• TC 2000 (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: November 27th, 2020.
    Director: T.J. Scott
    Cast: Billy Blanks, Jalal Merhi, Bolo Yeung, Bobbie Phillips, Matthias hues, Kelly Gallant
    Year: 1993
    Purchase From Vinegar Syndrome

    TC 2000 – Movie Review:

    A Shapiro Glickenhaus production that is every bit as wonderfully dumb as it sounds, 1993’s TC 2000, directed by T.J. Scott (who has gone no to a very respectable career directing a lot of A-list television shows in the last twenty-five years or so), takes place in the distant dystopian future of the year 2020 full of really tough guys where shirts are optional.

    The story revolves around a tough guy cop - or technically a Tracker Communicator - named Jason Storm (Billy Blanks) who is partnered with the foxy Zoey Kinsella (Bobbie Phillips). Their job is to patrol the wasteland above ground and ensure that any of the riff raff that has survived whatever apocalypse has run rampant on the Earth's surface do not make their way to the underground where they wealthy have now taken over.

    When a criminal from the surface world named Niki Picasso (Jalal Merhi) sneaks his way underground to swipe some weapons, Zoey gets killed in the ensuing fray. This doesn't last too long, however, as Zoey is soon brought back to life as a cyborg dubbed TC 2000 X! See, the rich guy that employs Jason and Zoey, he’s named Bigalow (Matthias Hues), figures he use her cybernetic hotness to head up the surface world and kill off any troublemakers.

    When Jason starts to question all of this, he's basically excommunicated and sent above ground. Here he meets Master Sumai (Bolo Yeung), who teaches him a whole bunch of martial arts techniques, most of which involve kicking things. He also witnesses firsthand the struggles that those who live above ground deal with in order to get the supplies they need. The bad guy boss then sends his killing machine up to the surface world to take care of business, and much kicking ensues, and there’s a plot with some sort of device that’s going to kill everyone off and… well, the plot really comes second in this picture.

    There’s a whole lot of low budget sci-fi silliness going on here but TC 2000 is, because of or in spite of that, a pretty entertaining way to kill ninety-five minutes in front of your television set thanks primarily to a pretty solid cast. Blanks struts his stuff as the lead hero, showing off his moves with style and rocking a great early nineties flattop hairstyle too. Bobbie Phillips is a stone cold fox, but she too handles herself really well in the fight scenes, giving it her all and doing a fine job here. Hues throws his weight around pretty effectively and, of course, Bolo steals every scene that he’s in, showing the westerners how some serious ass kicking gets done. The fact that none of these people can really act doesn’t matter, because this movie isn’t interested in acting, it is interested in fighting, and it offers up a lot of fighting, most of which is pretty well done.

    Production values? A closed down Gardiner Expressway makes for a decent enough post-apocalyptic highway and the factory locations where a lot of the movie takes place look right for the film somehow. The costumes were clearly made very cheaply, lots of plastic and studs and pleather on display, and the vehicles don’t exactly rise to the Mad Max standard of awesome, but the picture moves quickly and will easily provide those with a taste for B-grade Canuxploitation and action with a quick, easy fix.

    TC 2000 – Blu-ray Review:

    TC 2000 arrives on a 50GB region free Blu-ray disc with an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen newly scanned and restored in 4k from its original 35mm negative and taking up 28.1GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Picture quality is fantastic, the colors really pop throughout the movie and the black levels are inky and deep. Skin tones look spot on and the image is pretty much spotless, preserving the grain but showing virtually no print damage. Detail, depth and texture are impressive in pretty much every frame and really, it’s hard to imagine the movie looking any better than it does here.

    The English language 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track, which comes with optional English subtitles, sounds very good. There are no problems to note with any hiss or any distortion, dialogue is crisp and clear and both the effects and the score all sound very good.

    The main extra is a commentary track from producer/actor Jalal Merhi and actor Billy Blanks that goes into detail on the Toronto locations, the analogue nature of the production, where the different actors came from, staging the different fight scenes, how lucky they were to get access to the locations that they used in the movie, how much they enjoyed playing their respective roles, the conspiracy elements in the story, using football players and wrestlers in certain smaller roles, the film's twenty-four day shooting schedule and shooting pickups. Merhi does a lot more talking here than Blanks, who seems to be further away from the mic and is a little harder to hear. The track is a bit on the slow side with some dead air in the latter half, but the first half of the track has some decent information in it.

    As far as featurettes go, first up is An Orgy Of Action, which is an interview with Merhi that runs for eleven minutes. Here he speaks about his role as both producer and star in the film, how the projected started as Tiger Claws 2, how the producers asked to make it more futuristic and revised the story to work, setting the feature in the future of 2020 (despite the movie being called TC 2000), working with T.J. Scott, casting the film and how he got along with his co-stars, how he enjoyed playing the villain and how having an accent as he does works in your favor, shooting the film in Toronto, training with Blanks and Bolo and how the film was received when it was released.

    Jason Takes The Underworld interviews Blanks for ten minutes. He covers how he got his start in martial arts as a kid, getting into competitive karate and going professional and then retiring. He notes that he had just had a knee operation when it was time to make the film, making his first film appearance in the film, his friendship with Merhi, working along Bolo which was a big deal to him, getting along with the rest of the cast, having dyslexia and the challenges that brought to learning his lines and how patient Scott was, the difficulties of staging the fight scenes in the factory locations, his thoughts on the marketing of the film and how he feels that Blade copied a lot from this movie.

    There are also two archival EPK featurettes here, the first of which is an interview featurette that runs nine minutes and features interviews with Merhi, Scott, Blanks, Bobbie Phillips and Matthias Hues. The second EPK is a selection of behind the scenes footage that runs just under four minutes and showcases some of the action scenes in the movie.

    Menus and chapter selection are also provided.

    As far as the packaging goes, Vinegar Syndrome offers this release, part of their VSU limited edition line, (limited to 5,000 copies and not to be re-pressed) with a hand numbered bottom loading slipcover, a reversible cover sleeve and a double-sided poster.

    TC 2000 – The Final Word:

    TC 2000 is a top-notch B-grade action/sci-fi hybrid made with a fair bit of style and a really strong cast. Lots of fun to be had here for those who value action over acting, as the emphasis here is more on the fighting than the thesping, but it’s well paced and plenty entertaining. Vinegar Syndrome’s limited edition Blu-ray release looks fantastic and offers some choice supplements as well. A very solid package for a really enjoyable movie.

    Click on the images below for full sized TC 2000 Blu-ray screen caps!