‘The Perfect Weapon’ Is Our Imperfect Pick of the Week

Plus 8 more new releases to watch at home this week on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD!
The Perfect Weapon Header

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 June 4th, 2024! This week’s home video selection includes Glory on 4K, genre gems like The Perfect Weapon and Death Machine, and more. Check out our picks below.

Pick of the Week

The Perfect Weapon [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A man avenges his friend’s murder.

Why see it? The 90s was a great decade for studios taking chances on hopeful action stars. While a movie like this would go straight to VOD today, it saw a theatrical release back in the day. So is it any good? Plot-wise it’s as generic as they come, and lead Jeff Speakman is about as charismatic as a punching bag, but you come to an action movie for one thing — the action — and there the movie delivers. Speakman showcases some mad Kenpo karate skills here, and it’s a fun watch as he beats down baddies with a style we don’t often see celebrated like this. Kino’s Blu looks great, has new extras, and is well worth a pickup for fans of the film.

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

The Best

Bad Lieutenant [4K UHD, KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A corrupt cop slides further into a hell of his own making.

Why see it? Abel Ferrara’s filmography is filled with men and women, frequently in New York City, caught up in all manner of mean, violent, self-destructive endeavors. Some are great, others less so, but they all feel like a Ferrara film. This early 90s effort is one of the former with its grueling but captivating look at a Catholic man realizing it’s all a big ol’ pile of shit. Harvey Keitel soars through the gutter here with a performance fueled by pain, intensity, and an utter lack of shame. It’s a cruel film, a sad one too, and it’s never less than engrossing. Plus, now you can watch Keitel’s naked rant in 4K!

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary, documentary, featurette, interview]

Glory [4K UHD, steelbook]

What is it? The true story of the first Black regiment to fight for the North during the Civil War.

Why see it? Ed Zwick’s wartime drama remains a thrilling and affecting feature that also happens to be an important reminder for too many people. Denzel Washington is the brash young soldier, a former slave, and Morgan Freeman is the older fighter whose seen even more traumas during his time in this troubled new country. Matthew Broderick and Cary Elwes bring the white, and all of them do tremendous work here. Some feel that Broderick was miscast, but his awkward insecurity actually supports the character he’s playing in my opinion. Anyway, the battle scenes are exciting, the character beats are beautiful, and all of it is even more stunning in 4K as the scope and detail finds new life.

[Extras: Commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes, documentary]

Pursued [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A man recounts the drama and intrigue that led to his present predicament.

Why see it? Robert Mitchum in the 40s and 50s was a sight to behold — yes, he’s a fine actor well into his later years, but here he’s a strapping young man bringing the goods and the sex appeal. He plays a man with a dark childhood who grows to find love as well as secrets about that past, secrets that might still end his life. Described rather aptly by some as a noir western, the film carries the vibes of both with its themes of honor, revenge, and deception. Kino’s new disc honors the film’s fine black & white cinematography while the new commentary provides some interesting details on the film’s production.

[Extras: New 4K scan, commentary]

The Rest

The Chase [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A down on his luck G.I. finds love and trouble.

Why see it? Arthur Ripley directs this tight little noir that adapts Cornell Woolrich’s novel for the screen, and it’s an effective piece of entertainment. A twist (of sorts) partway through doesn’t wholly work — although it probably killed back in the 40s — but even with that narrative choice the film still delivers some minor thrills and beats. Thank Peter Lorre for some of both

[Extras: New HD master, commentary, radio adaptations of source novel]

Death Machine [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A security company discovers its biggest threat comes from within.

Why see it? An early effort from Stephen Norrington (Blade), this slice of action/sci-fi is essentially one big homage — or series of homages — to better known genre classics from the 80s and early 90s. The Terminator, Robocop, Aliens, and so on, they all get a shout out in one way or another, and that’s okay! It keeps the film from finding its own identity, but it’s still a fun watch as a metallic monster rips its way through a building in search of prey. All that plus an unhinged Brad Dourif performance? Heck yeah. The film is a mixed bag, but Kino’s new Blu is a treasure trove for fans with three different cuts of the film and loads of extras exploring its production. A great release of a pretty good movie.

[Extras: Three versions — US cut, foreign, director’s, commentaries, interviews]

The Hour Before the Dawn [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A female Nazi spy hides undercover in the UK.

Why see it? Veronica Lake was always the blond stunner, but here those locks are used to identify her as the perfect race. Unfortunately, perfect doesn’t apply to her performance or the film’s script. She plays a spy who marries a Brit in the hopes of getting secrets to help Hitler, and while she fumbles with the accent, the script meanders its way through some predictable beats. It’s not a bad film, but there’s a real lack of thrills or drama here that hurts where it counts.

[Extras: New 2K scan, commentary]

The Old Oak

What is it? A small town struggles with economy and immigrants.

Why see it? Ken Loach’s (probable) final film is very much in his wheelhouse as everyday people struggle with everyday problems. Here it’s a small British town on the economic downturn, and worse — for the ignorant and hateful among them — they’re also seeing a bunch of Syrian refugees relocated to the community’s empty flats and homes. It’s a story about working through troubles, seeing past stereotypes, and accepting change, and there are sweet interactions throughout as friendships form. It’s not a surprising film as it goes where you expect, but empathy is never a bad lesson to see unfold.

[Extras: Deleted scenes]

Saigon [KL Studio Classics]

What is it? A pilot does a good deed and gets adventure in return.

Why see it? Veronica Lake returns, but while she stumbles in The Hour Before Dawn, she delivers here with a gutsy and charismatic performance. Alan Ladd is her co-star, here playing a pilot who arranges a rough and tumble good time for an old friend only to snare Lake’s character into the middle of it. A little bit of adventure, a little bit of romance, it’s a perfectly fine time at the movies.

[Extras: New 2K scan, commentary]

Also out this week:

La Chimera, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas [4K UHD, Criterion], Founders Day, Lost Soulz, Rango [4K UHD], Typhoon Club [4K UHD]

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.