Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 24th, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1984
Director: Lamberto Bava
Writers: Lamberto Bava, Luca De Rita, Massimo De Rita, Morando Morandini Jr., Dardano Sacchetti
Cast: Michael Sopkiw, Valentina Forte, George Eastman, Stefano Mingardo, Ottaviano Dell’Acqua, Massimo Vanni, Michele Soavi
BluRay released: September 14th, 2015
Approximate running times: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: LPCM Mono English
BluRay Release: 88 Films
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £14.99
Synopsis: After finishing an eight year prison term for killing the man who murdered his wife, a former policeman named Jake ‘Tiger’ Sharp decides to retreat from society and stay in remote cabin in the woods. What starts off as a peaceful existence quickly turns violent when he crosses paths with deer poachers. Shortly thereafter Jake’s estranged daughters’ shows up out of the blue and while they are trying heal their relationship, the conflict with the poachers escalates when they kill one Jake’s friend. Now face with the possibility of going to prison the poachers decide to eliminate Jack and his daughter permanently!
Blasterfighter was co-written and directed by by Lamberto Bava whose other notable films include, Macabre, Devil Fish, Demons and Demons 2. Key collaborators on Blasterfighter include cinematographer Gianlorenzo Battaglia (Formula for Murder, Midnight Killer) and composer Fabio Frizzi (The Psychic, The Beyond).
Blastfighter was originally supposed to be directed by Lucio Fulci who passed on the film for I guerrieri dell’anno 2072 aka New Gladiators. Also content wise Blastfighter was originally intended to be a Sci-Fi and this is why the film has a Sci-Fi sounding title. And once Lamberto Bava took over the film it would get a complete makeover. With the film that was to resemble Mad Max now looking like a Deliverance clone with a little bit of Rambo thrown in for good measure.
And though he spent the majority of his career in the Horror / Thriller genres. Blastfighter is a crystal clear example that Lamberto Bava was more than a one trick pony. Right from the get go he establishes a tension that maintains and builds to a fever pitch by the jaw dropping finale. Also when it comes to the character he does a good job introducing characters back-stories, especially in regards to this film’s protagonist Jake ‘Tiger’ Sharp. With said flashback sequences ranking among some of the best moments he has ever captured on film. Another area where this film and its director constantly exceeded expectations are the action set pieces.
From a performance stand point the entire cast are great in their respective roles. Headlining the action extravaganza is Michael Sopkiw in the role of this film’s protagonist, Jake ‘Tiger’ Sharp. And performance wise he delivers what is arguably his best performance of his short-lived career as actor. Besides this film he would appear in three other films, 2019: After the Fall of New York, Devil Fish and Massacre in Dinosaur Valley. Another performance of note is Stefano Mingardo (The Raiders of Atlantis) in the role of the ringleader of locales that are at constant odds with the protagonist. He delivers a memorable performance where his characters pride ultimately brings about his own demise. Overall Blastfighter is a classic example of Italian genre cinema clicking on cylinders.
Blastfighter comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Details generally look crisp, colors and flesh tones look accurate. These are positive aspects of this transfer, while the negative ones are weak black levels, mild compression issues and noticeable DNR that varies in degree throughout. Overall this is 88 Films weakest transfer to date for their Italian cinema line.
This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English. There are no issues with background noise or distortion and dialog always comes through clearly. Everything sounds balanced and range wise thing hold up very well, especially during the more action oriented moments.
Extras for this release include trailers for Night Train Murders, Spasmo, The Bloodstained Shadow and Zombie Holocaust, a collector’s poster card, reversible cover art option and an interview with Cinematographer Gianlorenzo Battaglia (12 minutes 36 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles).
Topics discussed in the interview with Gianlorenzo Battaglia include, how Rambo and Deliverance influenced Blastfighter, how the film was shot mostly on location over a five / six week period, how they overcame any difficulties that arose during the making of the film and other production related topics.
Overall Blasterfighter gets a serviceable audio / video presentation from 88 Films.