Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for January 24th, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes a Jackie Chan collection, Belly on UHD, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
The Jackie Chan Collection – Vol. 1 1976-1982 [Shout Factory]
What is it? Seven Jackie Chan films from 76 to 82.
Why see it? The seven films here are The Killer Meteors, Shaolin Wooden Men, To Kill with Intrigue, Snake & Crane: Arts of Shaolin, Dragon Fist, Battle Creek Brawl, and Dragon Lord. While it’s true that none sit among Chan’s finest work, there’s fun to be had here exploring the man’s early years. And I’d add that Dragon Lord is actually pretty great despite being seen as a bomb back in Hong Kong. The action and comedy blend well, and some of the fights are legit bangers. Battle Creek Brawl also delivers some minor fun as Chan’s first attempt at entering the American market. Each film gets its own Blu-ray disc, and they’re housed well in a snapcase with individual trays. Shout made the unfortunate choice of authoring audio/subtitle options so that they can only be chosen from the main menu, but it’s a minor issue. Again, these aren’t Chan’s best, but at this price the set is a great way to collect and seek out his earlier films with solid presentations. Bring on Volume Two!
[Extras: Documentary, commentaries, interviews]
Belly [4K UHD]
What is it? Two best friends, in too deep.
Why see it? Movies about bad guys living life on the edge and eventually falling off are nothing new, but writer/director Hype Williams delivers a take that stands apart. It’s not necessarily the best of the subgenre — its story beats are maybe a bit too familiar for that to be the case — but Williams makes it his own with a stylish, visually unforgettable journey into a lifestyle few of us will thankfully ever know. Light, color, and darkness bring stark life to set pieces ranging from the mundane to the elevated. Rappers DMX and Nas play the leads, and neither talent embarasses themself. The film’s visuals take full advantage of the new 4K transfer deliver a rich, sharp picture.
[Extras: Commentary, deleted scene, music video]
The Dentist Collection [Vestron Video]
What is it? A dentist goes mad, just as you expect they all eventually do.
Why see it? Did I know there was a sequel to The Dentist? I did not. Neither movie is great shakes, but both deliver some messy, deranged fun alongside some truly effective practical fx. We all share nightmares about dental visits, and director Brian Yuzna plays off that well here with some interior mouth shots of teeth and gums being sliced, chiseled, and utterly destroyed. Corbin Bernsen sells the maniacal madness and disintegration of sanity and truly gives his all to the role. This new Vestron line continues to be a fantastic value, and at this price for both films — restored and loaded with extras — you really can’t go wrong.
[Extras: Commentaries, interviews]
What is it? A period rock opera, of a sort.
Why see it? Masaaki Yuasa has directed some highly acclaimed animated films (The Night is Short Walk on Girl, Japan Sinks, Devilman: Crybaby), and his latest sees that trend continue. The film brings together two disparate characters. One is a young man cursed through no fault of his own, and the other is an older priest haunted by choices in his past. Together they discover a gift of music and dance that brings joy to all, but it also brings unwanted attention. The story is engaging enough, but Yuasa captures the senses with beautiful animation and electric showcase for the ears.
[Extras: Interview, Q&A, featurette]
What is it? Santa Claus interrupts a kidnapping.
Why see it? The conceit here is a masterclass in taking a one note, high concept idea and executing it beautifully across the board. Santa is delivering presents when a little girl and her family fall victim to a home invasion. Of course he steps up to help out! David Harbour is having a blast as Santa, and John Leguizamo is equally blitzed and riding high as the lead villain. Bloody kills, exciting action beats, and a dark sense of humor go a long way in delivering a fun time.
[Extras: Deleted scenes, featurettes]
Nothing to see here!
Also out this week:
Death Wish [4K UHD], Freaky [4K UHD], Goodbye Mr. Chips [Warner Archive], The Last American Virgin, The Long Long Trailer [Warner Archive], Mindcage, This is Not a Burial It’s a Resurrection, Wife Versus Secretary [Warner Archive]
Related Topics: Home Video