• Blind Fury (Mill Creek Entertainment) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Mill Creek Entertainment
    Released on: January 12th, 2021.
    Director: Phillip Noyce
    Cast: Rutger Hauer, Terry O’Quinn, Brandon Call, Meg Foster, Sho Kosugi
    Year: 1989
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    Blind Fury – Movie Review:

    Australian director Phillip Noyce (who broke through with Dead Calm then rose to the top with Patriot Games) helms this Rutger Hauer starring action movie. The film is, at its core, a remake of an early Zatoichi film, the long running samurai series made famous by Shintaro Katsu and semi-recently revitalized (some may say bastardized… but I digress!) in the land of the rising sun by Takashi Kitano.

    Hauer plays Nick Parker, a man who served his country in Vietnam and was blinded during a fire fight. Some local villagers take him in and help him recover from his wounds, but his sight is gone for good. Luckily, those very same villagers also teach Parker how to use a sword and soon he's mastered the techniques which they've instructed him in.

    Parker, no longer missing in action, eventually finds his way back to America. We catch up with him when he's decided to go out and visit an old war buddy named Frank (Terry O'Quinn of Harsh Realm and The X-Files). Nick shows up but finds that Frank has moved off to Reno. While in town though, Parker meets up with Frank's wife Lynn (Meg Foster who earlier starred alongside Hauer in Sam Peckinpah's The Osterman Weekend) and son, Billy (Brandon Call). They've found themselves in some hot water as a hired goon named Slag (Tex Cobb of Ernest Goes To Jail) has come calling for Frank. It seems he owes Slag’s employer, a casino owner in Reno, a big chunk of coin for his gambling debts. When Frank turns up AWOL, he decides to kidnap Billy and hold him hostage so that he can force Frank into making him some fancy narcotics that he can in turn use to pay off his gambling debt. Lynn, sadly, is killed in the fight that ensues.

    Nick vows to protect Billy no matter what, but Slag and the rest of his cronies are going to do everything in their power to grab the kid and exact this evil plan. Parker fights off an army of mullet clad thugs and eventually shows down with Sho Kosugi (Revenge Of The Ninja), dodging bullets and kicking ass in no small quantity along the way.

    While the story is a little farfetched (though no more so than many other action films, really) Hauer does a commendable job in the lead and is reasonably convincing as a blind man. Like its Japanese predecessors, there is some humor interjected into the storyline that is handled well without becoming overbearing or taking over the action sequences. The scene where Parker has to drive a van and ends up doing so down the wrong way of a one-way street is just one example. If Rutger Hauer isn't really known for his comedic timing or slapstick sensibilities, he does a good job with the physical comedy in this film.

    Hauer is likeable in the lead – his character never asks for our sympathy despite his disability, and he proves that his training and his prowess with his caned sword make him more than a match for even the best trained mullet-thug. It's a blast watching him tear through the bad guys and make it look so easy – this is also a testament to the solid direction during the action scenes. The pacing is quick, and while a lot of the time child actors can really mess up an action movie with the 'sap' factor they inevitably bring with them, Brandon Call doesn't do too bad a job in his role. You wind up wanting Parker to make sure he got the job done and make sure that the little guy got out of the evil Slag's clutches safely. Throw in fine supporting work from Meg Foster, Terry O’Quinn and yes, Sho Kosugi (who really has a cameo here more than a proper supporting role) and this one remains a lot of fun. The Reno locations add some nice color to the proceedings as well, and you’ve got to love the fight choreography and stunt work on display here.

    Blind Fury – Blu-ray Review:

    Mill Creek presents Blind Fury in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition presentation framed at 1.85.1 widescreen on a 25GB disc. Though this is taken from an older, existing master it looks pretty decent. Some minor compression artifacts do pop up here and there but the picture is clean, showing no problematic print damage at all. Colors look nice and black levels are pretty decent as well.

    The film is presented in its original English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo mix. Optional English subtitles are provided. The audio is fine. Dialogue remains clean, clear and easy to follow and the levels are properly balanced. Additionally there are no audible problems with any hiss or distortion to report.

    There are no extra features on this disc, just menus and chapter stops. That said, Mill Creek has offered this up in some nice retro VHS style slipcover packaging that is pretty neat.

    Blind Fury - The Final Word:

    Blind Fury holds up well. Rutger Hauer gives a great performance as does his interesting supporting cast and the film does an interesting job of putting a different, updated spin on the Zatoichi mythos so popular in Japanese culture. Mill Creek’s Blu-ray looks and sounds decent enough, and though it’s light on extras, the price is right.

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