All Superheroes Must Die (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 18-Sep-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Introduction-by writer / director Jason Trost
More…-Cultastrophe Pre-Show
Interviews-Crew-Toronto After Dark Q&A with Jason Trost
Theatrical Trailer
Short Film-Jason Trost Shorts – Blood Beasts Episodes 1-4
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 77:53
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jason Trost
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Jason Trost
Lucas Till
Lee Valmassy
Sophie Merkley
James Remar
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music George Holdcroft


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, after end titles

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Plot Synopsis

     Without preliminaries, All Superheroes Must Die commences with a masked and caped man in a “superhero” costume (Jason Trost) waking up in the middle of the night on a road in a deserted town. He is the superhero Charge, and he has apparently been drugged and abducted but has no idea how he got there. We are then quickly introduced to three other costumed superheroes who have also been abducted: Cutthroat (Lucas Till), The Wall (Lee Valmassy) and Shadow (Sophie Merkley). Equally quickly, the audience is told why the superheroes are there: a villain they have defeated in the past called Rickshaw (James Remar) has brought them to the town to extract his revenge. In various locations innocent townspeople have been tied up and wired with explosives: unless the four superheroes participate in particular games Rickshaw has devised, the townspeople, and the town itself will be destroyed. With little choice, the four cooperate, but it the games have been rigged and even when they succeed people die. It seems that many more will die death unless the four can cooperate and find and kill Rickshaw.

     All Superheroes Must Die is an oddity; it is a superhero movie which features superheroes with no powers! The film was made for $20,000; the script was written and the filming completed in 15 days by writer / director / editor / actor Jason Trost who has tried to use the lack of funding as a positive. Thus the superheroes have had their superpowers taken away by the drug administered by Rickshaw, and in fact we get very little information about what the powers were anyway. There is also no back story, and apart from a couple of flashbacks, we get no information about either the superheroes or their adversary. As a result of the budget, the cast is miniscule and the effects non-existent, but it must be added the fact that the dialogue is painfully trite, the acting indifferent and the editing and camera choices occasionally very clumsy and amateurish.

     And yet! The fascinating thing raised by the film is that in this era of superhero and comic films, what happens if superheroes can no longer rely upon their special powers to defeat their enemies? Special powers means they don’t have to think and, on the evidence of All Superheroes Must Die, one might conclude that without their powers superheroes are somewhat thick in the logic and reasoning department! But, at its heart, All Superheroes Must Die is a character piece that deals with the interrelationships between the four superheroes which towards the end, and almost in spite of its limitations, includes some tense moments and a sense of poignancy and loss that is quite effective.

     All Superheroes Must Die is hardly a good film: it is amateurish and somewhat of a vanity project by Jason Trost who, on the evidence of this film and the Blood Beasts serial included in the extras on this Blu-ray, sees himself as an action man figure. The film has been criticised for explaining nothing, which it doesn’t, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, as an exercise in filmmaking on a miniscule budget, and as an antidote to bloated and extravaganza superhero films, All Superheroes Must Die has a fascination that I did not expect and at only 77 minutes in length gets right into the action and never lets up.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     All Superheroes Must Die is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     All Superheroes Must Die is an extremely low budget film that is set almost entirely during the night and mostly uses shaky hand held digital cameras. The print reflects the limitations of the budget and the night shoot. Blacks are very good, but shadow detail can be indistinct and colours and skin tones vary considerably and all have that digital sheen. There is a fair bit of digital noise in many outdoor scenes (pause right at the start at 1:57 for an example), but in the main this was the only issue and other artefacts were absent.

     There are no subtitles.

     The video reflects the low budget origins of the film, but is always watchable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The only audio choice is English Dolby TrueHD 5.1.

     Dialogue is mostly easy to hear. All Superheroes Must Die does not have an overly enveloping audio track as the surrounds mostly carry music and the occasional ambient effect, such as dogs barking in the distance. Most of the other effects were front oriented and fairly flat. The subwoofer seldom made its presence felt.

     The original score by George Holdcroft was not overused. It was mostly electronic and reasonably effective.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The audio track is nothing special but got the job done.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Introduction by Jason Trost (2:35)

     Writer / director / producer / actor Trost introduces the film, pointing out that it is nothing like the poster, that it was made for $20,000 in 15 days, and that he deliberately omitted any origin story and just got into the action.

Cultastrophe Pre-Show (6:43)

     A couple of cheesy, amusing trailers for faux superhero movies, plus an ad for snacks from the theatre’s candy concession to play before the feature presentation. Good fun.

Toronto After Dark Q&A (12:14)

     Trost on stage at the 2011 film festival answers questions about the film. Superficial.

Theatrical Trailer (1:23)

Jason Trost Shorts – Blood Beasts Episodes 1-4

     Trost stars as a Snake Plissken action man figure in this series of interconnected short films as he is sent by the President into a plague ravaged and isolated Alaska to rescue the President’s daughter. These shorts are experimental, amateurish, and self-indulgent. Episode 1 runs 7:47, episode 2, 5:19, episode 3, 6:59, and episode 4, 7:10.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Our release of All Superheroes Must Die is the same as the Region B UK Blu-ray. In comparison, the US Region A Blu-ray has no extras. Buy local.

Summary

     All Superheroes Must Die is a low budget oddity where the dialogue is trite, the acting indifferent and the editing clumsy. And yet, and almost in spite of its limitations, the film is far more enjoyable than I had expected and it builds towards some tense moments and a sense of poignancy that is quite effective.

     The video and audio reflect the low budget; the extras are mostly interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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