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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Ironman" )

 

directed by Bruce Malmuth
USA 1994

 

Trained from childhood to win the Olympic Pentathlon, Eric Brogar (Dolph Lundgren, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER) is at the top of his game in the 1988 Seoul games. When his domineering coach Muller (David Soul, DOGPOUND SHUFFLE) tries to force him to take performance-enhancing drugs, Eric refuses (and manages to win the track event in which fellow enhanced player Rhinehart [Daniel Riordan, ED WOOD] was supposed to place). After falling for American athlete Julia (Renée Coleman, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN), Eric decides to flee to America. In the attempt, Eric is shot in the leg and his teammate Christian (Gerald Hopkins, MIDNIGHT MAN) is killed. Muller loses his job after the shootout at the airport, Eric's defection, Christian's death, and Rhinehart's failure, and he takes his anger out on Eric's father (Erik Holland, THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES). When the Berlin Wall comes down only a few months later, crippled Eric becomes embittered believing that if he had only waited his father and friend would still be alive. His drinking causes Julia to leave him and he spends the next several years flipping burgers in a diner belonging to John Creese (Roger E. Mosley, UNLAWFUL ENTRY). After getting mugged by some kids for his nightly six-pack of beer, Eric decides to stop feeling sorry for himself and start training again. When Creese discovers that his fry cook is an Olympic gold medal winner, he starts coaching him with an eye towards fruitful endorsements. While competing in Atlanta, he finds that Julia is now training (and dating) his fencing competitor Mike (associate producer Rob Stull, who competed three times in the Olympic Modern Pentathlon [and a bit of sport for playing a sore loser]), but she is still in love with Eric and soon takes over his training. Meanwhile, Muller has become a Neo-Nazi and has flown to Los Angeles to make an explosive statement at a world peace rally despite the objections of local party member Erhardt (director Bruce Malmuth, NIGHTHAWKS) and Rhinehart, who now runs an L.A. niteclub. When Muller sees a newspaper story about Eric in the newspaper, he makes a side trip to get revenge on his former student. After a couple failed assassination attempts, Muller kidnaps Eric in order to have him witness his planned act of terrorism at the peace rally. Will Eric be able to stop a massacre and win the Pentathlon?

Although intended for theatrical release, PENTATHLON went direct to video in most countries (including the United States), which must have been disappointing to Lundgren - who made his debut in the James Bond pic A VIEW TO A KILL and may be the only action star in MENSA - and co. since it seems that the film was meant to be a departure from the star's usual action fare (RED SCORPION, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO, THE PUNISHER, DARK ANGEL, ARMY OF ONE, among others). While certainly entertaining, the film is more than a little uneven. Julia and Eric barely interact during the first act (although dialogue later in the film suggests that they had more of an acquaintance), then she disappears for another forty-five minutes and has nothing to do with the climactic action setpiece. Soul's villain is also more caricature than menacing (but is at least entertaining), and the whole Neo-Nazi subplot is so thinly scripted. The middle of the film is a bit too feel-good with some corny comedy (although Mosely is likable and has some good buddy chemistry with Lundgren). The sax "love theme" feels about a decade out of date while the equally out-of-place funky end titles music seems more suited to a picture made in the late eighties. The action scenes are all very small-scale (but the stunt work is good), and Lundgren simply curses at his foes rather than spouting the usual action-hero one-liners (if not for the swearing, the film's degress of violence and skin would probably only warrant a PG-13 now instead of the R-rating it was given at the time of release). Despite these many fault, the film is as fun a time-waster as any of Lundgren's other DTV action flick.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 21 March 1995 (USA)

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DVD Review: Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:36:54 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.94 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

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

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 2:19)

DVD Release Date: July 30th, 2012
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Anchor Bay's HD-mastered transfer is the first widescreen release of this film (it was intended for theatrical release but went direct to video in most countries, and previous DVD releases have been fullscreen). The dual-layer, anamorphic transfer really doesn't look too hot, with unimpressive detail, although close-ups fare better (the nineties cinematography isn't that attractive to begin with).

The Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo encoding of the Ultra Stereo mix and the 5.1 remix fare better, although mainly in terms of music and dialogue. The action scenes aren't as busy as one would hope (but the action scenes themselves are more small-scale than in more mainstream Lundgren action films). The only extra is the trailer (in 4:3). The dark menu background and red lettering may be indistinct on some monitors.

NOTE Blu-ray edition available HERE.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

Anchor Bay

Region 2 - PAL

 




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