• Escape From Absolom (Umbrella Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: July 4h, 2018.
    Director: Martin Campbell
    Ray Liotta, Lance Henriksen, Stuart Wilson, Ernie Hudson, Kevin Dillon, Kevin J. O'Connor
    Year: 1994
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    Escape From Absolom - Movie Review:

    Also known as No Escape, Martin Campbell’s 1994 sci-fi action thriller Escape From Absolom takes place in the dystopian future we’re probably all headed for. Here we meet Captain J.T. Robbins (Ray Liotta) who is arrested when his superior officer is killed. Robbins is promptly shipped off to a high-tech maximum-security prison run by a faceless pro-profit corporation but almost immediately upon his arrival he starts a brawl and winds up on the wrong side of the warden (Michael Lerner). The warden responds to this by having Robbins shipped off to Absolom, a remote island prison compound monitored by satellite technology where a sort of ‘Lord Of The Flies’ / ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality is the law of the land.

    Robbins is left on the island where he meets Marek (Stuart Wilson), the leader of The Outsiders, a tribe of prisoners who use violence and force as their way of life. Robbins is forced to fight Marek’s bodyguard, and when he manages to not only win but to kill the behemoth, Marek offers Robbins the job. Rather than politely decline, he steals the tribe’s rocket launcher and runs into the jungle. After making his way to relative safety, Robbins meets The Father (Lance Henriksen), the leader of a more genteel population of prisoners. He explains to Robbins the methodology behind the security systems put in place on the island, the kind that keep all of the hooligans and nogoodniks imprisoned there from escaping. Robbins, however, figures he can sort out a way to get past all of this and escape. He works with The Father and his crew to make this happen, all while Marek, with bloody vengeance on his mind, plans retaliation…

    If you swap out Manhattan for an island prison, Escape From Absolom is a lot like Escape From New York, but Ray Liotta is now Kurt Russell and as such, J.T. Robbins is no Snake Pliskin. Still, the movie is fun B-grade entertainment, taking typical dystopian future elements common in sci-fi films and adding elements from the aforementioned Lord Of The Flies and whatever prison break movie you’d care to name to spice things up a bit. The end result? Well, it’s pretty entertaining. Campbell has good control over the film’s pacing here, keeping the action coming pretty regularly but still giving us snippets of character development here and there to make the people in the picture interesting enough. The movie had a decent enough budget behind it to ensure that it looks quite good – the sets work well and the costumes are just fine. There are some pretty solid stunt set pieces in here too, and the action is more than competent in its execution and choreography.

    The cast in this one is pretty cool. I made a joke about Liotta not being Kurt Russell, and that stands, but he’s not bad here. He’s got a bit of charisma and if he’s not the most believable tough guy, well, he does work in a fish-out-of-water sort of way. Lance Henriksen is pretty awesome in this but that should go without saying as Lance Henriksen is awesome in pretty much everything he does, even complete bottom of the barrel movies, while Stuart Wilson does some quality scenery chewing as the heavy. Supporting work from Ernie Hudson, Kevin J. O’Connor, Michael Lerner and Kevin Dillon are also pretty decent.

    Escape From Absolom – Blu-ray Review:

    Escape From Absolom debuts on Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment on a 50GB Blu-ray disc framed at 2.40.1 widescreen in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. If this came from an existing, possibly slightly older, master then so be it. While there’s room left for improvement the overall picture quality here is pretty strong. There’s some softness inherent in a few scenes and there are certain shots where the lighting saps out some of the detail you might hope would be there, but these are stylistic choices rather than transfer flaws. Rising pretty far above what DVD could offer, generally we get nice detail, especially in medium and close ups, and solid texture too. There’s a good amount of depth to the image and colors look to be accurately reproduced here. Black levels are fine and skin tones look good. There’s very little print damage outside of a few small white specks now and again and the end result is an appropriately film-like transfer.

    The main audio mix on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track but Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes are provided in Italian, German, French and Spanish with removable subtitles available in English only. The lossless mix here is a good one, providing some nice dual channel action up front alongside clean, concise dialogue and properly balanced levels. There are no issues with any hiss or distortion here, the score and effects sound good – bass is pretty strong too, when the movie calls for it. No complaints.

    The main extra on the disc is a two-part making of featurette that runs thirty-seven minutes. It’s a vintage piece made around the time that the movie was in production and it’s made up of interviews done on set with the cast and crew as well as some behind the scenes footage showing some of the more interesting scenes from the feature being made.

    Additionally, found on the disc are four TV spots, a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection. Umbrella also packages the release with some reversible cover sleeve art.

    Escape From Absolom – The Final Word:

    Escape From Absolom is not the most original sci-fi action movie ever made but that doesn’t take away from its entertainment value. Campbell keeps the pace quick and the cast members are all a lot of fun here. Umbrella presents the picture in a solid HD presentation with a few extras too – this is a nice upgrade for fans of the picture.

    Click on the images below for full sized Escape From Absolom Blu-ray review screen captures!