• Angel Unchained (Scorpion Releasing) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Scorpion Releasing
    Released on: March, 2019.
    Directors: Lee Madden
    Cast: Don Stroud, Luke Askew, Larry Bishop, Tyne Daly, T. Max Graham, Bill McKinney, Jordan Rhodes
    Year: 1970
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    Angel Unchained – Movie Review:

    “This is the Hell run that you make alone!”

    Hot on the heels of his Hells Angels ’69 made a year prior comes director Lee Madden’s 1970 films for AIP, Angel Unchained, one of a whole bunch of biker movies that proved popular at drive-in’s around the country in the late sixties and early seventies in the wake of Easy Rider.

    This time around, the story takes place in Arizona where we catch up with a biker named Angel (Don Stroud). When the movie begins, he and his crew get into a brawl with a rival gang at an amusement park in a pretty impressive opening scene that sees various guys attacking on another on a few amusement rides, including a rollercoaster! When that is finished, Angel decides to leave his gang behind and take a road trip.

    As he rides his hog across the country, he joins up with a gang of hippies, quickly falling for a pretty lady named Merilee (Tyne Daly). She and her group are suffering at the hands of some local rednecks led by a jerk named Tom (Jordan Rhodes). He and his army of dune buggy driving jerks make life difficult for the flower children by driving through the fields where they farm and destroying the fruits of their labor! Angel acclimates to the hippy lifestyle surprisingly quickly, but once head hippy Jonathan Tremaine (Luke Askew) asks Angel for help, well, old habits die hard and soon enough he’s got his biker gang back together. While bikers and hippies mix about as well as oil and water, soon enough it’s bikers against rednecks with the fate of the hippies hanging in the balance!

    This one is fairly tame by biker movie standards, lacking in strong sex or graphic violence, but it’s got a decent amount of action in it and it moves at a quick pace. The story is sufficient enough to keep things moving and the colorful characters that make up Angel’s gang are a lot of fun. The rednecks are just basic stereotypes, there’s no real depth there, but the movie doesn’t need anything more than that – they exist to terrorize the hippies and fight the bikers. The final brawl involving dune buggies and choppers is pretty solid, but the real eye opener is that set piece in the amusement park where Angel and his crew are busting heads all over the place.

    The movie features a decent score and solid cinematography. The Arizona locations are used nicely and the performances here are pretty solid. Don Stroud is good in the lead, he looks the part and plays it well. It’s funny to see a pre- Cagney & Lacey Tyne Daly show up here, she’s fun to watch and Jordan Rhodes is pretty entertaining as the villain. Throw in the late, great Luke Askew as the hippie leader and it’s easy to see how the cast is a big draw here.

    Angel Unchained – Blu-ray Review:

    Scorpion Releasing brings Angel Unchained to Blu-ray on a 25GB disc featuring an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer properly framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and looking quite nice. There’s a little bit of minor print damage here and there but nothing distracting. The film’s natural grain is left intact, there’s no obvious noise reduction here. Compression artifacts aren’t a problem and colors are reproduced nicely.

    The DTS-HD Mono track is solid enough and it gets the job done without any real issues. Dialogue is clear, clear and balanced and the score sounds fine, if a tad flat in spots. Optional subtitles are provided in English.

    Extras start off with an interview with actor Larry Bishop that clocks in at just under sixteen-minutes. In this piece, he speaks about how Arkoff signed him to a contract with AIP which led to his being cast in this picture. He also talks about getting along with his co-stars, what it was like on set, his real-life experiences on motorcycles and more. It’s an interesting piece worth checking out. After that, dig into a fourteen-minute interview with Jordan Rhodes where he gives us the lowdown on how he got into acting, being cast in Angel Unchained, his thoughts on the character he played and what it’s like to play the bad guy in a biker movie.

    Rounding out the extras are a trailer for the feature as well as bonus trailers for Bucktown, Bobby Jo And The Outlaw, Cycle Savages, Act Of Vengeance (better known as Rape Squad!) and California Dreaming. Menus and chapter stops are also included on the disc.

    Angel Unchained – The Final Word:

    Angel Unchained isn’t going to convince those who aren’t fans of the genre but, on the flip side of that coin, it’ll definitely appeal to those who are. It’s not as nasty or outrageous as some of the more memorable entries but it benefits from some fun performances and entertaining characters. Scorpion Releasing gives the picture a solid release, presenting the movie in nice shape and with a couple of interesting interviews to document its history.

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