• Do Or Die (Mill Creek Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: September 17th, 2019.
    Director: Andy Sidaris
    Cast: Pat Morita, Erik Estrada, Dona Speir, Roberta Vasquez, Bruce Penhall, Cynthia Brimhall, Pandora Peaks
    Year: 1991
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    Do Or Die – Movie Review:

    Two undercover Federal Agents – Donna Hamilton (Dona Spier) and Nicole Justin (Roberta Vasequez) – are at a charity fundraiser where an attempt to kidnap them is made by a criminal mastermind named Masakana "Kane" Kaneshiro (Pat Morita). They escape the fundraiser and travel back to their base of operations where they promptly get naked and jump into the hot tub together. As those familiar with Donna Hamilton’s earlier Sidaris films may already know, it’s where she does some of her best thinking. When they split and go for a ride in their red jeep, Kane’s men travel by helicopter and catch up to them all while Evil Miyagi is rubbing down a hot Asian chick back at his fancy abode.

    See, it turns out that rather than just simply have these two agents killed, which would make the most sense, Kane has instead kinda-sorta set them free. He does this so that he can announce to everyone he can that he’s going to send the best assassins on the planet out into the world to kill them for him. It gives them a sporting chance and allows him to get back to doing what he does best – rigging the stock market and massaging and/or being massaged by attractive Asian women like Silk (Carolyn Liu).

    At any rate, six teams of hired killers head out to take down Donna and Nicole. You’d think they’d be outgunned and outnumbered, like to get killed off – but nope, they’ve got an ace up their collective sleeve in the form of a comrade at arms named Richard "Rico" Estevez (Erik Estrada). One by one, our trio of good guys outsmarts and outfights the bad guys hot on their tail. Some of these bad guys ride Jetskis. Along the way, we meet a cat named ‘Cat,’ enjoy some sexy lingerie dancing at a redneck bar called Cowboys and spend a little bit of time with Pandora Peaks, the starlet immortalized in Russ Meyer’s final film entitled… Pandora Peaks. If you’ve never seen Pandora Peaks the movie, it’s basically just footage of Pandora Peaks the woman wandering around talking about things like exercise equipment with occasional narration from Meyer that doesn’t make much sense. It isn’t his finest moment and her breasts are ridiculous, something that wasn’t lost on fellow tit aficionado Sidaris, who made damn sure Ms. Peaks’ peaks were featured prominently in this picture as well. Oh, and later in the film there are ninjas sent in as well.

    The first time I watched Andy Sidaris’ 1991 epic, Do Or Die, I was drunk by myself and jotted down the following observations and comments (some of which are definitely spoilery, so skip past them if you’re concerned about such things):

    -Computer technology in the films of the late, great Andy Sidaris can offer a stunning glimpse into the future. Also, boobs and explosions and copious amounts of Erik Estrada.
    -Whoever did the wardrobe in Do Or Die deserves an Oscar. Musical number? Oh yeah! Pat Morita? Damn! Helicopters. A cane that is a rocket launcher. 80s lingerie is great but terrible. My wife is sleeping through this. Her loss, more wine for me.
    -Worst Cajun accents ever.
    -Pat Morita is rigging the American stock market. He is also skilled in the art of erotic massage. Hear that, ladies?
    -There is a lot of Michelob in this movie.
    -The Harley turned motorboat in Snake Eater was better than any boat in this movie. Pat Morita just made a boner joke.
    -The films of Hitchcock, Welles, Chabrol, Kurosawa, Scorsese, Fellini and many others sit from me a mere three feet from where I lay, and yet I choose Sidaris. Why? Gratuitous nudity, whiskey, explosions.... Bad fashions. Hot tubs. Girls in hot tubs. But mostly because Do Or Die provides the rare opportunity to see Estrada dressed in yellow and brown demonstrating his juggling skills.
    -Dirt bikes! My mom did not want me to have a dirt bike as a kid and this movie makes a good case for that. It is all too easy to drive through a window on one and then wind up in a fight with Erik Estrada. Hint... Estrada wins. Every single time. Should have thrown him a slider, hahaha.
    -Pat Morita: "Silk. Tea. Bedroom." Chick who goes to Pat Morita's bedroom: "He does his best thinking there."
    -Too much denim. Horrible, horrible boob job, but acid washed jeans tucked into Payless brand cowboy boots? Ohhhhh yeah.
    -But oh my goodness... Assassins on jet skis! Dude just shot a duck for no reason!
    -Estrada: "we've got to get out of here... This location is just too hot." Then he puts on an orange turtleneck and gets his gun.
    -"I'm not about to sit in the corner like a good little girl while you try to tell me what hat to wear." Take that, sexist dude!
    -Pat Morita proposes one to one hand to hand combat.
    -You're either in, or you're in the way. Way to rip off Duke Mitchell....
    -Erik Estrada is making love... In a hot tub. Amazing. We could all learn from this. So tender... So giving... Oooo.... Under water.
    -Dirt Bikes! Ninjas!
    -Ninja: 'I don't know you... Who are you?' Chick: 'I'm Batman.' WHAT?
    -Estrada has a purple shirt... Taking out ninjas with a rocket firing remote control helicopter!
    -Pat Morita is pissed off, he's grunting.
    -The microchip has been put inside the big purple crystal and given to Pat Morita... She tells him it will protect his soul.
    -Estrada has a polka dot tie. Suave.
    -"I can't get over it, I shot a duck."
    -The end. Ha, that makes no sense. The soundtrack for the end credits reminds me of Cotton Eye Joe.

    Like a lot of Sidaris’ films, this one globe trots a bit – we spend some time in Hawaii and we spend some time in Las Vegas and we spend some time in Texas. And, like a lot of Andy Sidaris’ films, this one is padded with some softcore sex and some remote control vehicle attacks. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it and Andy’s formula wasn’t broke by this point. Do Or Die is a ridiculous film, a truly ridiculous film, but so too is it a lot of fun. Estrada seems to be having a blast here, clearing enjoying every second of his time in front of the camera and hamming it up just enough to make it work. Pat Morita gives it his all, playing his role completely seriously and never coming across as anything less than a seriously good actor despite the nonsensical material he’s been given to work with. Spier and Vasquez are as wooden here as they are in the other films they made for the director but they weren’t hired for their acting abilities so no one will likely complain all that much. The whole thing is done with such a silly, playful demeanor that you can’t help but have a good time with it. The pacing is solid, the cinematography glossy, the plot nonsensical and the boobs quite plentiful. The film also marks Ava Cadell’s first appearance in the Sidarisverse, cast here as a sexy female assassin. Fans of Sidaris’ films will recognize this former page 3 girl and Oui Magazine centerfold from future entries like Hard Hunted, Fit To Kill and L.E.T.H.A.L. Ladies Return To Savage Beach. Gorgeous Playmate and Sidaris regular Cynthia Brimhall also appears in the film and, not only that, she sings a song on the soundtrack as well.

    Do Or Die – Blu-ray Review:

    Do Or Die 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 really nice. The feature takes up just under 29GBs of space on the disc. Colors are nice and black levels are also strong. The greens of the Hawaiian scenes look particularly lush. The film’s many, many skin tones look nice and natural. There are no noticeable issues with any edge enhancement or noise reduction and the disc is free of obvious compression artifacts. There isn’t much in the way of print damage at all either, a few white specks now and then but unless you’re looking for them for the purpose of writing an anal retentive review, you’re not going to even notice them. All in all, a very solid picture.

    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 and both the score and the effects work all sound just fine. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and optional subtitles are provided in English.

    Aside from a quick introduction with Sidaris and Julie Strain (who appears in most of the intros on Sidaris’ releases whether she had anything to do with the movie in question or not), the main extra on the disc is an audio commentary courtesy of Andy and Arlene Sidaris. They start off by talking about why it’s one of their favorites before then explaining how they wound up using the luau that is featured in the opening scene. They then go on to talk about what Vasquez and Spier, who they’d worked with before, brought to the film as well as what it was like to work with Pat Morita and Erik Estrada on this film. There’s talk about the gadgets that are featured in the picture, what the story was based on, using screen projection in a couple of scenes to save money, how they were able to tie a few locations together in editing by using a prop, the use of computers in the film, the intricacies of shooting Ava Cadell’s ass, how and why remote control airplanes play such a bit part in the picture and the art of blowing things up on screen. Lots of talk about the locations that are used in the picture, what we can learn from the scenes where Morita is sensually massaged, how their films differ from studio productions, shooting the Jetski sequences, the fight choreography in the picture and lots more. Like all of the commentary tracks that these two did together, it’s a lot of fun to listen to and quite informative.

    Additionally, the disc includes a making of featurette with Andy that runs thirty-eight-minutes. Joined once again by Julie Strain, Sidaris talks about loading up the DVD releases with extras so that fans will buy all of the discs and basically, by going through those extras, attend Andy Sidaris film school! From there, we get a bunch of video footage from Hard Hunted shot during the making of the picture in Arizona, that’s narrated by Andy and Arlene. From there, Andy shows how some action scenes from Return To Savage Beach were shot, where they speak about shooting chase scenes, flight scenes, fights, shoot outs and more. There’s also some footage of the Sidaris’ with Job Bob Briggs cut into here as well as more dailies and behind the scenes footage and continuity camera footage from different productions (none of which are Do Or Die).

    Rounding out the extras are trailers for a host of Malibu Bay productions like Malibu Express, Hard Ticket To Hawaii, Do Or Die, 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.

    Do Or Die – The Final Word:

    Do Or Die is a definite high point in the filmography of the late, great Andy Sidaris – it’s crazy entertaining and just stupid enough to work. Erik Estrada, Pat Morita and ninjas? Explosions? Boobs? Weird weapons and exotic scenery? It’s all here and the Blu-ray from Mill Creek looks and sounds very nice. On top of that, it carries over all of the extra features from the previous special edition DVD release. Highly recommended!

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

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      LMAO at the "observations. Good stuff.

      Never seen "Sidarisverse" used before. Awesome.

      DO OR DIE might be my favorite Sidaris film. Looking forward to seeing it in HD.
    1. chriszilla's Avatar
      chriszilla -
      I second the commendation for "Sidarisverse", and hereby vow to make a good faith effort to use the term on a regular basis for the rest of my life!