Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 18th, 2017
BluRay released: July 27th, 2016
Approximate running time: 101 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: M (Australia)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
BluRay Release: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.99
Road Games was produced and directed by Richard Franklin whose other notable films include, The True Story of Eskimo Nell, Patrick and Psycho II. Key collaborators on Road Games include, screenwriter Everett De Roche (Long Weekend, Harlequin), cinematographer Vincent Monton (The Day After Halloween, Thirst) and composer Brian May (Mad Max, Nightmares).
The premise for this film is a clever twist on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. With Road Games narrative taking place on a long-isolated road trip where the protagonist voyeurism puts him in the cross heirs of a sadistic killer.
The driving force of this narrative is a cat and mouse game played between the protagonist and the killer. And with each one of their interactions there is an escalation of aggression. This film’s narrative is meticulously constructed and pacing is never an issue as this film does a superb job maintaining tension.
What one sees or at least what one believes that they see, plays a large role in the story at hand. And when it comes to this film’s visuals do a great job involving the viewer. Another strength of this film is how it leaves its most violent moments off screen. This is another way that this film puts the viewer in the protagonist shoes by distorting reality.
Performance wise the entire are all very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Stacy Keach (Fat City, The Ninth Configuration) in the role of Pat Quid, the truck driver whose inquisitive mind gets him in trouble. Another notable performance includes, Grant Page (Death Cheaters) in the role of the killer, who lack of words are made up for by his actions. Ultimately Road Games is a highly entertaining thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Road Games comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. For this release a brand new 4k transfer has been created from an extensive restoration that was sourced from a release print. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels fare well and there are no issues with DNR or compression. When compared to previous home video releases this new transfer is a marked improvement.
This release comes with two audio mixes, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. Both audio mixes sound, clean, clear and balanced throughout. The more ambient aspects of these mixes are well represented and range wise both sound robust when they need too. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include, reversible cover art, an image gallery with an essay about the film written by Lee Gambin, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 8 seconds), a restoration featurette about this film’s new 4k transfer (11 minutes), an audio Interview with director Richard Franklin from 2001 (23 minutes 29 seconds), an audio interview with actor Stacy Keach from 2016 (9 minutes 14 seconds), an audio interview with stunt coordinator / actor Grant Page (32 minutes 52 seconds), an interview with Richard Franklin from 1981 (24 minutes 33 seconds) and Kangaroo Hitchcock: The Making of Road Games is a featurette with Richard Franklin and Stacey Keach (20 minutes 20 seconds).
Other extras include, uncut interviews for Not Quite Hollywood with actress Jamie-Lee Curtis, Stacy Keach, Grant Page, Richard Franklin, screenwriter Everett De Roche, cinematographer Vincent Monton and assistant director Tom Burstall (63 minutes 16 seconds), a two hour lecture on the making of Road Games with Richard Franklin, producer Barbi Taylor and composer Brian May – 11/20/1980 (2 hours 10 minutes 20 seconds) and an audio commentary with Richard Franklin.
This release comes with a wealth of extra content and topics discussed include, how the film’s premise was inspired by Rear Window, the screenplay, the cast and information about them, the difficulties of shooting at a remote location and shooting scenes at night, the visuals, the score, Richard Franklin and various other films he has worked on, the Australian film industry, on set memories and their thoughts about the film.
Overall Road Games gets an exceptional release from Umbrella Entertainment, highly recommended.