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Customer Review

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arrow's Walken on Blu-ray..., 6 July 2012
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This review is from: King of New York (Arrow Video) Limited Edition SteelBook [Dual Format Edition] [DVD + Blu Ray] [Blu-ray] [1990] (Blu-ray)
Sorry... best title I could come up with.

One of these days, I should review a genuine DNR disaster (hey, I hear 'Predator''s going pretty cheap these days). Sadly, Arrow's latest release, 'King of New York', features a visible, well handled grain structure and plenty of detail, meaning I can't complain too much. While medium shots convey a pleasant enough level of fine detail, most close-ups are absolutely striking. Add in a real sense of depth, and Walken's remorseless visage has never looked so unnerving.

Colours also impress. Skin tones never look glaringly unnatural, while blood splatters the walls with rich enthusiasm. One scene, set in a dingy nightclub and lit entirely in blue, would be a prime contender for colour bleeding, but the picture remains stable throughout.

It's funny... the pasty blacks of 'Demons' came under heavy fire, but Arrow appear to have done a complete 180 here. Deep, dark, inky etc. with nary a compression artefact to be found, 'King' is mightily impressive in this department. I wouldn't completely rule out black crush, but I also wouldn't bother looking for any.

Nor should you go searching for edge enhancement, because there's virtually none of that either. This is a clean, natural-looking transfer that easily bests any previous releases.

Audio wise, the film's Stereo track is perfect. Strong, clear and precise - it's a faithful presentation of how 'King' was always meant to be heard. One or two lines of dialogue are barely comprehendible, but that's no fault of the disc (and can be easily rectified via the quick application of subtitles).

The 5.1 DTS-HD track is... another story, however. I read a few horror stories concerning earlier DVD versions featuring terrible audio, and it seems as though that infamous mix has made a return. It's a mess - the exact opposite of the stereo track, and it's almost as though there's one of those industrial-sized hand dryers you find in public toilets blowing throughout the whole thing. Worryingly, this is the disc's default track, so remember to switch it over before starting the film.

But barring the 5.1 misfire, I'd go out on a limb and state that 'King' is by far Arrow's best presentation to date. A pat on the back to all involved, and for the love of all that is cute and fluffy, PLEASE don't mess up 'Zombie Flesh Eaters'.

Onto the extra features, and it's almost all about Ferrara. There's a brand new interview with the man himself that runs for almost thirty minutes. This one is particularly revealing. He takes a gruff and sincere look back at a period of filmmaking that clearly doesn't exist anymore. And amidst all the factoids and anecdotes, you can even devise a fatal drinking game around how often Ferrara says "you know".

`A Short Film about the Long Career of Abel Ferrara' is a lengthy documentary in which his past collaborators discuss their work with the independent director, while `Abel Ferrara: Not Guilty' is a feature length doco that presents Abel at his most... Ferrariest.

Ferrara also pops up on one of the two featured audio commentaries. His chat track is surly to the extreme (telling us outright that he's been paid five thousand dollars to record it), but certainly an entertaining listen (he gets very excited during Steve Buscemi's brief appearances). Meanwhile, the second commentary is a chatty and enjoyable affair with several key crew members.

An interview with producer Augusto Caminito is the only other totally Abel-free extra. This is a relaxed account of 'King''s development that reveals its Italian connections, and the often memorable experiences had while working with Ferrara and Walken.

Then there're the obligatory trailers, a neat little booklet, and some excellent new artwork by Tom "The Dude Designs" Hodge that looks especially great on this very purple SteelBook edition.

Verdict

Again, if we ignore the 5.1 track, this has got to be Arrow's best work. Hardcore fans will be ecstatic when they pop 'King of New York' in, and once done with the film, there's a meaty selection of extras to plough through.

It helps that the film is great, too.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 8 Jul 2012 07:19:43 BDT
Great review, spot on about the 5.1 track - I thought something was wrong with my disc/setup for a while, so reassuring to know this is the case with all copies.

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Jul 2012 23:10:58 BDT
TJ Doc says:
Thanks, and yeah, shame about the 5.1 issue. Arrow shouldn't have bothered including it.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jul 2012 18:05:12 BDT
Annoymous says:
Superb review, and hey Abel always starts his commentary tracks with "I'm only doing this because I'm getting 5 grand" schtick

Posted on 16 Jul 2012 07:46:19 BDT
kurt's fan says:
thanks for your review, is this disc region-free?

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2012 14:36:33 BDT
TJ Doc says:
This one is Region B Locked, sadly.
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