Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for September 19th, 2023! This week’s home video selection includes a stellar action/drama called Bad City, a new steelbook of the nailbiter Fall, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
What is it? A badass ex-cop is released from prison to help bring down an even worse villain.
Why see it? Director Kensuke Sonomura delivers a thrilling love letter to Japan’s V-cinema heyday with a fun ride through a corrupt town. Bad City is a terrifically entertaining nod to the classics that’s dense with characters walking both sides of the moral divide. The plot may never stretch beyond the minimum of what’s expected, but Sonomura crafts an engagingly gritty world. Even better, and as should be expected from the former stuntman turned action choreographer turned director, the fight sequences are blistering fun. [my review]
Fall [4K UHD, steelbook]
What is it? Two friends are trapped atop a wildly tall tower.
Why see it? Single location thrillers can be tough, but director Scott Mann nails it with his new suspense-filled tale. Fall is a film destined for nitpicking as certain character choices are questionable and an unnecessary subplot is dropped in, but it delivers where it counts with suspense, thrills, and some acrophobia-inducing visual effects. It may not rise to the level of the sub-genre’s (single location) best examples, but the film still gives us characters worth cheering on in a tension-filled situation, and that’s more than enough for a hundred minutes of your time. [my review]
[Extras: Commentary, featurettes, music video]
What is it? Two childhood friends reconnect.
Why see it? Writer/director Celine Song captures something beautiful, sad, and honest here, and it’s arguably one of the best films of the year so far. Two friends say goodbye when one moves from Korea to the U.S., and they reconnect twelve years later via the internet… and then twelve years after that in person. Friendship, love, regret, choices we make and those we don’t — all of it is explored as the two find their way back to each other, talk about their lives, and ponder the future. The film is filled with raw truths, sadness, and beauty, and both Greta Lee and Teo Yoo are brilliant. Equally deserving of praise, and in a tougher role, is John Magaro as the man Lee finds while apart from Yoo. Heartbreak has never felt so comforting.
[Extras: Deleted scenes, featurette, commentary]
The Last Dragon [4K UHD, steelbook]
What is it? A martial arts-loving teen stands up for what’s right.
Why see it? Sometimes referred to as Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon — after the guy pulling together all of the film’s music acts and rights — this is a fun enough slice of 80s cheese. The script is silly, the performances are a mix of okay and eesh, and the fight action is pretty underwhelming, but there’s an appeal to its shenanigans all the same. Plus, let’s not undervalue the music rights contributions of Mr. Berry Gordy.
[Extras: Commentaries, documentary]
The Little Mermaid
What is it? A live action remake of a Disney animated classic.
Why see it? As far as live-action remakes of Walt Disney animated classics go, this is the most recent one. It’s a competent one at that, but as is the case with so many of these, the film lacks the personality and wonder of its animated precursor. Halle Bailey is fine in the lead role and showcases both singing chops and some charm, but the roster of supporting characters lacks the spark of the original. Again, it’s fine, but please don’t do the disservice to your child of replacing the animated film with this.
[Extras: Featurettes, bloopers]
Also out this week:
Prisoner’s Daughter, Slotherhouse, The Trial [4K UHD, Criterion]