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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)
Disc Size: 20,704,988,325 bytes
Feature Size: 18,317,660,160 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.93 Mbps
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
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).
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.
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.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1704 kbpsin 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.
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.
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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