Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 21st, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1976
Director: Fred Williamson
Writer: Abel Jones
Cast: Fred Williamson, Bernard Kirby, Art Maier, Lou Bedford, Heidi Dobbs, Stephanie Faulkner, Ed Kovins, Patrick McCullough, Emil Farkas, Sam Coppola, Geoffrey Land, James B. Campbell, D’Urville Martin, Tony Brubaker, Jack Oliver, Alexis Tramunti, Jean Dancy
DVD released: March 16th, 2010
Approximate running time: 78 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Code Red
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $16.98
Synopsis: A former cop is hired to protect and transport a witness from Los Angeles to New York. He is given forty eight hours to get the witness safely across the country. At first everything appears to be a routine job. Then things quickly turn deadly as the mob send several assassins to eliminate the witness.
The cinematographer on Death Journey was Robert Caramico whose other notable credits include, Blackenstein, Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural, Eaten Alive, The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington and KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. Besides Death Journey, he also worked with Fred Williamson on the following films Mean Johnny Borrows and No Way Back.
Death Journey is essentially a series of cat & mouse scenes in which the film’s lead character Jesse Crowder kicks a lot ass and kills a few people who get in the way of him completing his goal. Transporting an accountant who is the key witness in a case against the mob. In between brawls and shoot out, Jesse Crowder sleeps with several women who help him along the way. These two things help string along the nonexistent narrative.
In many ways the Jesse Crowder character comes off as a low rent version of James Bond. Even the bad guys who continually get in his way and their ineptitude feels like something out of a James Bond film. The main reason to check out this film is to watch its star and director Fred Williamson showoff how much of a bad ass he is. Obvious flaws aside, this film never tries to set itself up as anything more than what it is, a fast paced exploitation extravaganza.
Code Red presents Death Journey in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves this film’s original aspect ratio. This is a strong looking progressive flagged transfer, that has accurate looking colors and flesh tones. The source used is in great shape and black levels fare well. There are no problems with compression and edge enhancement is kept in check.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio track fares well as dialog is always clear, everything sounds balanced and any background noise that crops ups is minimal.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (2 minutes 6 seconds – 4:3 full frame), a interview with Fred Williamson titled “Hammer Time 2″ (27 minutes 25 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and a audio commentary with Fred Williamson and moderator Bill Olson. Besides discussing Death Journey, the video interview with Fred Williamson also covers various other films that he had worked on. The Audio commentary is a detailed track that discusses locations, actors, the difficulties of getting independent films made and various other production related topics. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Mean Johnny Borrows, No Way Back, Brute Corps, Family Honor and Choke Canyon. Overall Death Journey gets a solid DVD release from Code Red that comes with a wealth of extras.