• Slaughter



    Released by: Olive Films
    Released on: September 22nd, 2015.
    Director: Jack Starrett
    Cast: Jim Brown, Rip Torn, Cameron Mitchell, Don Gordon
    Year: 1972
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    The Movie:

    Directed by the late Jack Starrett in 1972 for American International Pictures, Slaughter stars Jim Brown in the title role as a former Green Beret who learns that his parents were murdered because his dad made some mob ties he shouldn’t have made. Slaughter knows who did it and he tracks them to the airport and manages to board the plane and take one thug out of the picture, but the others escape.

    This act of bravado winds up betting Slaughter in trouble with a cop named A. W. Price (Cameron Mitchell) who claims that his actions destroyed some important evidence that the Feds had hoped to use against the mobsters. Rather than arrest him, Price offers Slaughter a deal – fly to South Africa with two other Feds - Harry (Don Gordon) and Kim (Marlene Clark) – to catch mobster Dominic Hoffo (Rip Torn) and his cronies and get as close as they can to top mobster Mario Felice (Norman Alfe). Slaughter agrees and winds up befriending Ann (Stella Stevens), who helps him to get closer to his targets, but when she falls for Slaughter and winds up getting kidnapped, things get very dicey indeed!

    The first real starring role for Jim Brown, this one works as a showcase for his larger than life style and skills as an action hero and he makes the most of it. Slaughter doesn’t take it from the man, he does things his way and while his methods may be a little unorthodox, he’s good at what he does. Brown seems to be having a blast here, playing the part for all it’s worth and using his size and screen presence rather well. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s surrounded by some pretty great supporting players. Cameron Mitchell is at his crotchety best here as the racist cop who sets all of this into motion while Don Gordon provides some decent comic relief. Marlene Clark (who Ganga & Hess fans will recognize instantly as will Switchblade Sisters fans!) is beautiful to look at but also pretty fun in her role while Stella Stevens makes for a fine damsel in distress. Rip Torn tends to steal pretty much every scene he’s in while Norman Alfe is pretty solid as the heavy.

    The Mexican locations add a gritty air of authenticity to the picture. They’re well photographed and the picture boasts not only some solid cinematography but pretty tight editing as well. Throw in a score from Luchi De Jesus and a great, catchy theme song and this one comes up a winner. If it isn’t the most original Blaxploitation picture ever made, the Mexican locations do help to set it apart and it offers up more than enough violent action, intrigue and suspense to satiate genre fans.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Olive Films gives Slaughter its Blu-ray debut in a nice AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.35.1 widescreen. Detail and texture are definitely advanced over previous presentations not only in close up shots where you'd no doubt expect it but in medium and long distance shots as well, where the grit of various locations comes into play visually speaking. Grain is present throughout but never overpowering or distracting while black levels look good. Skin tones seem accurate and colors are nicely reproduced. No noise reduction or edge enhancement is ever noticeable, nor are there any compression artifacts to complain about. This is a very solid picture.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track and it sounds pretty solid. Clarity is good while hiss and distortion are non-issues throughout playback. The score and effects, gun shots in particular, have good presence. No problems to report here, this no frills mix gets the job done quite nicely.

    Aside from a theatrical trailer, menu and chapter selection there are no extras on this disc.

    The Final Word:

    Slaughter, the film that put Jim Brown on the map, holds up pretty well all these years after it first hit theaters. It’s not particularly concerned with realism but it’s gritty, fast paced and action packed and it lets Brown and company strut their stuff with plenty of style. Olive’s Blu-ray is light on extras but it does look and sound quite good.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!