DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Razor Blade Smile

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Osadciw, Sep 23, 2005.

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  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Michael Osadciw
    [​IMG]

    RAZOR BLADE SMILE





    Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Film Year: 1998

    U.S. Rating: Not Rated
    Canadian Rating: Not Rated

    Film Length: 98 minutes
    Genre: Horror

    Aspect Ratio:[*] 4:3 letterboxed at 1.85:1
    Colour/B&W: Colour

    Audio:[*] English [​IMG] [​IMG] 5.1 Surround[*] English [​IMG] [​IMG] 2.0 Surround
    Subtitles: none

    [​IMG] [​IMG]





    Release Date: September 20, 2005.


    Entertainment Rating: [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Starring: Eileen Daly (Lilith Silver), Christopher Adamson (Sethan Blake), Jonathan Coote (Detective Inspector Price), Kevin Howarth (Platinum)

    Written by: Jake West
    Directed by: Jake West



    If you were a Vampire, one of the undead sentenced to live for all eternity, what the hell are you going to do for all of that time? Feed on people’s blood is a given as you need that to survive, but between meals what would you do to bide your time? For Lilith Silver, a sexy vampire whose human life should have been ended in the 19th Century, she’s adapted well with the times. Given that a bullet can’t stop her, she’s decided to become a deadly assassin who is virtually unstoppable. It’s a great job for her and keeps her employed, though I highly doubt she’s paying taxes on her earnings.

    Between hits she spends time in the Transylvania bar with a bunch of wanna-be vampires. They don’t know she’s a vampire but at least she feels a little at home. Lilith is also able to control her cravings for blood so she’s able to make good relationships with people – even with her lover and boss, Platinum. He assigns her work, and the latest contract is to assassinate the “Illuminati” – an underground sect whose power is attained through technological and supernatural powers (something that isn’t made too clear in the movie).

    The fun is over for Lilith and she raises the body count as Platinum is kidnapped by this sect because of a little error in the previous job. She may be a seductress and a vampire but she’s not perfect. At least this girl has determination; she decides she won’t let anything get past her to save Platinum – police detectives or Illuminati grunts. It will be risky, but is this all fun for her in her quest to be entertained? According to Lilith, and I quote, we “don’t know f*ck-all about vampires”. None of that Hollywood mumbo-jumbo is true. Here, she tries to give us a little clarity of her life in Scotland...


    [​IMG]VIDEO QUALITY
    [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I was originally going to be generous to the picture quality on this DVD, but then I thought “what makes this title more important than others to receive a generous rating?” My answer was “nothing”. For those of you with smaller video displays that are 4:3 and interlaced, the video quality may look OK. But for those of us who use large video displays, the image is unacceptable.

    The first problem is that the video is a full-frame presentation that has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 to show the intended ratio (the package only says full-frame so I thought it was going to be 1.33:1). For those of us using widescreen displays we have a choice to watch this windowboxed (blackout area on all four sides) or zoomed in on the widescreen image with a heavy loss of resolution. I hate zooming in so I chose to watch this windowboxed and downsized on my screen. The second problem is how this movie was sourced. It appears Anchor Bay has taken this from a limited resolution PAL convert. I not 100% sure, but just by looking at it, the job literally looks like “a copy” that anyone could have done with a DVD burner. The black level is fairly high and it has a particular problem that I sometimes see with videotape. Sorry for being vague, but I don’t know what it’s called.

    Anyways, the colours look muted (like watching PAL programming) even though there is extensive use of colours – it unfortunately just seems lost in the translation to NTSC. I didn’t see any other kind of artefacts other than dirt on the original print.


    [​IMG]AUDIO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is very impressive! Active use of all channels throughout the movie makes it very engaging and enjoyable to watch. There are always sounds in the soundfield coming from all directions. I congratulate the makers for making this film a very immersive experience. There is plenty of bass and midrange and dialogue doesn’t sound forward. Even the high frequencies are tame. Sometimes sound effects like gun shots sound limited in dynamic range, but that doesn’t take away too much from the excitement the soundtrack delivers. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround option available so there is no compromise to the 5.1 soundtrack for downmixing.


    [​IMG]SPECIAL FEATURES [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    An audio commentary from Jake West and Eileen Daly can be heard throughout the film. A 58-minute documentary of the film titled The Slices of Life is also worth checking out. The outtakes on this disc are a little boring though, they really aren’t that funny, or maybe they weren’t intended to be for the 8 minutes I watched them. There is also almost nine minutes of deleted and extended scenes; some don’t have audio and some just have a music score. Both the outtakes and deleted scenes are in full-frame with no letterboxing and the deleted scenes have the TCR up top.

    Lastly, the theatrical trailer can be seen with some CG test shots that weren’t included in the film, as well as without those test shots. There also some other trailers on this disc; 6 of Manga films and 3 from Anchor Bay.


    IN THE END…

    This is an interesting take on the life of a vampire in the modern day. It has some good ideas and a head-strong female lead. It doesn’t have the flair of Hollywood films and that was the point of this movie. It’s different and I know there are many of you out there looking for just that.

    Michael Osadciw
    05.09.23
     
  2. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Michael,

    Thanks for the review. It actually answered a lot of the questions I had about the aspect ratio and the video quality. Thankfully, I didn't open this DVD up, even with it being relatively cheap through Deep Discount DVDs Anchor Bay Halloween sale, its going back.

    No sale. [​IMG] Anchor Bay and Manga.
     
  3. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    I enjoyed this movie when I saw it a few years ago. This is very disappointing about the PQ. I expected much better from Anchor Bay. I think I'll pass on this one.
     
  4. Jeffrey Nelson

    Jeffrey Nelson Screenwriter

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    This film was just another no-budget amateurish time-waster, though it was a bit better than your average J. R. Bookwalter epic. Even so, too bad the transfer is so substandard. Is it just me, or has Anchor Bay's quality gone down the tubes as of late? Misflagged DVDs of two Argento films have recently been released that don't play properly on progressive displays.
     
  5. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    I was wondering this as well, but I couldn't entirely fault them because I wasn't sure what involvement this Manga company had on the release of the new Razor Blade Smile DVD. I wonder if we're starting to see the effects of their acquistion and Lustig's leaving?

    BTW, I was unaware of the issues with the two Argento films. I was going to pick them up, but was over-budget on DVDs that month, come to think of it, that's every month. [​IMG]

    Anyway, how responsive they are to correct those discs should be a good indicator of what direction Anchor Bay is headed. The old AB would've taken care of something like that lickity split.
     

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