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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Truck Turner [Blu-ray]


(Jonathan Kaplan, 1974)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)

Video: Kino Lorber



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:31:26.981

Disc Size: 20,329,526,175 bytes

Feature Size: 18,681,274,368 bytes

Video Bitrate: 23.95 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 7th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1566 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1566 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

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






• Audio Commentary by Director Jonathan Kaplan
"Trailers From Hell" with Ernest Dickerson (2:47)
Q&A at The New Beverly Cinema with Jonathan Kaplan, Stunt Man Bob Minor and hosted by Joe Dante (7:28)
Trailer (5:13)
Radio Spot (1:01)





Description: The great Isaac Hayes (I'm Gonna Git You Sucka) stars in this powerful, pull-out-the-stops crime thriller from director Jonathan Kaplan (The Slams). It's a gritty, action-packed tale of the streets, pulsating with ultra-smooth soul, high-octane energy and nonstop suspense. Truck Turner (Hayes) is a football star-turned-bounty hunter who's tracking a sadistic pimp on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Armed with his brute strength and ace cool partner, Truck closes in on his mark. But a tragic accident soon changes all the rules, and suddenly the hunter finds himself being hunted by the city's deadliest hired killers! Truck strikes back in a series of wild car chases, shootouts and bone-crunching fistfights. The stellar supporting cast includes Yaphet Kotto (Friday Foster), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura of the original Star Trek), Dick Miller (Gremlins) and Scatman Crothers (The Shining). Original songs and music score by Isaac Hayes (Shaft).



The Film:

Isaac Hayes puts his gun where his groove is in his role as hard-case bounty hunter Mack "Truck" Turner, three years after composing the legendary score for Shaft (1971). Ex-football star turned skip-tracer, Turner specializes in bringing in the criminals police are too scared to chase, and when he's hired to capture sociopathic pimp Gator (Paul Harris), he finds himself confronted by the most vicious killers in the underground scene. Little does Turner know that Gator's woman, Dorinda (Nichelle Nichols), has a deep-running cold streak of vengeance, and has hired ruthless hit man Harvard Blue (Yaphet Kotto), as well as a legion of other like-minded and equally determined assassins, to snuff out Truck's supercharged motor once and for all. It's now up to Truck to keep his cool long enough to get to the source of the seemingly endless stream of bullets that come at increasingly unsettling intervals.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


Credit the writers with providing the cast with an innercity patois that is authentic, if largely four-letter, and funnier and pithier than the obvious plot. Let's say there's no doubt from the outset that our hero, the bald, bearded composer ("Shaft," etc.) Isaac Hayes, eventually will mow down the hordes of pimps headed by Yaphet Kotto and Michelle Nichols, who are running scared because he's put a crimp in their racket for killing his sidekick and maiming his bail-bondsman boss.

As an actor, Mr. Hayes indicates that much of his soul is still in his music. Mr. Kotto, Alan Weeks, as Mr. Hayes's unfortunate partner, and Annazette Chase, as his ever-loving girl, are, like the other principals, largely physical throughout the frenetic action. "Sometimes I think we ought to give it up," Mr. Hayes's pal says disconsolately at one point. It's a fine suggestion for all concerned.

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE

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

Truck Turner has made it to Blu-ray from the Kino Lorber label.  The image takes a wide step beyond the old SD that has been kicking around.  This is single-layered has an acceptable bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The source appears to be clean and consistent with few speckles and no damage.  Colors seem more accurate and there is a touch of depth. Pretty solid but not overwhelming - this is probably not dissimilar to the film looked 40-years ago.



















Audio :

Kino use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1566 kbps. While effects carry some weight, it is the score by Isaac Hayes that gives Truck Turner its funky groove. Although, perhaps, unusual for mainstream films - this soul-based soundtrack augmenting the blaxploitation vibe of the effort although some more familiar may find it less original. It sounds quite impressive - clean and crisp - via the lossless transfer. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Kino add an audio commentary by director Jonathan Kaplan. It comes across as fresh and worth listening to. Ernest Dickerson hosts an episode of "Trailers From Hell" and we get an 8-minute Q&A at The New Beverly Cinema with Jonathan Kaplan, Stunt Man Bob Minor and hosted by Joe Dante. There is also a trailer and radio spot - the latter touting Pam Grier in Foxy Brown as a Double Feature with Truck Turner.



The Bounty-Hunter theme adds more adventure to Truck Turner's blaxploitation appeal and the quickie-Cormanesque aura smacks of providing that intangible comfortable nostalgia - girlfriend in prison, plenty of violence, effective humor and Uhura strutting her stuff make this a lot of fun and there are some subtle social digs along the way. I was pleased with this Kino Lorber Blu-ray. It has decent a/v and good supplements with the commentary. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 24th, 2015


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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Gary W. Tooze






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