Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 27th, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1986
Director: Charles Bail
Writers: Ovidio G. Assonitis, Alfonso Brescia, Sheila Goldberg
Cast: Stephen Collins, Janet Julian, Bo Svenson, Lance Henriksen, Nicholas Pryor, Victoria Racimo
DVD released: September 1st, 2009
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Choke Canyon was directed by Charles Bail (Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold). The screenplay for Choke Canyon was co-written by Ovidio G. Assonitis (Behind the Door) and Alfonso Brescia (Beast in Space). The cinematographer on Choke Canyon was Dante Spinotti, whose other notable films as a cinematographer includes Manhunter, The Quick and the Dead, Heat, L.A. Confidential and Public Enemies. The generic cliched 1980’s action film score for Choke Canyon was composed by Sylvester Levay. Some other films her wrote scores for include Body Rock, Cobra, Invaders from Mars and Stone Cold. An alternate title that Choke Canyon is also known by is On Dangerous Ground.
Even though the plot is your prototype 1980’s action fare, the picturesque cinematography and the performances from the entire cast take things up a notch. After the main players are established and the physicist’s world is disrupted is when things start to heat up. From here on out the plot moves along at a brisk pace that holds steady until the films finale. The film’s ending while necessary to the evolution of the physicist character it does take away some of the momentum that had been building up to that point. The two performances that standout are Bo Svenson (The Inglorious Bastards) as a character known as the captain and Stephen Collins in the film’s lead role of David Lowell the physicist. One of the film’s more entertaining aspects of Bo Svenson’s character the Captain is continually outsmarted by David Lowell the physicist. The most surprising aspect of this film was just how good Stephen Collins was in role of David Lowell the physicist. He more than holds his own during the films numerous action sequences even though the action genre is one that he has rarely worked in throughout his career. Ultimately Choke Canyon is a solid action film that features exceptional stunt work especially the aerial photography.
Code Red presents Choke Canyon in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Details generally look crisp and colors fare well throughout.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. Even though the audio is in very good shape it comes off sounding to flat as I found myself having to adjust the volume throughout.
Extras include trailers for Choke Canyon, Power Play, The Internecine Project and Stunt Rock. Other extras include an interview with actor Bo Svenson who discusses Choke Canyon and briefly touches upon other films he has worked on. The main extra included with this release is an audio commentary with producer Peter Sheperd and moderator Lee Christian. The audio commentary is a lively affair as Peter Sheperd is full of insightful stories about the production and few interesting stories about other films he also worked on. Overall this is another satisfying DVD release from Code Red DVD that is highlighted by the fascinating audio commentary track.