DVD Review: AIRWOLF - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION

PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

REVIEW: AIRWOLF - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION - SEASONS 1-3 / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: JAN-MICHAEL VINCENT, ERNEST BORGNINE, ALEX CORD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

For those of you not lucky enough to grow up in the '80s, Airwolf is a cold-war era action adventure drama centred around a high-tech vehicle and its plucky crew. Whereas its imitators such as Knight Rider and Street Hawk were essentially cop shows with a silly high-tech twiddle, Airwolf was a spy-fi thriller. Its main characters are gritty, broken people who do what they can in a world gone mad. They’re a plucky team of veteran professionals who save the world again and again, despite their wounds and differences. Stringfellow Hawke (the show’s main protagonist) is the very model of brave yet deep, whereas his comrade in arms Dom Santini provides comic relief by being Sancho Panza to Hawke’s Don Quixote. It’s a classic '80s-style pairing and a memorable one at that.

Nostalgia seekers should be aware that the show is very much of its time; the pacing is much slower than modern thrillers and the plots are quite samey in places. This should not put you off however; they simply don’t make shows like this any more. Without Airwolf, there would have been no shows like JAG or NCIS – this is the grand-daddy of modern American espionage series.

Being a complete collection, the good is lumped in with the not-so-good. That means we get dull ‘disaster movie’ clunkers like Flight #093 Is Missing mixed in with Bond-like stories such as Horn of Plenty and cop show style thriller Sweet Britches.

Airwolf: The Complete Collection: Seasons 1-3 is interestingly titled. It only contains the first three seasons of the show. There is a fourth season of Airwolf and its absence may seem a bit odd to those not in the know. However, it’s universally disliked by fans of the series; the fourth season is a low budget take on the whole thing, with a different cast and storyline, pretty much being Airwolf in name only. Given that some refuse to acknowledge its existence, it’s easy to see why the last and least season has to be acquired separately. Another thing missing from this boxed set is anything in the way of extras; we get some cast biographies, some series notes and not much else. If you’ve gotten to the end of this review without humming the theme tune then this box set might not be for you. Those of you who are, however, will love this blast from the past.

Extras: Cast bios / Notes



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Comments  

 
0 #4 Mark J. Cairns 2016-09-07 16:55
We've got a full list of screengrab comparisons now plus more information. This Airwolf Bluray Comparison page below will soon be expanded to include all 4 releases from the UK, Germany, Japan and now the USA.

Airwolf Bluray Comparison Photos link: http://airwolfthemes.com/airwolf-dvd-to-HD-bluray-comparison-photos.html
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+5 #3 Mark Cairns 2014-04-25 00:39
I ended up doing a full comparison in conjunction with Fabulous themselves as they got me unencrypted screengrabs that I could composite with the older DVD prints to show the difference. Jaw-dropper...

Also, for the record, the sound is up from Mono to 2.0 Stereo DTS MA.

HERE ARE SOME OF THE COMPARISON LINKS:
http://airwolfthemes.com/forumpubliclinks/AIRWOLF-S1-Pilot-04-Airwolf-DVD-to-HD-Bluray-Comparison.jpg

http://airwolfthemes.com/forumpubliclinks/AIRWOLF-S1-Pilot-01-Airwolf-DVD-to-HD-Bluray-Comparison.jpg

http://airwolfthemes.com/forumpubliclinks/AIRWOLF-S1-BiteOfTheJackal-01-Comparison-DVD-to-HD.jpg
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+3 #2 Ed Fortune 2014-04-14 21:11
Hi Mark,
I'm the journalist who wrote this review. I don't have the Universal-Playback set to hand, so I can't do a proper comparison.

However, the detail and quality is very good. The blurb claims that they are sourced from the original 35mm prints and you can certainly tell.

For example, in "Hawke's Run" you can see the stubble and injuries on Jan-Michael Vincent's in very, very clear detail. They are very good prints and look very detailed on a high def screen.

Hope that helps.
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+10 #1 Mark Cairns 2014-04-03 18:14
Much respect, kudos and retrospective love shown for the 'Airwolf' series, although what the fans really want from a review on this newly-restored High-Def print by Universal for Fabulous FIlms is - what is the picture and sound quality like? You haven't mentioned that at all strangely.

That's all the fans want to hear at this stage after the so-so release from SP-Betacam of their copy of Airwolf: The Movie last year.

Plus everyone has already bought the Universal-Playback season box sets, so the only thing that will make Airwolf fans buy this is the upgrade picture quality etc.

I've already linked to here from our 'Airwolf Extended Themes' Facebook page, and for fans to buy the issue due to the 4-page Airwolf Retrospective.

Can you expand on your review please? Thank you.
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