• Invaders Of The Lost Gold (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: June 22nd, 2021.
    Director: Alan Birkinshaw
    Cast: Stuart Whitman, Edmund Purdom, Woody Strode, Laura Gemser, Harold Sakata
    Year: 1982
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    Invaders Of The Lost Gold – Movie Review:

    Alan Birkinshaw’s 1982 film Invaders Of The Lost Gold has really only one thing in its favor – it’s made up of an all-star exploitation cast. Harold Sakata (Odd Job from Goldfinger), Stuart Whitman (who appeared alongside an oiled up Lee Van Cleef in Captain Apache and a ton of other b-movies), Woody Strode (Kingdom Of The Spiders, Once Upon A Time In The West) and Laura Gemser (of Joe D’Amato’s Emmanuelle series) all have large roles in the film. For many fans of cult and b-movie cinema, that will be reason enough to want to check it out.

    The story starts off with a bang. A troop of Japanese soldiers in the Philippines during World War II are attacked by a tribe of blood thirsty savages (who, sadly, don’t appear to be cannibals, but rest assured, they are very much savages!). As such, the gold they are escorting through the jungle becomes lost. These things will happen when the savages chop off your troop’s heads.

    Fast forward thirty-six years and an entrepreneurial chap decides to hire on Mark Forrest (Whitman) to lead an expedition consisting of himself, his foxy blonde daughter, his assistant Cal (Strode) and his henchman Tobachi (Sakata) into the jungle to find the gold. This will, if successful, of course make them all fabulously wealthy – but of obviously there’s a certain element of danger involved here.

    Once they’ve arrived, the group meets up with Forrest’s ex-girlfriend Maria (played by Laura Gemser), who five minutes later takes off all her clothes, jumps into a lake for a swim, and dies screaming only to wash up on shore a few minutes later. How or why she dies isn’t important I guess, as we’re never given a reason for it. She just takes off her clothes, goes swimming and starts to scream, but at least she was kind enough to get naked first? Some parts of this movie don’t make sense, and this is one of them.

    Anyway, back to the story. Eventually other members of the crew start getting knocked off, and only Forrest and the foxy blonde daughter make it to the cave. Upon their arrival, they discover that they’ve been double crossed by Forrest’s old partner from back in the day. That’s a bit of a spoiler maybe, but it won’t affect things much.

    This movie is a total mess. The first ten-minutes are great and the last twenty-minutes or so are pretty solid, but the middle drags a bit and there are so many loose ends left dangling that it can really make your head hurt if you try and sort it all out. That being said, it does have a good amount of charm, particularly if you’re a trash film aficionado or a fan of entertaining nonsense. The film’s incoherence, gratuitous nudity and violence do make for a few stand-out moments.

    The cast is a blast to watch here. Whitman and Strode do a great job of throwing their weight around, playing their ‘man’s man’ characters will all of the ridiculous macho attitude you’d want them to. Gemser doesn’t do much except show up, get naked and die, but she does it well while Sakata just sort of hangs out and acts surly.

    Birkinshaw paces the film pretty well and while it was clearly made on a modest budget (the gore effects are loveably cheap), the scenery of The Philippines makes for a good backdrop for this wonky jungle story. If logic isn’t necessarily a requirement in your gory jungle action/adventure pictures, this one can offer plenty of schlocky entertainment.

    Invaders Of The Lost Gold – Blu-ray Review:

    Invaders Of The Lost Gold (which appears on disc using an alternate title card that calls the film ‘GREED’) comes to Blu-ray from Severin Films ‘scanned in 2k for the first time’ in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. Taking up 20.2GBs of space on the 25GB disc, you’ll notice some pretty obvious damage and during the opening and closing credit sequences but the vast majority of footage in between looks quite strong. Colors are handled very nicely here, the greens in the jungle scenes looking pretty lush. Black levels are also fine and skin tones look good.

    The only audio option included here is a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in English, with optional subtitles provided in English SDH only. Audio quality is ok. The mix is a bit flat at times but that’s almost certainly due to the original elements available rather than the disc itself. Otherwise, dialogue is clean, clear and easy to follow and the track is well-balanced.

    The main extra on the disc is Rumble In The Jungle, a new interview with director Alan Birkinshaw that lasts just under seventeen-minutes. He talks about meeting Dick Randall at a film festival and setting up the movie to be made in The Philippines, bringing in a second backer to complete financing, what Randall was like to work with and his work in different genres, what it was like working with the different cast members in the film and the importance of them for marketing the picture, how the movie is actually based on a true story, working on the script with Bill James (who he describes as 'a local fixer'), the intricacies of shooting with a live crocodile, working with a lot of the crew members who had just finished working on Apocalypse Now and why he believes all actors to be crazy.

    Also found on the disc is a selection of outtakes from the documentary feature Machete Maidens Unleashed that features Birkinshaw and Corliss Randall, the wife of producer Dick Randall. There's twenty-two-minutes of material here, the first seventeen covering how Birkinshaw came on board, details of the story, the scope of the production, shooting in The Philippines, getting along with some of the locals, the cast and more. Randall talks about the military trying to get money out of Dick Randall during the shoot and dealing with crime and corruption, how she had a run in with a drunken Stewart Whitman who didn't know his own strength and felt he was slumming in this movie and her thoughts on the quality of her late husband's films.

    Menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    Invaders Of The Lost Gold – The Final Word:

    Invaders Of The Lost Gold is a mish-mash of craziness that should prove interesting to exploitation fans or trashy cult movies. Severin’s Blu-ray offers up a very nice presentation for the feature and a couple of nice featurettes as well. Fun stuff!

    Click on the images below for full sized Invaders Of The Lost Gold Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 1 Comment
    1. jimpickens's Avatar
      jimpickens -
      Going to have to get this one