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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Zone Troopers [Blu-ray]


(Danny Bilson, 1985)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Altar Productions

Video: Kino Lorber



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

Runtime: 1:25:51.271

Disc Size: 20,704,988,325 bytes

Feature Size: 18,317,660,160 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.93 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 28th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1704 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1704 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / Dolby Surround






• Audio Commentary by Director Danny Bilson and Star Tim Thomerson
Interview with Tim Thomerson (11:01)
Trailer (1:32)





Description: Italy (1944)… After a group of US troops witness an alien landing, they are quickly caught up in an adventure involving everything from Nazis to ray guns. An outlandish blend of WWII combat and alien invaders from the producers of Ghoulies, Trancers and Re-Animator features Tim Thomerson (Cherry 2000) and Timothy Van Patten (Class of 1984) as two G.I.'s trapped behind enemy lines. Hitler's forces are rapidly approaching and all hope seems lost, until the Americans discover the wreckage of an alien spaceship with one its crew still alive. Danny Bilson (The Wrong Guys) made his directorial debut in this original science fiction adventure that co-stars Art LaFleur (Cobra).



The Film:

This off-beat story combines elements of a science fiction adventure and World War II drama. A platoon of U.S. soldiers are surrounded by the enemy in Italy and are forced to fight their way back behind the lines to their troops. The platoon is populated by the usual characters: "Sarge" (Tim Thomerson) is not afraid of anything, Joey (Timothy Van Patten) has not totally left childhood behind him, and Dolan (Biff Manard) is an aggravating reporter out for a headline. When the soldiers encounter a spaceship on their way back to safety, the plot takes a 180 degree turn. Zone Troopers' novel premise is matched by the cast, who deliver good work throughout.

Excerpt from B+N located HERE


The playful, plagiaristic Poverty Row spirit of early Roger Corman is not dead. Starting off as a conventional war film (Italy 1944), with a bunch of American GIs stranded behind enemy lines, it soon escalates/degenerates into an absurd semi-sci-fi thriller when an enormous rocket is discovered smouldering in the forest: it's a Martian spaceship, and a benign, burbling alien survivor is on the loose. Not as good as producer Charles Band's own Trancers, and it would be unfair to recommend too highly any film featuring a distinctly un-Hitlerish Führer (Martin) and a daring escape ludicrously accompanied by the sounds of big band swing. But as inventive nonsense scarcely tainted by plot logic, it's more rewarding viewing than any Hugh Hudson film.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

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

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Zone Troopers is consistent and stable.  The visuals seem typical of mid 80's transfers to 1080P with a shade of thickness, reasonably sharp close-ups and colors richer than SD could relate. I don't suspect digital manipulation and I saw no noise in the darker scenes. The many, well lit, outdoor sequences do raise-the-bar for the overall image quality. The source is clean, and probably quite accurate to how it looked theatrically. This Blu-ray gave me a watchable HD viewing presentation.




















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1704 kbps in the original English language. There are plenty of effects often superficial, but the lossless carried them with some depth. The fitting score is by Richard Band (Demonic Toys, Puppetmaster, From Beyond, The House on Sorority Row, Castle Freak) brother to producer Charles Band and son to veteran producer Albert Band. Not a particularly remarkable score, but it supported the film well via the uncompressed transfer with rich highs and subtle lows. Big Band era fans may enjoy "In the Mood" played during one scene sounding pretty crisp. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Kino add a comfortable audio commentary with director Danny Bilson and star Tim Thomerson - reminiscing about production details, performers etc. There is also an 11-minute interview with Thomerson - who I always kind of like listening to, always 'cool'. Lastly, we have a trailer.



I liked Zone Troopers - pleasingly devoid of schlock. If you can appreciate it for what it is - and it's modest budget - it's a good concept and well realized story by director Bilson. Yes, some of the conventions are 'borrowed' but the supporting cast and suspense make for a decent adventure tale. It won't win any awards, but is okay fodder for any rainy Sunday afternoon. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray is about what you might expect a/v-wise but the supplements are appreciated and it did give me the opportunity to see the film in 1080P. My 10-year old son and I were both entertained - and I imagine many others will be too. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

July 12th, 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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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