On January 12, Mill Creek Entertainment will offer another batch of its Retro VHS releases, bringing several more late 80s/early 90s films to the Blu-ray format for the first time. One of these new releases hitting the HD format for the first time is the 1989 action/comedy Blind Fury, starring Rutger Hauer.
Nick Parker (Rutger Hauer) is a Vietnam vet who was thought to be missing in action. An explosion and helicopter crash during battle had caused Nick to be blinded, but he was taken in by some natives, who taught him how to hone his other senses, and wield a sword. After 20 years away, Nick finally heads back to America, to Miami, Florida, to reconnect with fellow soldier Frank Devereaux (Terry O’Quinn). However, Frank, who now works as a chemist in Reno, owes money to a ruthless Casino owner and has been taken hostage. MacCready (Noble Willingham) wants Frank to manufacture designer drugs for him to pay off his debt, but when Frank refuses, he sends his goon, Slag (Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb), after Frank’s ex-wife (Lynn Devereaux) and son Billy (Brandon Call). Nick arrives just at the right time to prevent Billy from being kidnapped, and takes him on a cross-country road trip to find and rescue his father. Along the way they team up with Frank’s girlfriend Annie (Lisa Blount), and find themselves pursued by Slag and several more of MacCready’s men, including dimwitted stooges Lyle (Nick Cassavetes) and Tector Pike (Rick Overton), and a samurai sword-wielding assassin (Shô Kosugi). These bad guys are about to discover they despite his blindness, they are no match for Nick and his trusty walking stick/sword.
Blind Fury is a ridiculous, sometimes campy and over-the-top action/comedy that makes for a completely satisfying 90 minutes. I had somehow never seen this movie before now, but was thoroughly-entertained throughout. Despite being blind, Nick is an astonishingly great fighter, and even better than most people with vision. He utilizes his training and his remaining senses to take down whatever threat comes his way. Despite the fury in the title, Nick always remains cool, calm and collected. When Nick starts off on his quest, Billy is this obnoxious young kid who wants nothing to do with him—he just wants to return home to his mother. Billy is constantly playing tricks on Nick, and trying to get away, but Nick doesn’t let this get to him. Meanwhile, a seemingly endless stream of enemies are in pursuit, are all trying to get their hands on Billy. As Nick manages to fend off each new threat, a bond starts to form between the two, giving this action movie, a bit of a character drama as well. At the same time, the film also has a lot of humor, which ranges from completely over-the-top stuff like blind Nick driving a car, to quippy one-liners as Nick takes down each enemy. The film is a just a fun blast throughout. I never thought of Rutger Hauer as a comedic actor, but he really delivers in this film.
Mill Creek’s Blu-ray release provides somewhat solid, though inconsistent, video and audio. Blind Fury was easily the most inconsistent picture-wise of the three Retro VHS releases I recently watched for review. At times the film looked amazing, with an astonishingly clean, crisp and detailed picture. However, there was also one dark flashback where there were these odd horizontal bands across the screen during most of the scene—it didn’t seem like this was a stylistic choice as it didn’t last the entire flashback, and other flashback scenes did not look like this. The opening title sequence was also a bit grainer than other scenes, but this went away as soon as the credits completed, so it was likely a limitation of the source material. That said, the majority of the film looked clean and sharp, like it had definitely been remastered recently. As with most of these Retro VHS releases, the audio is only offered in the original stereo format rather than a more modern 5.1 mix. However I never found the audio to be lacking—in fact, the jungle sounds in the opening sequence of the film even had a somewhat immersive feel to them, and the dialogue remained clear throughout the film.
Unfortunately, this is a barebones release, and the disc doesn’t include any bonus material or a digital copy. The main menu features a repeating montage of scenes in the background, but only offers the option of watching with or without subtitles. The Blu-ray disc comes packed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase, with a Retro VHS slipcover that makes the release look like a classic VHS rental tape. The details on these slipcovers are really fun, and the design even extends to the spine as well, allowing these discs to displayed like a collection of VHS tapes on the shelf.
- 1080p / Widescreen 1.85:1
- Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio
- Subtitles: English SDH
There is no bonus material included
Blind Fury is a thoroughly-entertaining action/comedy about a blind veteran who kicks ass as he helps rescue a fellow soldier and his young son. Star Rutger Hauer provides a fun, delightful performance, delivering on both on the action and the humor. While the video presentation is a mixed bag, it generally looks quite good, and sometimes even amazing, especially for a 30-year-old movie. The release doesn’t include any bonus material or digital copy, but does include a fun Retro VHS slipcover. The release comes recommended for any fan of the film, or anyone looking for a fun new (old) over-the-top action/comedy.