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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "A Deadly Chase" or "The Hard Way")

 

Directed by Norbert Meisel
USA 1985

 

Cult movie icons Robert Forster (Medium Cool) and Joe Spinell (Maniac) star with Nancy Kwan (Flower Drum Song) in Norbert Meisel's gritty action drama Walking the Edge. Jason Walk (Forster), a down on his luck cabbie and numbers runner, has a chance at redemption when he crosses paths with revenge-seeking Christine Holloway (Kwan). She's after the gang of violent criminals, led by Brusstar (Spinell), who her murdered her husband and son. Jason unwittingly drives Christine to their lair and when she is unable to finish the job, a hellbent Brusstar and his goons hunt the pair with a vengeance.

Jason Walk's cab prowls the seedier, grimier locales of early '80s Los Angeles and picks up passengers - gamblers, prostitutes and addicts - who match this environment. As such, Walking the Edge is both a sleazy urban thriller and a valuable visual record of an L.A. that has long since been scrubbed clean and redeveloped. And like Max Cherry in Jackie Brown, Jason Walk is the kind of everyman-turned hero that Forster excelled at playing throughout his career.

With Edge, director Meisel (Mafia Girls) teamed with his wife Kwan for the first time. Screenwriter Curt Allen's subsequent credits include Forster's cult favorite Hollywood Harry. Genre veteran Jay Chattaway (Maniac and Vigilante) provides the film with a driving and catchy score. The leads are supported by a diverse cast that includes A Martinez (Powwow Highway), Luis Contreras (Repo Man), Aarika Wells (Sharky's Machine) and Frankie Hill (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter).

***

A Los Angeles taxi driver helps a distraught woman on the run from gangsters after they murder her husband and young son.

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 11th, 1985

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Review: Fun City Editions - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

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Distribution Fun City Editions - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:33:38.571        
Video

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,332,819,104 bytes

Feature: 27,669,067,776 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

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

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2011 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2011 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentaries:

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

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

Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Fun City Editions

 

1.85:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 43,332,819,104 bytes

Feature: 27,669,067,776 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

 Newly recorded audio commentary by film historian Chris Poggiali and film producer Matt Verboys
 Archival audio commentary by director Norbert Meisel and stars Robert Forster and Nancy Kwan

"Scoring the Edge," a new video interview with composer Jay Chattaway (12:50)
 "Det. Jurgensen Remembers Forster and Spinell," a new video interview with "French Connection Cop" Randy Jurgensen (23:50)
 "Breaking Point," a new video essay by filmmaker Chris O'Neill (10:37)
 Theatrical trailer (2:37)
 Image gallery (6:12)
 Booklet with a new essay by filmmaker and writer Jim Hemphill
 Reversible cover artwork


Blu-ray Release Date:
June 29th, 2021
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 6

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Fun City Editions Blu-ray (June 2021): Fun City Editions (Jeremy, Alphabet City, Smile, I Start Counting) have transferred Norbert Meisel's Walking the Edge to Blu-ray. It is cited as being from a "New 4K restoration from its 35mm original camera negative". It translated to digital as many mid 80's films with the less-resilient stock that shows rougher grain. The 1080P is consistent, clean and exports authentic colors. It is one a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate and I can't imagine it looking any better in this format. The textures appear noisier but it is simply how many 80's films looked. I am very pleased with Fun City's 4K-restored HD presentation.  

NOTE: We have added 68 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Fun City Editions use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track (24-bit) in the original English language. There are sequences of aggression with gunplay that carry reasonable, often surprising, depth and a pulsing score, with some horn riffs, by Jay Chattaway (Vigilante, Silver Bullet, Maniac, Maniac Cop) sounding supportive and indicative of the genre and era. Fun City Editions offer no subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Fun City Editions Blu-ray offers two commentaries. I thoroughly enjoyed the older one with director Norbert Meisel and stars Robert Forster and Nancy Kwan (Meisel's wife.) They had fun, discussing the production - it's short 3-week production time, how they came to be involved, the low budget aspects and some anecdotes of how they knew much of the supporting cast and crew. There are gaps in the second half but it was a pleasure to hear Forster and Kwan remembering their work here, Tarantino and more. The new commentary is by film historian Chris Poggiali and film producer Matt Verboys. They discuss director Norbert Meisel, his ability to procure natural, realistic performances (leaving the actors alone), Forsters' likable Jason Walk character who is stuck in his past, many of the cast, how Walking the Edge evokes classic Film Noir... and much more. It's educational. There is a new, 24-minute, video interview with "French Connection Cop" Randy Jurgensen entitled "Det. Jurgensen Remembers Forster and Spinell" sharing his experiences. Also included is a new, dozen-minute, video interview with composer Jay Chattaway talking about his work and the score. "Breaking Point" is a new dozen-minute video essay by filmmaker Chris O'Neill which starts with a quote from Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian; "Robert Forster: a coolly charismatic character actor with an intensely sympathetic air...he was much loved by his colleagues as a class act, and for audiences he was an American icon." He talks about Forster's resume of over 180 screen appearances, how Walking the Edge was in a transitional period in the actor's career, his initial role in John Huston's Reflections in a Golden Eye and much more. There is a theatrical trailer, image gallery and the package has a booklet with a new essay by filmmaker and writer Jim Hemphill, plus reversible cover artwork.  

Norbert Meisel's Walking the Edge is a dated genre film - but we love the nostalgia, Forster and lovely Kwan. It holds up to be an enjoyable thriller with a drifting 'hack' teaming with a women bent on revenge. It is films like this, with simple involved characters standing up to criminals, that we reflect back on today with a great appreciation. I wish there were 100 more like this with Robert Forster (RIP.) The Fun City Editions' Blu-ray is top-shelf material; 4K restored, two commentaries, interviews, a video essay and a booklet. Strongly recommended!

Gary Tooze

 


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