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Hard Ticket to Hawaii 
Written by: on September 14th, 2005

Theatrical Release Dates: USA 1987
Director: Andy Sidaris
Writer: Andy Sidaris
Cast: Ronn Moss, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Harold Diamond, Rodrigo Obregón, Cynthia Brimhall

DVD released: November 22, 2004
Approximate running time: 92 min.
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 16
Sound: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
DVD Release: BestBuys Interactive
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (Netherlands)
Retail Price: 4 to 8 EUR
Discs: 1xDVD-5
 

Here is an example of this releases compression problems.


The Film :

Donna and Taryn are 2 pretty federal agents working undercover as pilots for the Molokai Cargo service. They get into serious trouble when they accidentally stumble upon a cache of diamonds intended for drug lord Seth Romero. Rowdy and Jade, a couple of tough mainland agents, come to their rescue. In usual Sidaris fashion, lot’s of action, explosions and naked women ensue.

Video:

Unlike the fullframe R1 DVD, the movie is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. I believe this is actually the intended aspect ratio since the framing seems fine and never looks cramped. The picture is quite good with vivid colours and virtually no blemishes, although sharpness is lacking. Unfortunately it is completely ruined by a very bad compression at a much too low bitrate. As soon as things start to move a bit fast, the image transforms in a horrible mess of macroblocks. Don’t try to watch this on anything but a regular small to normal sized television.

Audio:

The English dolby digital 2.0 stereo track sounds fine with no problems. The 5.1 dolby digital track mentioned on the cover is nowhere to be found. Optional Dutch subtitles are present but have annoying errors, such as hyphens being replaced by underscores.

Extras:

First we have the original fullscreen trailers for 12 Andy Sidaris films. Next we have about 40 minutes of featurettes, such as an introduction to the movie featuring Andy Sidaris and Julie Strain, an interview of Andy and his wife Arlene, Dona Speir on Joe Bob Briggs’s show, Andy and Arlene commenting on a scene from Return to Savage Beach, etc. Unlike the trailers, these featurettes cannot be accessed individually from the menus but you can skip through them with the next chapter button. I assume these extras are the same as on the R1 DVDs although the commentary track is missing.

Overall:

After having watched 6 of his films, I can honestly say I am no Sidaris fan. I think his films are boring, repetitive, badly made, have terrible acting and I do not find his silicon “enhanced” women attractive. People driving all kinds of vehicles are also not my idea of good action. However, I respect him as an independent, but not very talented, filmmaker and can see the appeal for many people. I do have a feeling his older films like Stacey (1973) and Seven (1979) might be better.

Along with Malibu Express, actually a decent movie but ruined by a terrible country soundtrack and unfunny comedy, Hard Ticket to Hawaii is my favorite. It features a deliciously cheesy 80s tune by Gary Stockdale, some funny dialogue, references to Malibu Express and is completely over the top thanks to ingenious ideas such as the most fake looking giant snake ever, a razor sharp frisbee and a skateboarder holding a sex doll being blown up with a bazooka! And last but not least, it stars Ronn Moss, who we all know from The Bold and the Beautiful or maybe even from the cult classic Hearts and Armour. Unlike the rest of the cast, he can actually act a little.

Due to the serious compression issues I cannot recommend this Dutch DVD by BestBuys Interactive also known as Be Best in DVD, which is just too funny. However, due to the low price and the presence of 12 trailers, it can serve as a good introduction to the films of Andy Sidaris. I did not find the other extras very interesting, except maybe the old interviews.

Based on my experience with 6 DVDs released by this label, I should warn people thinking of buying the other ones. They are all presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen but exhibit the same compression problems. The dolby digital 5.1 track mentioned on the cover is never present and the discs are region free instead of region 2. The subtitles always have the aforementioned errors and in some cases even stop working completely. Finally, all DVDs contain the same 12 trailers but the featurettes differ. Also available are Malibu Express (1985), Picasso Trigger (1988), Savage Beach (1989), Guns (1990), Do or Die (1991), Fit to Kill (1993), Day of the Warrior (1996), Hard Hunted (1992), Enemy Gold (1993), The Dallas Connection (1994) and Return to Savage Beach (1998).

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