Pound of Flesh (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 8-Jul-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Trailer-for AWOL-72
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Pound of Flesh Featurette (10:30)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 104:23
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ernie Barbarash
Studio
Distributor

Eagle Entertainment
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
Charlotte Peters
John Ralston
Aki Aleeng
Darren Shahlavi



Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Paul Michael Thomas


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Pound of Flesh starts with Deacon (Jean-Claude Van Damme), distressed and in pain, waking up in an ice bath in his hotel room in Manila. In disjointed flashbacks he remembers helping a girl named Ana (Charlotte Peters) who was being assaulted, going with her to a bar then back to his hotel room for sex. There Deacon was drugged by Ana and one of his kidneys surgically removed. Deacon has now lost both a kidney and a lot of blood.

     We learn that Deacon was a former black-ops agent who had come to Manila at the request of his brother George (John Ralston), from whom he has been estranged for 10 years. George’s young daughter Isabella is dying of a kidney disease; Deacon is a biological match and he has come to donate one of his kidneys to save her life. Without a kidney transplant Isabella does not have long to live so Deacon, despite his pain and blood loss, is determined to get his stolen kidney back. He calls on his old friend Kung (Aki Aleeng) for help; Deacon, George and Kung manage to track down Ana and her handler Drake (Darren Shahlavi), but their hunt through the Manila underworld to retrieve his kidney becomes a journey full of violence, blood, bodies and moral dilemmas as they race against time to save Isabella.

     Pound of Flesh is an action film written by first time screenwriter Joshua James; the plotting is unsubtle and clichéd, with dialogue sections about God and morality which try to give a deeper meaning to the film but are delivered blandly and feel dull. The twists are mostly obvious yet, having said that, the film does manage some poignant moments amid the action sequences, which are chaotic, brutal and quite bloody, justifying the film’s MA rating. A number of the action sequences are gunfights but there are martial arts sequences where Jean-Claude Van Damme still shows he has some good moves and his fights with martial artist, stuntman and actor Darren Shahlavi (seen in numerous films including Ip Man 2 with Donnie Yen) are worth watching.

     Pound of Flesh is directed by Ernie Barbarash, who seems to be Jean-Claude Van Damme’s director of choice at present having recently helmed Van Damme in Assassination Games (2011) and 6 Bullets (2012). However, rather than letting the story unfold naturally here Barbarash throws into the film numerous flashy camera tricks including jump cuts, rapid angle changes, slow motion and stop frames in black and white that are supposed to add to the movement and excitement but which instead call attention to themselves.

     Pound of Flesh tries, but does not really succeed, to be more than your average action film. The plotting, acting and dialogue are too clunky to be taken seriously and Charlotte Peters is especially wooden but JCVD is JCVD so action fans should not be disappointed.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Pound of Flesh is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, close to the 1.85:1 original ratio. It is in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     While the film is set in Manila it was, except for some establishing shots, filmed in China and the plethora of Chinese signage in street scenes does feel a bit unlikely and unnatural. This is also quite a dark film with a number of sequences taking place at night or in dimly lit clubs and bars. These sequences have few bright colours, in contrast the scenes in the hotel are garishly bright. Backgrounds can be indistinct due to the moving camera otherwise blacks are good, close up detail fine. Skin tones are natural except for the digital yellowish tones under lights, brightness and contrast is consistent.

     I did not notice any marks or artefacts.

     There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

     Audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1.

     Dialogue was clear and understandable. The surround and rear use is not extensive but it is nicely enveloping during the bar and fight club sequences and elsewhere they are active with gunshots and bullet ricochets, crashes and thumps during hand to hand combat and the music. The sub-woofer supported the music, impacts and thumps and the occasional explosion appropriately.

     The original score by Paul Michael Thomas is quite dramatic and so suited the film.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

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

Extras

Trailer

     A trailer for AWOL-72 (2:05) plays on start-up. It cannot be selected from the menu.

Pound of Flesh Featurette (10:30)

     An EPK style featurette which covers the characters, fight moves, the look of the film and the director and includes on set footage and comments by cast members Jean Claude Van Damme, John Ralston, Charlotte Peters, Aki Aleeng, Darren Shahlavi and production designer Rachel Lee Payn-Darrow. Short and not the worst example of the type, so worth a look.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region A Blu-ray of Pound of Flesh comes with a DVD of the film but otherwise looks to be the same as our release.

Summary

     Pound of Flesh is a brutal and bloody action film which tries to add depth and some moral issues but with clunky plotting, dialogue and acting the film comes across as clichéd. However, the action is varied and quite well-staged and JCVD does what he does best, so fans should not be disappointed.

     The video and audio are fine, the extra is short but worth a look.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, August 27, 2015
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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