A Hong Kong Double Feature Comes to Criterion and Our Pick of the Week

Plus 7 more new releases to watch at home this week on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD!
The Heroic Trio

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 February 20th, 2024! This week’s home video selection includes Criterion’s release of The Heroic Trio/Executioners double feature, Darkman and Leviathan in 4K, and more. Check out our picks below.

Pick of the Week

The Heroic Trio / Executioners [4K UHD, Criterion]

What is it? A Johnnie To double feature!

Why see it? Maggie Cheung, Anita Mui, Michelle Yeoh. Any film starring even one of these women is worth a watch, but all three at once? Twice?! This Hong Kong double feature (unfortunately jammed together onto the same UHD and Blu-ray discs) sees all three talents delivering two tales of heroes fighting evil. To directs with an eye for the fantastical unleashing action sequences using wirework, gun play, and spectacle, and while the first film feels set in “the real world” and the sequel in a dystopian future, both are high-flying action/adventures showing powerful women teaming up to bring down baddies. Criterion’s move into Hong Kong action is an incredibly welcome one, and both films are presented with slick restorations that see the movies popping with detail and color. (Still wish they got their own discs, but there’s really nothing to complain about here.)

[Extras: New 4K restorations, interviews]

The Best


What is it? A rare drama for adults.

Why see it? Christian Petzold makes films for adults. Dramas infused with humanity, relationships, love, and touched by genres like comedy and thrillers. Here he explores the connections between friends and strangers alike, the ease with which our intentions can be derailed, and the reality that is a simple dislike for everyone else. There’s a dark humor to it, but its incisiveness makes the drama sting as we see ourselves in the choices made and the reasons given. It’s just a very good film, nothing flashy, but one that you’ll feel sitting with you for weeks to come.

[Extras: Interview]

Paprika [4K UHD, steelbook]

What is it? A sci-fi masterpiece.

Why see it? My Letterboxd entry for Satoshi Kon’s 2006 feature reads only “a beautiful nightmare,” and that assessment stands. The setup sees the invention of a machine that allows people to enter other people’s dreams, and while there’s fun to be had there’s also danger, thrills, and some magnificent horrors. A detective and a therapist join forces to prevent a dream terrorist from causing havoc throughout the night. The animation is sharp, imaginative, colorful, and constantly eye-catching, and the story finds real thrills  along the way. 4K UHD is the way to go with this one.

[Extras: Featurettes, commentary]

The Swiss Conspiracy

What is it? A forgotten thriller.

Why see it? The beautiful thing about physical media, one of many actually, is the ability to breathe new life into forgotten films. This mid 70s thriller has been out of commission for decades, but thanks to Film Masters we’re able to see, love, and own it almost half a century later. David Janssen stars as an investigator brought in after a possible breach at a Swiss bank when four customers find themselves blackmailed. Double crosses, action beats, a little bit of loving, all filmed on location against a beautiful mountainous region. John Ireland, Elke Sommer, John Saxon, and Ray Milland co-star.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentary, featurette]

The Rest

Darkman [4K UHD, Scream Factory]

What is it? A comic book tale of crime and disfigurement.

Why see it? Sam Raimi’s audition tape for the Spider-Man gig is a superhero-adjacent story about a scientist turned into a crime fighter. Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, and Larry Drake headline, and Raimi’s patented approach to tone rears its head in bold fashion. If you’re on board with it, there’s fun to be had, but I’m in the minority of having never gotten on the Raimi train. There’s a reason the only one of his films I love is A Simple Plan — because it’s not an erratic, cartoonish romp. That said, if you are in the majority, this new 4K release looks fantastic and offers a visible improvement over previous releases. The copious extras add to the value with hours of extras to explore.

[Extras: New 4K restoration, commentaries, interviews]

Drifter [Kino Cult]

What is it? A bisexual hustler explores the ups and downs of the ol’ in and out.

Why see it? Pat Rocco was an incisive and bold filmmaker in the 60s delivering stories about people outside the cultural norm of the time, but those films never really crossed into the mainstream. This new release of a film mostly forgotten to time shows Rocco at his most accessible with its engaging tale of a young man trying to survive in Southern California. Plot is minimal as we just follow his efforts and antics, but it works as a glimpse into lives lived beyond the fringe.

[Extras: New 2K restoration, commentary, short films]

The Last Castle [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A military man goes to jail with explosive repercussions.

Why see it? Director Rod Lurie (The Contender, see it) brings together two powerhouses in Robert Redford and James Gandolfini, and that’s the main reason for watching this one. The story is engaging enough as Redford’s General begins to suspect something is amiss at the prison, but it gets a bit ridiculous if you think about it all. Let that go, though, and there’s real fun to be had as a confident Redford and an intensely fierce Gandolfini clash.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, featurette, deleted scenes]

Leviathan [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]

What is it? Not DeepStar Six!

Why see it? 1989 saw three big screen, underwater adventure movies, and while James Cameron’s The Abyss is the clear winner of the bunch, the other two are equally fun scrappers. Sean S. Cunningham gave us DeepStar Six while George P. Cosmatos delivered this solidly entertaining B-movie about a deep-sea mining rig and the horrors of genetic mutations. Stan Winston handles the effects giving us some fun monster visuals, and the cast is a fine ensemble including Peter Weller, Richard Crenna, Amanda Pays, Daniel Stern, and Ernie Hudson. It’s a good time that never crosses over into greatness, but good is good enough. Kino’s new 4K release looks stellar with a visible upgrade over previous releases.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, featurettes, interview]

Also out this week:

Beverly Hills Cop – 3-Movie Collection [4K UHD], Bigfoot: Beyond the Legend, Drifter [Kino Cult], King: A Filmed Record – Montgomery to Memphis, Nothing But a Man [Criterion], La Syndicaliste

Rob Hunter: Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.