Written by: Pieter Boven on November 7th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1977
Director: Tonino Valerii
Writer: Ernesto Gastaldi, Adriano Belli, Tonino Valerii
Cast: Franco Nero, Michel Constantin, Pamela Villoresi, Mauro Barabani, Emilio Locurcio, Antonio Cantafora
DVD released: April 18, 2005
Running time: 96m57s
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: German, French, Italian, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Subtitles: German (optional)
DVD Label: New Entertainment World
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (Germany)
Retail Price: 15-20 EUR
The Film :
A team of oil prospectors is trying their luck in the turbulent Sahara desert. One day their leader gets killed by some terrorists. The other team members immediately swear revenge and go after them. They manage to kill their friend’s murderer and capture two others. Along the way it becomes clear they have plans other than delivering them to the police.
The movie is anamorphically enhanced and presented in 1.78:1 widescreen which, I assume, is the original or close to original aspect ratio. The transfer looks soft, dirty and is hampered by a large amount of chroma noise, small blemishes and several instances of more serious frame damage. As most scenes play in the desert the colour palette is limited to begin with but colours don’t look vivid and several scenes suddenly get overly saturated.
A nice selection here with German, French, Italian and English tracks in dolby digital 2.0 mono. Unfortunately the English audio which many of you will require is of very bad quality. There is an ample amount of crackling and background noise but also complete dropouts. The volume level is all over the place and at least 2 scenes switch back to Italian with no English subtitles. The other tracks don’t seem to be plagued by these errors so you better select one of these if you can. There are optional German subtitles in an ugly yellow font but they are unfortunately based on the German dub.
We get a fairly nice looking animated menu and a scene selection consisting of 20 chapters. The extras start off with a pointless self-made trailer for Sahara Cross (4m47s) and an equally pointless photo gallery (6m03s) with screenshots taken from the DVD. Next we have some German liner notes (3m13s) but they are presented in scrolling text which I absolutely despise. There are also 3 trailers for other New Entertainment World releases: Bandidos (2m33s), Der Halunke (1m57s) and Radhapura (4m18s). All are in German and only the first 2 seem to be theatrical trailers. Finally there’s some DVD-ROM content in the form of 2 original posters in high resolution TIF format. The packaging is one of those X-Rated style cardboard cases but has the size of a normal keepcase.
I found this movie very slow moving. It runs for almost 97 minutes and scenes seem to go on forever while nothing is happening. However, you can always count on Franco Nero for a good performance and he is the main reason to keep watching. Besides a completely out of place comedy scene there is also a nice plot twist at the end but it takes too long to get there. Not a bad movie but I suggest for Franco Nero fans only.
The DVD is a mixed bag. The average picture quality and limited extras are one thing but the bad condition of the English audio really spoils the fun. If you don’t understand any of the other offered languages I cannot recommend this DVD, especially considering the fairly high retail price.