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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)
Disc Size: 20,329,526,175 bytes
Feature Size: 18,681,274,368 bytes
Video Bitrate: 23.95 Mbps
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
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.
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.
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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