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Flesh & Blood [Blu-ray]
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(Aug 06, 2018)
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A deliriously violent medieval epic from genre master Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Total Recall), Flesh + Blood sees a savage and amoral band of mercenaries take revenge on the noblemen who betrayed them.
In Western Europe, 1501, a small army of mercenaries led by the charismatic and mercurial Martin (Rutger Hauer; Blade Runner, The Hitcher) reclaim a heavily fortified castle for its owner Arnolfini, who then betrays the band and ejects them from the city by force. Swearing revenge, Martin leads a violent assault on the nobleman and ends up accidentally kidnapping the beautiful Agnes (Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight), the fiancée of Arnolfini’s son Steven, who in turn pledges to wipe out the mercenary group once and for all.
With its vision of a brutal and morally bereft Medieval Europe, the film shocked audiences who had become used to the highly romanticised depictions of the era commonly seen on the big screen. Originally censored in the UK due to its extreme amounts of sex and violence, Eureka Classics is proud to present Flesh + Blood fully uncut, and on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK in a special Dual Format edition.
DUAL FORMAT SPECIAL FEATURES
- Limited Edition O-Card slipcase (first print run only)
- 1080p presentation of the film on Blu-ray, with a progressive encode on the DVD.
- Uncompressed LPCM audio (on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
- Audio commentary by director Paul Verhoeven
- Paul Verhoeven in the Flesh (21 mins)
- Verhoeven Versus Verhoeven – A documentary on the iconic director, covering the entirety of his career and featuring extensive interviews with the man himself (45 mins)
- Audio interview with actor Rutger Hauer (24 mins)
- Interview with screenwriter Gerard Soeteman (17 mins)
- Interview with composer Basil Poledoris
- Original theatrical trailer
A collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film (first pressing only)
“A vivid and muscular, if less than fully startling, account of lust, savagery, revenge, betrayal and assorted other dark doings in the Middle Ages.” – Variety
“the film overflows with pestilence, plague and pillage.” – Time Out
"The rawness of it all fits into Verhoeven’s persistent vision of a world of mass delusion” – AV Club
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This epic production from thirty years ago stars Verhoeven regular Rutger Hauer, alongside a 23 year-old Jennifer Jason-Leigh. There is also the Australian stalwart Jack Thompson, and a crop of British and American character actors, including the wonderful Ronald Lacey, and gangster-film star Bruno Kirby. Cast-wise, he got the whole planet covered with this one. If you like historical sagas, castle sieges, and some of the flesh and blood mentioned in the title, then this one is for you.
The scene is somewhere in Europe, circa 1500. A local lord has employed a mercenary group to help his army get his castle and lands back. The film goes straight into the action, as Hauer and his group assault the castle, spurred on by the promise of looting and pillage for a clear twenty-four hours. They succeed in capturing the place, but find themselves betrayed by their employer, and driven out by his main army. Hiding out, Martin (Hauer) and his band manage to capture the daughter of the same lord. (Jason-Leigh) He soon seduces (well, rapes) her, and not long after that, he falls in love with her too.
Later, this disparate band arrive at another castle, which they quickly capture, to use as a hideout and a base. But they are unaware that those inside already have the plague, (The Black Death) and not long after, Agnes’ (Jason-Leigh) betrothed lover, Steven, arrives with an army to rescue her. More battles ensue, and neither side can get the upper hand, as their soldiers succumb to the plague all around. Eventually, the castle catches fire, and the mercenaries that are still alive are forced to flee, leaving Steven and Agnes reunited at last.
The story hardly matters, and knowing the outcome won’t spoil your enjoyment of this rip-roaring Renaissance romp. It’s got the lot. Tough men, hard fighting, siege towers, explosions, rape and pillage, nudity, plague deaths, and double-dealing a-plenty. Very enjoyable, if dated now, and as few films are made about this turbulent period in European history, somewhat unique in the genre. I can really only think of the superior, ‘The Last Valley’, or the simply wonderful ‘Captain Alatriste’, both of which are set at least one hundred years later. Here’s a trailer.
The story revolves around a group of soldiers who are double crossed and turn rogue. Their leader (Rutger), guided by a relgious nut, takes a pretty girl hostage; the betrothed to the son of the nobleman who double crossed him and his men.
Young and naive, the young girl is taken in by Rutger's bad boy ways and so ensues a love triangle you certainly wouldn't want to be a part of - not when sieges, the plague and rape are a constant theme.
A good old fashioned Knights tale like only the 80s and Mr Hauer can produce - but being certificate 18 it offers slightly more for the adult audience than Lady Hawke and the like (although sadly Michelle Pfieffer doesn't make an appeareance).
Presented uncut and with slipcase, booklet, blu ray and dvd copies of the film
Picture quality is descent but not outstanding. Still miles above the old MGM dvd release
I highly recommend this release of the classic.
Set in 1510, there are mercenaries, despots, noblemen, blood and guts and romance. Grab a beer and go for it. Perfect Saturday night entertainment.
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