CERT: 18 | PLATFORM: BLU-RAY | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
It’s 2008 and global warming has caused London to flood, meaning the use of leather jackets, weird John Lennon sunglasses and very big guns are now compulsory for the police. Well, at least for the renegade, loose cannon type. Fulfilling this iconic stereotype is Harley Stone (Rutger Hauer), who is on a mission to stop the serial killer who murdered his partner. Joining him on this gun-toting, blood-soaked ride is green pencil-pusher Dick Durkin (Alastair Duncan) and Stone’s ex-partner’s wife, Michelle (Kim Cattrall), who do their best to add some comedy and sex appeal to the proceedings. Oh, and the creature doing the killing is as baffling as it is cool.
The appeal of this low-budget indie favourite is that it wears its meagre budget, cliché-ridden script and general cinematic inadequacies on its sleeve. Clearly visually inspired by Japanese manga and 2000AD, the stereotypes and banality of the dialogue are masked deftly by a wonderful sense of daft escapism. And, above all, it’s Hauer that makes this infinitely watchable as he lives out every fanboy's fantasy of becoming a cigar-chomping, quip-spitting action man on the edge, all beautifully “haused” in his enigmatic screen presence. Honestly, any film is worth watching for Hauer’s performance and this film is no different.
The film looks great in this new high-definition transfer and comes complete with an audio commentary. But, as is often the way with these releases, it is fulfilled by fans of the film rather than cast or crew talent. Not that this is always an issue, but here it certainly is. The facts are plentiful, but while filmmaker Arne Venema does his best to stay on track, film historian Mike Leeder loves the sound of his voice far too much and constantly talks over Venema with jokes only he laughs at. It’s also out of sync with the movie by a good few minutes, which is frustrating.
A second disc gives you a great selection of interviews with the producer, actor Alastair Duncan, music composer, line producer, effects designer and cinematographer. All of which help to fill in the blanks left by the audio commentary and make for much more interesting viewing. Original material is also included, including a making of, featurette and promotional TV clips.
Best of all, though, is the inclusion of the Japanese cut, featuring a flurry of additional scenes that are great to see, even if they are presented in 4:3 with burnt-in Japanese subtitles. Finally, the set comes with a gorgeous little booklet on the making of the film that sits in a box with really nicely-produced new artwork.