Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 10th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1980 (Kidnapping of the President), 1987 (Deathrow Gameshow)
Directors: George Mendeluk (Kidnapping of the President), Mark Pirro (Deathrow Gameshow)
Writers: Richard Murphy (Kidnapping of the President), Mark Pirro (Deathrow Gameshow)
Cast: William Shatner, Hal Holbrook, Van Johnson, Ava Gardner, Miguel Fernandes, Cindy Girling, Elizabeth Shepherd, Michael J. Reynolds(Kidnapping of the President), John McCafferty, Robyn Blythe, Beano, Darwyn Carson, Mark Lasky, Bill Whitehead, Kent Butler, Debra Lamb, Paul Farbman (Deathrow Gameshow)
DVD released: September 16th, 2008
Approximate running time: 109 minutes (Kidnapping of the President), 80 minutes (Deathrow Gameshow)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (Both Films)
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
DVD Release: BCI Eclipse
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $12.98
Kidnapping of the President: A South American terrorist kidnaps the President of the United States. Unless the terrorist’s demands are meet he will blow up the armored car in which he is keeping the president prisoner. The Presidents only hope for survival lays in the hands of a un-inexperience secret service agent.Many of the plots themes energy crisis, terrorism and corrupt politicians are extremely relevant to what is currently going on politically in America. The story does feel a tad stretched out and trimming at least twenty minutes would have greatly helped the films pacing.
The acting is surprisingly good with the film’s most surreal performance coming from the ever so reliable William Shatner as secret service agent Jerry O’Connor. Ultimately Kidnapping of the President is an unremarkable political thriller that is short on tension and long winded in getting to its conclusion.
Deathrow Gameshow: In the near future death row inmates are put on a game show were their decisions will ultimately decide if they live or die.
The film features an interesting premise a game show that kills death row inmate’s all in the name of entertainment. And though this premise may give some reading a feeling of déjà vu? The director of Deathrow Gameshow insists that he has never seen The Running Man.
When it comes to the plot don’t expect to many surprises since there is a predictability to the events which unfold and the ending is a letdown. Fortunately, when it comes to pacing there are no glaring issues as things move along briskly from one moment to the next.
Anchoring this film performance wise in the role of the show’s host, an arrogant personality named Chuck Toedan who has as many admires as he does people who want to kill him. Needless to say, the film is filled with over the top performances which lend themselves to the absurdity of the films plot. And the humor is satirical and often dark in tone. Ultimately Deathrow Gameshow is best summed up as a Z grade satire that never fully capitalizes on its interesting premise.
Both films are presented in an anamorphic widescreen. Both transfers are also flagged for progressive playback. The transfer for Kidnapping of the President has strong colors and image detail throughout. Outside of some mild print damage the transfer looks very good. The transfer for Deathrow Gameshow has nicely saturated colors and there is no major print damage. There are a few scenes were the grain a level is more excessive than in other scenes. Details look clear and black levels are strong throughout.
Both films each come with one audio option a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. Kidnapping of the President sounds a tad thin at times. Besides this the audio sounds clear and it is free of any audio defects. The audio for Deathrow Gameshow has a few instances where the audio sounds distorted. Besides these issues with distortion the audio sounds clean and clear. Overall while neither is going to wow you they are both more than serviceable.
There is no extra content. Each film can be accessed separately and they both come with a scene selection option. Overall BCI offers up another bizarre pairing of film’s at a more than affordable price. If you like shlock cinema than you are sure to enjoy these two films.