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(aka "Bat 21" or "BAt21" or "Battalion 21")

 

Directed by Peter Markle
USA 1988

 

Only the bravest of men risk their lives to save others! In this suspenseful and engrossing action tale based on a true-life rescue story, screen legends Gene Hackman (The Package) and Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) portray a pair of valiant American soldiers up against impossible odds for survival and rescue within war-torn Vietnam. After his reconnaissance plane is shot down behind enemy lines in Vietnam, Lt. Colonel Hambleton (Hackman), a career soldier who's used to calling the shots from behind a desk, must now figure out a way to survive in the jungle. Luckily for him, he manages to establish radio contact with an Air pilot, Bird-Dog (Glover), who makes it his mission to save his stranded comrade. To plan the dangerous rescue, the two soldiers communicate by secret code. But when the enemy intercepts their messages, it's only a matter of time before the code is broken... leaving both men at risk of being caught and imprisoned. Peter Markle (Youngblood) directed this edge-of-your-seat thriller co-starring Jerry Reed (Gator) and Clayton Rohner (Modern Girls).

***

Based on a true story, Bat 21 follows the harrowing adventures of Lt. Colonel Iceal Hambleton (Gene Hackman), whose plane is shot down over enemy territory while on reconnaissance behind enemy lines in Vietnam. Because Hambleton used to call the shots from behind a desk, he lacks combat survival experience and is forced to adapt while the enemy surrounds him on all sides. As the Air Force plans a risky rescue mission, he is befriended by pilot Bartholomew Clark (Danny Glover), who can't land to pick up Hambleton due to the enemy activity but keeps him company by radio. Hambleton's plight takes a turn for the worse once the brass decide to execute an intensive bombing mission in the area, whether or not they can rescue Hambleton. The colonel, meanwhile, confronted for the first time by the horrors of war, begins to reassess his role in the bloodshed. An overlooked film at the time of its release, Bat 21 is a smaller war picture that focuses on an ordinary man in an excruciating situation, and how it ultimately changes his life.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: October 6th,1988

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Review: Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:44:54.746      
Video

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-rays

Disc Size: 23,230,509,232 bytes

Feature: 21,200,621,568 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.65 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1565 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1565 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Commentary:
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Kino Lorber

 

1.85:1 1080P Single-layered Blu-rays

Disc Size: 23,230,509,232 bytes

Feature: 21,200,621,568 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.65 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio Commentary by director Peter Markle
Theatrical Trailer (2:24)


Blu-ray Release Date: September 18
th, 2018
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 8

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Kino present "BAT*21" on a single-layered Blu-ray in 1080p with a decent bitrate. The film is shown in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. BAT*21 looks impressive with nicely layered contrast, plenty of healthy grain support and bright but realistic colors. It looks great in-motion with some occasional depth and reasonable detail. I saw no damage and only minor speckles. The HD visuals are in advance of what I anticipated.

There is a 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio track. Plenty of aggressive war effects; plane crash, aerial combat, explosions, gunfire etc. All handled with decent depth by the lossless track. 
 Supporting the presentation is the score by Christopher Young (The Dark Half, Flowers in the Attic, Hellraiser, Rounders,  Species) adding a sense of tension. There are optional English subtitles on this Region-A-locked Blu-ray.

The only supplement of note, aside from some trailers, is an informative commentary by director Peter Markle. He exports knowledge that only the director would be aware of regarding the evolution of the project. He's not exciting but the information is good for those keen.

I had not seen BAT*21 for decades. Hackman only gets better the more times you see him. What a great actor. This is a solid, desperate, adventure that remains engaging after 30-years. I really enjoyed by HD presentation and the Kino
Blu-ray adds further value with the director commentary. Thumbs up! 

Gary Tooze

 


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Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

    

Distribution Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray


 


 

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