Thursday, May 25, 2023

Kill Zone: Special Edition – MVD Rewind Collection (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1985
Director: David A. Prior
Writers: Jack Marino, David A. Prior
Cast: Fritz Matthews, Ted Prior, David Campbell, Dennis Phun, Rick Massery, William Zipp, Larry Udy, Richard Brailford, Ron Pace, Tom Baldwin

Release Date: June 13th, 2023
Approximate running time: 88 Minutes 56 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95

"Colonel Crawford (David Campbell, Killer Workout), the sadistic commander of an advanced military training center known as "Scare Camp", has created the most grueling and realistic exercise imaginable; to him it is brilliant, to his men... deadly. To Vietnam War veteran Jason McKenna (Fritz Matthews, Deadly Prey) it becomes all too real. His ability to distinguish between flashbacks and the ongoing exercise slowly fades. Driven by emotional terror McKenna believes he must kill to survive. He escapes the simulated prison camp and begins his reign of terror; killing the unsuspecting residents of a nearby town. Now it is up to Colonel Crawford to stop him." - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 4.5/5

Here’s the information provided about the transfer, "scanned and restored in 4K in 2023 from 35mm interpositive."

Kill Zone comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 42.5 GB

Feature: 21.3 GB

The source used for this transfer is in great shape, and any source debris has been cleaned up. Flesh tones and colors look correct, black levels are strong, and image clarity and compression are solid. Also, there does not appear to be any digital noise reduction.

Audio: 3.75/5

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in English, and removable English SDH subtitles. Though the audio is clear and balanced, there are a few very brief audio imperfections. That said, range-wise, ambient sounds are well represented.


Extras for this release include a photo gallery (advertisement/stills), a theatrical trailer (3 minutes 4 seconds, Dolby Digital mono English, no subtitles), an interview with producer Jack Marino moderated by filmmaker and project producer Steve Latshaw titled The Making of Kill Zone (37 minutes 52 seconds, LPCM stereo English, no subtitles), a video commentary with Jack Marino and Cereal at Midnight’s Heath Holland (88 minutes 56 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English, no subtitles), an audio commentary with Jack Marino and Heath Holland, reversible cover art, a collectible mini poster (limited to first pressing), and a slipcover (limited to first pressing). It should be noted that the video commentary and audio commentary are essentially the same track, with the former providing video with the audio.

Other extras are trailers for Action USA, L.A. Wars, Showdown, Angel Town, and My Samurai.


Directed by David A. Prior, a prolific filmmaker who made his debut with the slasher film Sledgehammer. From there, he would find AIP (Action International Pictures), with the bulk of the filmography being action films.

The narrative revolves around Jason Mckenna, a Vietnam vet who is participating in a survivalist military camp. One day after a series of training exercises, he snaps, and from there, he believes that he is back in Vietnam.

The 1980s were a good time to be an action cinema fan. The major studios in Hollywood were pumping out big-budget action films, while there was an influx of independent filmmakers making their own low-budget action cinema. Case in point: Kill Zone, one of many 1980s action films that uses the Vietnam War as its plot device.

From its opening moments, Kill Zone sets a grueling tone that is relentless and never lets up. And though there are some flashbacks along the way that provide some backstory, don’t go into Kill Zone expecting much character motivation or backstory. Kill Zone’s main focus is its action set pieces, of which there are many.

When it comes to the performances, they are best described as serviceable. Fortunately, this never works against Kill Zone, since there is such a bombastic vibe to the events that unfold that well-defined characters are not needed.

From a production standpoint, there is no denying that Kill Zone is a lean production working on a microbudget. And yet it is a film that fully maximizes said resources. Notably, how effectively they recreate a Vietnam-like location The kill scenes, reinforced by solid special effects, are Kill Zone's best asset. Ultimately, Kill Zone is a solid action film that never strays far from its bread and butter, its action set pieces.

Kill Zone gets a solid release as part of the MVD Rewind Collection that comes with a strong audio/video presentation, two versions of the film, and a pair of insightful extras, recommended.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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