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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

 

directed by Louis de Witt
South Africa 1973

 

Ken Gampu (ZULU DAWN) is badass Joe Bullet, hired by Eagles football team president Dan Poho (as himself) when The Vulture Gang murder the team's coach (Richard Khumalo) in order to intimidate star players Flash (Cocky Tlhotlhalemaje, KNOCK-OUT) and Jerry (Sydney Chama, THE WILD GEESE) into returning to their old team. Further attempts are made on the lives of Poho and his nightclub singer daughter Beauty (Abigail Kubeka, CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY) are foiled by Joe, causing the gang's mysterious leader to hire a Kung Fu hitman (Matthew Molete) to take out Joe himself before the World Cup. Finished in 1971 and screened independently in 1973 before being banned by the apartheid government, South Africa's go at blaxploitation JOE BULLET is flatly acted, poorly written, badly choreographed, and bereft of style, but it is nevertheless a singular exploitation experience. The film slows to a crawl after the first half hour, drawing out introductions and actions easily elided but the filmmakers' desire throw in everything but the kitchen sink at least promises more action while the underdeveloped subplot relationships are given minimal screentime (although the identity of the Vulture Gang's leader is still easily guessed).

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release: 1 January 1973 (South Africa)

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Comparison:

The Film Detective - Region 0 - NTSC vs. 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the DVD Review!

1) The Film Detective - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

   

 

Distribution

The Film Detective

Region 0 - NTSC

88 Films
Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:29:21 1:29:32.158
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.44 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Disc Size: 22,374,875,767 bytes

Feature Size: 21,821,497,344 bytes

Total Bitrate: 27.49 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

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

Bitrate

Bitrate Blu-ray

Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Commentary:

LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

Subtitles None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: The Film Detective

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by restoration company head Benjamin Cowley and writer/producer Tonie van der Merwe, moderated by Calum Waddell
• Restoration Demo (4:3; 2:21)
•  Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 2:18)

DVD Release Date: February 21st, 2017
Amaray

Chapters 8

Release Information:
Studio: 88 Films

 

1.33:1 Disc Size: 22,374,875,767 bytes

Feature Size: 21,821,497,344 bytes

Total Bitrate: 27.49 Mbps

Single-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

 

Edition Details:

• Commentary by Tonie van der Merwe - writer/producer of Joe Bullet, Calum Waddell - documentary filmmaker and Benjamin Cowley - Gravel Road

• Trailer (2:18)
 

Blu-ray Release Date: September 11th, 2017
Transparent Blu-ray Case inside cardboard slipcase

Chapters

 

 

 

Comments

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

ADDITION: 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray (August 2017): The 88 Films 1080P transfer is advertised as a "Brand new HD master, restored from 2 surviving 16mm Projection Prints". It looks like the same restoration as The Film Detective SD.

It starts with a screen that informs us that Joe Bullet was produced in 1971 and was one of the first South African films to feature an all-African cast. In 1973, it was independently released in the Eyethu cinema in Soweto. Shortly thereafter, the film was banned by the Apartheid government. It has not be screened there since.

The 1080P transfer is a game-changing leap in quality with colors being a huge beneficiary looking bolder and brighter - notably reds. Considering the 16mm source it has moments of looking quite impressive. There are still a few damage marks - a floating circle of small holes in the background of one scene and a vertical green scratch, for a minute of so later in the film. Both are documented with screen samples below. It's predictably thick and heavy with some sporadic depth. Bottom line is that the Blu-ray is a massive step up, visually, from the washed-out DVD.

Audio is in the original English transferred in uncompressed linear PCM mono track (16-bit). It sounds as imperfect as the original production's limitations. It's clear and dialogue partially scattered. There is some brief, unknown, music. 88 Films, thankfully, add optional English subtitles (see sample) and the Blu-ray disc is region FREE.

The same commentary, as found on the DVD is included - it's a bit hushed but has good information about the production and specifics regarding certain scenes. There is also a restored trailer.

Easy to see the Blu-ray is the way to go with getting the best presentation in your home theater. Certainly a historically relevant film that deserved archiving in this versatile, and easily disseminated, format. It's a cool, little, adventure that doesn't pull any punches - content-wise. Those keen should pick up the Blu-ray.

 - Gary and Eric

ON THE DVD: The Film Detective's manufactured-on-demand DVD-R is derived from an HD restoration of a film element that is generally clean if a little faded and has more than its share of missing frames resulting in a couple jump cuts (the restoration demo reveals just how drastically the color had turned on the print before clean-up). The post-synched Dolby Digital 2.0 mono track boasts mostly clear dialogue amidst a rather sparse music and effects track. English Closed Captioning is included. Not mentioned anywhere on the case is the presence of an audio commentary with the film's writer/producer moderated by the restoration company head and Calum Waddell. Also included is a newly created trailer for the film.

  - Eric Cotenas


DVD Menus
 

 

 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray
 


 CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 

 

1) The Film Detective - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) The Film Detective - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) The Film Detective - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) The Film Detective - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) The Film Detective - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) The Film Detective - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) The Film Detective - Region 0 - NTSC - TOP

2) 88 Films - Region FREE - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

Damage Samples

More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

 

   

 

Distribution

The Film Detective

Region 0 - NTSC

88 Films
Region FREE - Blu-ray

 



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