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George A. Romero’s Knightriders [UK] Blu-ray Review

knightriders-uk-blu-ray-coverUnited-Kingdom-Flag-Orb-Icon-32px

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Certificate: 15
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 147 Mins.
  • Studio: Arrow Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 22, 2013
  • List Price: £22.99

 

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

Knightriders-UK-BD_03

After 1977’s zombie horror classic Dawn of the Dead, George A. Romero took a sharp left turn with this fantasy/adventure reworking popular sword and sorcery mythology and Camelot legends into an allegory on modern ideals of the biker lifestyle.

Ed Harris (TV’s Game Change; Man on a Ledge; The Hours; The Firm) plays Billy, head of an entertainment troupe that stages elaborate jousts amongst knights set atop roaring motorcycles that are the central entertainment of a renaissance fair-styled traveling carnival. The family-like atmosphere and brotherhood of the group, revolving around the ideals of Camelot and the chivalric code, are pressured by Billy’s growing delusions of grandeur (fashioning himself an actual latter day King Arthur with dark omens intruding upon his dreams) as well as pressures from local law enforcement officials who want no part of their form of entertainment in their town, and greedy agents who see their way to a fortune from the troupe.

Normally Romero’s veiled (rather thinly, I might add) political commentary works given the context of his films due to the absurdity of the situations involving dimwitted flesh eaters, gun-toting bad-asses, and hammy acting. With Knightriders, however, it all feels too obvious and forced; it’s obvious that Romero was forcing himself away from the zombie genre and the social commentary is on the nose. The film takes itself way too seriously for one about a group of guys riding around on motorcycles dressed up as knights pretending to be part of the roundtable.

At an over two-hour running time, it tends to drag where it could have been clipped a bit as well. That being said, Knightriders does have some beautiful outdoor cinematography and a laid back feel typical to the late 70s/early 80s that make it both a palatable and recognizable Romero work of the period.

Knightriders also stars Tom Savini (“Morgan”), Patricia Tallman (“Julie”), Brother Blue (“Merlin”) and Ken Foree (“Little John”).

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Knightriders-UK-BD_01

Arrow Video gives Knightriders a presentable transfer to Blu-ray in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement. While there are still some noticeable specks of dust hare and there, it is mostly clean. Where the image breaks down is in crispness of detail and contrast. The film softness is an issue and dark areas are a bit prone to wash-out. There’s also some occasional fluttering and just a tad bit of dullness in the overall appearance.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Knightriders-UK-BD_02

The original monaural soundtrack, provided in LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) is reasonable given the limitations and age. Dialogue is intelligible and crackle is limited.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Knightriders-UK-BD_04

Arrow Video offers up a typical slate of extras for this cult classic, including interviews and an audio commentary plus the usual collectible artwork and booklet.

The supplements:

  • DVD
  • Audio Commentary with George Romero, Tom Savini, John Amplas, and Christine Romero
  • The Genesis of a Legend: Ed Harris Remembers Knightriders (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:13:08)
  • A Date with Destiny: Tom Savini Reflects on Knightriders (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:12:03)
  • Medieval Maiden: Patricia Tallman Recalls Knightriders (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:17:43)
  • Trailer (1.66:1; SD)
  • TV Spots (1.66:1; SD; 00:00:42)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Nat March
  • Collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by author and critic Brad Stevens, an archival interview with Romero, and a new interview with composer Donald Rubenstein, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Knightriders-UK-BD_05

Knightriders is a different sort of film from George A. Romero, far removed from the zombie horror classics he is known for. For Romero fans unfamiliar with the film, it may be of interest as a peculiarity, but one’s expectations should be tempered – this isn’t Romero in top form.

Additional Screen Captures

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:2.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

 

 

 

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