watching Dolph Lundgren playing Russians, then give Red Scorpion a run. However if you fall into neither of those two camps, then you might want to avoid this venomous bug altogether or perhaps give it a rent.
Posté 17 juin 2012 - 23:55
(click for high-res capture)
As you'd probably expect from a shiny, new Blu-ray disc with Synapse's logo stamped on the cover, Red Scorpion looks pretty much perfect. The filmic texture of the original photography has correctly been left intact, not smeared away by overzealous digital noise reduction. The bitrate's high enough to handle that sheen of grain without any hiccups, and there's not a trace of wear, speckling, or damage anywhere throughout the movie's hour-forty-five runtime either. Red Scorpion's palette isn't dazzlingly colorful but comes through pretty well, and I get the sense that I'm seeing every last bit of definition and detail that can possibly be resolved. Sure, the film stock has that yeah-this-was-shot-in-1987 look to it, and the photography struggles under lower light, but Red Scorpion is still one of the better looking late-'80s action flicks I've come across on Blu-ray. No complaints on this side at all.
The AVC encode for Red Scorpion spans both layers of this BD-50 disc. The presentation is presented without any matting, so you score a few extra scanlines' worth of the original photography.
This Blu-ray disc piles on two 24-bit lossless soundtracks: one in Red Scorpion's original stereo and the the other newly-remixed to 5.1. When I say that Red Scorpion doesn't sound like a remix at all, I absolutely mean that as a compliment. The aggressive use of the surrounds throughout the action sequences coupled with the sheer number of smooth pans from channel to channel...I mean, it all sounds so organic and so natural that if I didn't know better, I'd probably have assumed this is how Red Scorpion was always mixed. The elements used for this remix are in terrific shape, sounding at least a few years more recent than they actually are. The low-end really rattles the room while reinforcing all those megaton explosions and throaty engines. Every once in a while, I'd feel like there's too much bass -- as if such a thing were even possible -- and dialogue sometimes slinks a little further into the background than I would've preferred. The balance is generally spot-on, though. There's one point after a high-speed chase where the actors' breathing and slivers of dialogue bleed into the surrounds, and that's a little distracting. This is probably veering head-on into irrational nitpicking, but I was kind of surprised that the shotgun blasts that kick off the final siege sound so meek compared to the other havoc being wrought. Whatever, though. This is a really, really great remix, and I think even the most die-hard purists will be impressed by how well-done it is.
Red Scorpion also sports a set of optional English subtitles, captioned for the deaf and hard of hearing. Oh, and the disc's commentary is also a 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio track, so that's kind of amazing too.
The impressively hefty list of extras keeps going from there too.
Hath No Fury: Dolph Lundgren and the Road to Red Scorpion (25 min.; HD): Best thing about this Blu-ray disc...? This half-hour-ish conversation with Dolph Lundgren, hands down. The superhumanly charming, endlessly awesome Lundgren kicks things off by talking about how he landed into acting: dating Grace Jones and scoring a bit part in a James Bond flick. I mean, if the interview ended there, that'd already make it one of the best conversations ever, and yet the already-established awesome-ness just gets ratcheted up with really in-depth discussions about Rocky IV and Masters of the Universe. Red Scorpion is naturally the dominant topic on the bill: weapons training under hardened warriors, fielding a lot of his own stuntwork, filming while an honest-to-God war was underway in nearby Angola, and how the location was so far removed from everything that there was literally nothing to do but work, sleep, and drink. If this interview had gone on for another hour, I'd still be all over it. The short answer: required viewing.
Assignment: Africa (13 min.; HD): Oh, wow! Producer Jack Abramoff -- and, yeah, it's that Jack Abramoff -- sits down to talk about putting together his first feature film. Abramoff chats about how his experiences in Angola led him to dream up the premise for the film and eventually to produce such an ambitious action flick independently. From there, he talks about being forced out of Swaziland all of a week before filming was scheduled to start, how the Red Scorpion crew built more bases in South Africa than the Soviets actually did, toiling away in an area with no real film infrastructure, and his involvement in the sequel.
Scorpion Tales (10 min.; HD): Special make-up effects creator and all-around legend Tom Savini talks about his work on Red Scorpion: a gig that involved essentially zero prep time, three key sequences, and one gag that was never actually used. It kinda goes without saying that Savini delves in depth into his splatter wizardry, but that comes after ridiculously awesome stories about thinking he and his family were gonna die in a flood, suffering through one barely-edible meal after another, and how a Bond workshop kind of saved the day. Obviously well-worth setting aside ten minutes to watch.
Original On-Set Behind the Scenes Footage from Tom Savini (9 min.; SD): Well, with a heading on the menu like that, there's not a whole lot left for me to say here. This set of fly-on-the-wall footage as cameras rolled on Red Scorpion covers more than just Tom's two big setpieces, with plenty of shots of stuff blowing up around Dolph.
Audio Commentary: Director Joseph Zito fields Red Scorpion's commentary track, joined by moderator Nathaniel Thompson from Mondo Digital. Zito covers pretty much everything and then some: the score, the editing, the slew of different cuts of Red Scorpion that have been floating around for the past quarter-century, using an actual Russian tank captured in the war across the border in Angola, a skirt-chasing ninety-something-year-old bushman, not leaning on any miniatures or optical effects when shit blows up, and how filming ultimately spanned thousands of miles. A hell of a lot of fun and really comprehensive to boot.
Motion Still Gallery (7 min.; HD): Rather than force you to mash a button a couple dozen times, Red Scorpion's image gallery automatically cycles through an extensive set of one-sheets, video art, production stills, and behind-the-scenes shots.
Trailer (2 min.; HD): Last up are a high-def theatrical trailer...
TV Spots (3 min.; SD): ...and a few minutes' worth of promos on the small screen.
The Final Word
Red Scorpion is a mostly routine '80s action flick, but if you were weaned on Cannon asskickers or are just a sucker for Dolph Lundgren, this Blu-ray disc's definitely worth checking out. The high-def remaster and six-channel remix are both first-rate, there are a hell of a lot of extras for this sort of movie, and it's all of fifteen bucks on Amazon. Recommended.
Posté 18 juin 2012 - 15:49
Posté 20 juin 2012 - 09:54
ET des tests supplémentaires!
Red Scorpion is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The 1080p image is arrived at with an AVC MPEG-4 codec at an average of 28 mbps. The transfer for the film — first released in the United States in 1989 — shines brightest during daytime outdoor scenes depicting the incomparable African landscape. (After some delays, much of the filming took place in Namibia.) The color and contrast is strongest during these sequences. Unfortunately, many indoor and nighttime scenes look hopelessly grainy and the black levels are a bit off. A few scenes look nearly as bad as those times when you’d have to walk up to your TV and adjust the antenna to clear the picture.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a superstar when it comes to sound effects — bullets pinging, trucks exploding, punches landing — during the battle sequences. There is also an impressive amount of ambient noises, a necessity for a movie set almost entirely outdoors. An ever-present Russian Hind gunship, in particular, does a nice job of filling your speakers. The only negative is that the dialogue is not always easy to understand. (Though I’d probably attribute that more to the dueling Russian, Cuban and African accents than the audio track.)
The bonus material is easily my favorite part of the Blu-ray and all special features are presented in HD.
Audio commentary with director Joseph Zito and Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson: An interesting chat that basically plays out with Thompson interviewing Zito while the film just happens to be playing in the background. Zito (Missing in Action) discusses splitting difference between Apocalypse Now and Hot Shots! in making a war movie. (Personally, I think he would’ve benefited from picking a more clearly defined direction instead of trying to go right down the middle.) The director also remembers the production in vivid detail and talks about a lot of the film’s practical stunts and effects.
Hath No Fury — Dolph Lundgren and the Road to Red Scorpion featurette: (24:54) Lundgren discusses his career — physics and math scholarships led him to Australia, where became a martial artist and a bodyguard for Grace Jones, which led to his film debut in A View to a Kill — with a healthy perspective. He also talks about Red Scorpion with both affection and a bit of resignation. (He mentions the troubled production and an ending to the film that was replaced by a more truncated conclusion.)
Assignment: Africa — Video interview with producer Jack Abramoff: (13:26) Yes, that Jack Abramoff! The disgraced lobbyist is actually the guy who came up with the idea for the movie and made it his first film production. Despite being over budget, behind schedule and losing Warner Bros. as a distributor by filming in the South Africa-controlled country of Namibia, Abramoff has fond memories and cheerfully talks about the difficult, exciting experience of making his first movie.
Scorpion Tales — Video interview with make-up effects artist Tom Savini: (10:05) Savini — who was called in to work on the movie at the last minute — talks about his work on the standout torture scene, a gruesome exploding arm effect, and an exploding head effect that was never used in the movie.
Rare original on-set, behind-the-scenes video footage: (9:11) This footage comes courtesy of Savini, who mentioned in the previous special feature that he spent a lot of time just hanging around the set until he was needed. Savini captures Lundgren in action on the battlefield, as well as the filming of his two big makeup effect shots.
Animated still gallery: (6:57) You’ll be amazed by how many different posters this film spawned. Also includes some still shots from the set.
Theatrical trailer (1:55) and TV spots (3:08): Don’t usually comment on trailers or TV spots, but I specifically enjoyed the old-school TV spots if only for taglines like, “Some men go to war, Dolph’s just going to work” and “His looks aren’t the only thing that can kill.”
The Blu-ray also features a reversible cover design and informative liner notes courtesy of French film scholar Jeremie Damoiseau.
The Little Richard music notwithstanding (woo!), this movie took itself a little too seriously for my taste. More importantly, this is a case where the story behind the making of a film is infinitely more interesting than what wound up on screen.
Fortunately, the Blu-ray helps bring that fascinating behind-the-scenes story to light. Though the video transfer is only passable, the film is an interesting failure that will delight 1980s action movie junkies and…not too many other people.
The extensive supplemental features include an informative (if slightly dry) audio commentary track by director Vito and Mondo Digital's Nathaniel Thompson; "Hell Hath No Fury," a terrific new on-screen interview with Dolph, where he discusses his early career up to and including RED SCORPION; "Assignment Africa," an in-depth video interview with producer Jack Abramoff, discussing the origins of the film and the difficulties of its production; "Scorpion Tales," a video interview with make-up artist Tom Savini; an animated still gallery; the original theatrical trailer and a selection of vintage TV spots. The package also includes an 8-page booklet with extensive liner notes by Jérémie Damoiseau, and reversible cover art.
If you're a fan of 80's action flicks, you'll definitely want to check this disc out. RED SCORPION is a lot of fun, very well-made, and Synapse's presentation is definitive. Highly and enthusiastically recommended.
Posté 22 juin 2012 - 01:14
Posté 22 juin 2012 - 09:42
Et il s'agit d'une édition TOUTES ZONES / ALL REGION (combo avec DVD)!!! Une sortie inespérée même pour moi...!
(c'est en fait assez rare finalement quand les réal qui ne sont pas James Cameron sont vraiment invités à superviser toute une édition de leur film)
Posté 26 juillet 2012 - 07:01
Je vient de le revoir, dans de mauvaises condition, donc j'espère le revoir en Blu-Ray rapidement, ce film est en quelques sorte le Rambo de Doplh Lundgren, avec un discours assez politisé, il est d'ailleurs assez rare de voir un film d'un tel calibre tourné en Afrique noir, le traitement de Joseph Zito est loin d'en faire un bête film d'action, il s'intéresse avant tous au personnages, dommage que le rôle du journaliste soit un peu caricatural, le film n'est pas tant bourré d'action, alors bien sur il y a son lots de scène indissociable du genre, la poursuite en véhicule militaire, prise d'otage, fusillade etc...mais le rythme du film prend son temps, Dolph malgré sa carrure reste un soldat crédible, il est d'ailleurs aidé à la fin lors de l'assaut final, dans une volonté de faire un film de guerre et d'action avec un propos et réaliste, pas seulement bête et méchant, le film est de ce coté là plutôt crédible, car il ne montre pas la majeur partie du temps un héros invincible mais en proie aux doutes, et s'imprégnant de la culture locale.
Niveau réalisation, c'est du Jospeh Zito, c'est carré ni plus ni moins, c'est pas un grand technicien, mais il fait le boulot correctement, je ne connais pas le budget mais en général ces films ne sont pas d'énorme blockbuster, pareil pour le score qui recycle ce que le compositeur à fait auparavant rien de mémorable je trouve.
Donc voilà, ça reste une série B oui, mais qui ne correspond pas forcément à l'archétype ni à ce à quoi on peut s'attendre d'un tel film.
Posté 26 juillet 2012 - 08:40
(sans parler de la pléthore de super bonus et du livret écrit par tu sais qui)
PS le film, budgété à $8 million, a fini par coûter $16 million suite aux nombreux problèmes de la production dont notamment le changement de lieu de tournage de dernière minute, du Swaziland et les 6 semaines de délais et d'attente pour finalement se retrouver en Namibie (ce qui a coûté le retrait de Warner Bros de la distribution à cause des liens entre la Namibie et l'Afrique du Sud, encore en apartheid, boycottée par les pays de l'Ouest et hors contrat avec Warner)...