• Endgame (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: June 25th, 2021.
    Director: Joe D’Amato
    Cast: Al Cliver, Laura Gemser, George Eastman, Dino Conti, Gabriele Tinti, Gordon Mitchell, Bobby Rhodes
    Year: 1983
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    Endgame – Movie Review:

    Made in 1983 for his own Filmirage production company, Joe D’Amato’s Endgame features a mushroom cloud exploding underneath the opening credits, letting us know in no uncertain terms that this movie takes place after a nuclear apocalypse. From there we see a scavenger wipe some rats off of a corpse and drag the body away to eat it. A woman named Lilith (Laura Gemser) shows up and some guys dressed like Nazi's show up looking for her. She hides and they get back into their weird tank/truck, but not before shooting some poor bastard down. Their dialogue lets us know that they're out to eliminate mutants!

    From there we cut to a TV screen where we learn that an event is going on where three hunters will have twenty-four hours to track down their prey, in this case a guy named Ron Shannon (Al Cliver), a seven-time Endgame winner. We see Shannon putting on his makeup, and see that he should probably have asked Ace Frehley permission first.

    From there we meet the hunters - Woody Aldridge (Bobby Rhodes), Gabe Mantrax (Alberto Dell'Asqua) and Kurt Karnack (George Eastman)... and the race is one! Dozens of cameras have been set up to televise the carnage. The general public doesn't realize, however, that the military, led by Colonel Morgan (Gordon Mitchell) is involved in this and are using Endgame as a distraction so that they can continue to get rid of the mutants. Of course, as Shannon makes his way through the city, pursued by hunters, he teams up with Lilith after saving her from some dudes with sores all over their faces. It's here that we learn is a telepathic mutant and therefore someone that the military would like to do away with. Who will survive and what will be left of them?

    D’Amato, credited as Steven Benson, directs with a good knack for pacing. Endgame moves very briskly and while it may be many things, it is never dull. It borrows from the Mad Max and post nuke films that were popular in its day but also throws in elements from films like Escape From New York and… I dunno, is there another film out there where a weird little kid can lift rocks using his brain? Because is there is, this movie borrows from that. The movie is frequently violent and features a couple of alright gore effects. The picture also makes great use of some killer locations and features a great score from Carlo Maria Cordio that adds everything a great score should add to a zany Italian B-movie like this.

    What a cast though! Al Cliver actually looks pretty cool here, with his partial Space Ace makeup job giving him a bit of a disco-warrior vibe. He makes for a pretty cool action here and while sometimes he looks a little sleepy in his movies, this time around he appears fully awake throughout. George Eastman throws his weight around in all the right ways, making quite an impression as Karnack. Bobby Rhodes isn’t given as much to do but he’s also a lot of fun here and Alberto Dell'Asqua, as the film’s requisite martial arts master, is pretty cool to watch. Throw in a supporting role from a stodgy looking Gordon Mitchell and the lovely, but fully clothed, Laura Gemser, as well as a small role for her beau, Gabriele Tinti, and Endgame scores high marks all around.

    Endgame – Blu-ray Review:

    Endgame debuts on Region A Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85:1 widescreen and taking up 29.8GBs on a 50GB disc. Like a lot of Filmirage productions, the picture looks just a tad soft, but it’s probably a pretty safe assumption that this is how it was shot as it isn’t uncommon for their films to have that look. Otherwise, no complains here. Taken from a 2k scan of the original 35mm negative, the image is in great shape, showing very little noticeable print damage at all. Colors are really nicely defined here and we get strong black levels and accurate looking flesh tones. Compression isn’t a problem and the image is free of any noise reduction or edge enhancement problems. All in all, Endgame looks really good on Blu-ray.

    24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono tracks are available in Italian and English with optional English SDH subtitles included that translate the English track, not the Italian one. Aside from the fact that the Italian track isn’t really subtitled, the audio quality here is fine. Both tracks are properly balanced and pretty clean and that awesome Black Inferno disco song that opens and closes the movie sounds appropriately bouncy. No problem with any hiss or distortion here, and the dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow.

    The main extra on the disc is a featurette called After The Bomb, which is an interview with actor Luigi Montefiori, better known as George Eastman, that runs fifteen-minutes. Here, with some help from a sleepy dog, he talks about Mad Max kick started the post-apocalyptic genre and his affinity for the genre. He then talks about working on a story for D'Amato inspired by The Seventh Victim and how that ties into Endgame. He also talks about including the supernatural elements, how he didn't think the movie needed the nastier bits like the corpse eating and how the movie is enjoyable even if he thinks it could have been better edited. He also talks about how much he liked his character and costume in the movie, his feelings on the ending of the movie, getting along well with Cliver, how the fight scenes in the movie aren't so hot, his stuntman's penchant for finding wild mushrooms, memories of the other cast members including Gordon Mitchell, issues he had with D'Amato, shooting in an old abandoned factory and more. It's quite interesting and, as is typical with his interviews, he doesn't mix words.

    Aside from that, we get a trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection, but included inside the keepcase with the Blu-ray disc is the film’s entire soundtrack on CD along with a cardboard postcard-sized insert that has the track listing and credits on one side and some nice one-sheet art on the reverse.

    Endgame – The Final Word:

    If Italian post-nuke films are your bag, then Endgame should be considered essential. It’s ninety-seven-minutes of action-packed stupidity in the best possible way. Severin’s disc isn’t stacked with extras but the interview is great and the soundtrack CD certainly most welcome. The presentation here is pretty strong and the is insanely entertaining.

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