• Savage Beach (Mill Creek Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: July 9th, 2019.
    Director: Andy Sidaris
    Cast: Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, John Aprea, Bruce Penhall, Al Leong, Teri Weigel, Lisa London, Michael Mikasa
    Year: 1989
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    Savage Beach – Movie Review:

    One of the late, great Andy Sidaris’ finest cinematic achievements follows Donna (Donna Spier) and Taryn (Hope Marie Carlton), two hot secret agents fighting the forces of evil and busting drug lords left, right and center. After another successful day of busting narcotics peddlers, they get assigned to fly an important medical vaccine from one Hawaiian island to another Hawaiian island but a nasty storm comes up while they are en route and they have to make an emergency landing.

    Meanwhile, a bad guy is out to find a stash of gold that has mysteriously gone missing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean – this happened when the Japanese sunk the ship that was carrying it during the Second World War. Using satellite surveillance systems, he and his nefarious evildoer companions eventually track the booty to a location known as Savage Beach (hence, the title). This just so happens to be where Donna and Taryn have landed their plane. When Donna and Taryn find out that the no-goodniks are out to steal the gold, they take it upon themselves to make sure it gets back to its rightful owner and stop them all dead in their tracks.

    Action is mandatory, clothing is optional.

    To complicate matters, an old Japanese soldier (Michael Mikasa), who has been stranded on the island for the last four decades or so, is running around doing his thing as well. Oh, and Teri Weigel plays a villain and at one point Lisa London show up here too!

    Sidaris has worked with Spier and Carlton a few times by this point, and their work together always makes for good entertainment. Having seen the results of their collaborative efforts in Hard Ticket To Hawaii in 1987 and Picasso Trigger in 1988, it’s no wonder he teamed up with the lovely former Playboy Playmates for a third round. These girls are really good at running around in little to no clothing and shooting bad guys, and in Sidaris’ world, those are star qualities. Savage Beach manages to outdo both of their earlier efforts in both the sex and violence departments and, while there are no radioactive toilet snakes in this film, the results are spectacular in that the movie is a non-stop barrage of explosions, shoot outs, and nudity – in short, it’s the stuff that exploitation movie dreams are made of.

    That being said, like most of Sidaris’ films, Savage Beach does have some very solid production values. The movie looks very good, there’s been some obvious care and effort put into the cinematography, beautiful Hawaiian locations and sets. There are also a lot of rad, well executed explosions in the film that add to the excitement and the fun. The stunts, while not of vintage Jackie Chan caliber, are also pretty exciting and the man knows how to cut the fat off of his films. Savage Beach is one lean and mean movie from start to finish.

    Savage Beach – Blu-ray Review:

    Savage Beach arrives on a 50GB Blu-ray disc framed at 1.85.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taken from a new 4k restoration provided by AGFA and it looks quite strong. The feature takes up just under 28GBs of space on the disc. Colors are nice, especially in the film’s many brightly lit outdoor scenes, while black levels are solid too. Skin tones look nice and natural and the whole thing feels appreciably filmic in its look and feel. There are no noticeable issues with any edge enhancement or noise reduction. Some minor print damage does show up here and there but it’s tiny stuff, not distracting at all, though some obvious compression artifacts do appear throughout.

    The DTS-HD 2.0 audio track does what it can with the limitations of the source material. Dialogue is clean and clear and properly balanced but there’s a bit of flatness to the audio that, no doubt, stems back to the original recording. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and optional subtitles are provided in English.

    Aside from a two-minute introduction with Sidaris and Julie Strain, the main extra on the disc is an audio commentary, which is fairly scene specific. They talk about how they got the interesting look that used in the opening scene and how they saved money doing it the way they did, shooting the opening scene at Coconut Beach in Hawaii, using the boom man and prop master to play the villains in the opening scene, how Michael Shane enjoyed looking at women’s boobs on the shoot, the trouble some of the actresses had driving a stick shift, running into problems with an actor’s contact lenses, how and why Andy opted to use a specific black and white screen in pretty much all of this movies, shooting the airplane sequence for less than a thousand bucks, how some of the areas where the movie was shot have been developed over the years, the importance of using ‘beautiful ladies with decent American breasts’ in his film, using a tiny patch of planted bamboo to double for a jungle and lots, where Arlene managed to get good sandwiches during the shoot and lots more. These two have a lot of fun looking back at the making of the picture and the commentary is both interesting and entertaining.

    Additionally, the disc includes a forty-four-minute behind the scenes piece that replays material from the introduction before then showing off various behind the scenes clips and clips from the films all with Sidaris chiming in as needed. There are some interesting cast and crew interviews here and plenty of material from his other films too. Strain vamps it up here a lot, and she does a good job of it, and it’s fun to see she and Sidaris goofing around the way that they do here (“those poor flat chested girls, I don’t know how they made it into our movies”). Andy and Arlene comment over some behind the scenes footage from Return To Savage Beach (?), talking about getting some of the gear to the locations that they used, how certain shots were setup and why they were setup that way, dealing with miniatures and how his actresses might not be in Ethyl Barrymore’s class but how they definitely look better in a G-string then she did. “You can’t not like beautiful women and explosions… if you don’t, then you’re a communist.” Oh, and before it’s all over we get an archival clip with Joe Bob Briggs talking about how great Sidaris’ movies are.

    Rounding out the extras are trailers for a host of Malibu Bay productions like Malibu Express, Hard Ticket to Hawaii, Picasso Trigger, Savage Beach, Guns, Do Or Die, Hard Hunted, Fit to Kill, Enemy Gold, The Dallas Connection, Day of the Warrior and Return to Savage Beach. Menus and chapter selection options are also provided. All of the extras included on the disc are carried over from the older DVD releases.

    Savage Beach – The Final Word:

    Savage Beach is one of those consummate Andy Sidaris movies, a picture that offers up the director’s trademark formula of bullets, bombs and babes in healthy, sometimes surgically augmented, doses. Lots of action, some good humor and plenty of foxy ladies make this one a lot of fun to watch. It’s well-paced and really nicely shot too. Mill Creek Entertainment has done a very nice job bringing this one to Blu-ray, with a nicely restored transfer, fine lossless audio and all of the extras from the old DVD release carried over. Recommended!

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

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      Watched this and Picasso Trigger on tuesday and was very pleased with the PQ on both.

      I had my doubts when Mill Creek announced blus for the Sidaris stuff but bravo for them.

      Glad they including the commentaries and other extras from the first DVD releases.
    1. Fundi's Avatar
      Fundi -
      "the disc is free of obvious compression artifacts."

      "obvious compression artifacts do appear throughout."

      Huh? so it's got lots of compression artifacts or not?
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      It has them yeah, you can see them in some of the caps.