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The Long Riders [UK] Blu-ray Review

long-riders-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: None
  • Subtitles Color: N/A
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certificate: 18
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 84 Mins.
  • Studio: Second Sight Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: June 3, 2013
  • List Price: £17.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
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 were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

The Film

[Rating:3.5/5]

Long-Riders-UK-BD_01

Director Walter Hill’s (Bullet to the Head; 48Hrs.; Southern Comfort) 1980 retelling of the mythic end of the James-Younger gang of outlaws, The Long Riders, gives away its main gimmick early on. Using a string of actual siblings to occupy the roles of the James (James and Stacey Keach as Jesse and Frank James), Younger (David, Keith, and Robert Carradine as Cole, Jim, and Bob Younger), and Miller (Dennis and Randy Quaid as Ed and Clell Miller) brothers on screen. Once this novelty wears off, however, the film becomes a rather staid and clinical retelling of the end of the Wild West outlaws that struggles to strike an emotional note.

The story begins just after the American Civil War with the gang of outlaws carrying out a bank robbery that goes awry when Ed Miller gets nervous and begins shooting, killing an innocent man. The outlaw posse rides off and Ed is banished from the gang for his misdeeds. They eventually try to settle down a while in their homes back in Missouri, but the heat is on them as Pinkertons come looking to bring them in or kill them. Violence escalates, and the Pinkertons, as they are want to do, kill innocent members of the Younger family, leading to retaliation by the remaining members of the James/Younger gang against the Pinkertons. With the law hot on their trail, they all decide to split up and go their separate ways for a while. James Younger heads to Texas chasing after his spitfire prostitute girlfriend Belle Starr (Pamela Reed). Jim Younger takes up with young beauty Annie Ralston (Shelby Leverington), while the Brothers James try their best to return to lives of domesticity and farming with their wives. Eventually the gang reunites for a bank heist too tempting to pass up, but it goes badly, leaving all but the Jameses wounded or dead. The Jameses get away, but they have the relentless Ford brothers (Christopher Guest and Nicholas Guest), in league with the Pinkertons on their trail. This leads to the famous showdown in Northfield, Minnesota.

Historically, Hill’s film is probably one of the strongest to tell the story of the James/Younger gang, forgoing bombast in place of a quiet eloquence and meticulous attention to detail instead. Unfortunately, the film is somewhat dry and flat in its character interactions. Saving it, is Hill’s strength behind the lens. It is a beautiful and classic Hollywood western that evokes the golden age of the genre, with gorgeous vistas, finely choreographed train robberies, and a slow burning atmosphere. One cannot go without mentioning the marvelous folk score by Ry Cooder either, the fittingly evokes the era.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Long-Riders-UK-BD_02

This AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer from Second Sight has some film softness and a bit of noticeable source damage that can be spotted from time to time, but mostly it looks natural and, once the film gets going, it is a satisfying presentation. Although the imagery can be just a little drab and graininess is sometimes just a little gritty, there are plenty of moments where the picture shines, with goo texture, natural flesh tones, and a clean presentation, especially on close-ups during the numerous bright, sunny scenes.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Long-Riders-UK-BD_03

A LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is supplied that is a little bit boxy, but adequate in its presentation of the dialogue and numerous gunshot sound effects.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Long-Riders-UK-BD_04

Three production featurettes in high definition are included, the best one being the hour-long Making of.

The supplements:

  • Outlaw Brothers: The Making of The Long Riders (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 01:00:51)
  • The Northfield Minnesota Raid: Anatomy of a Scene (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 00:15:30)
  • Slow Motion: Walter Hill on Sam Peckinpah (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 00:06:17)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Long-Riders-UK-BD_05

The Long Riders will appeal to fans of westerns for its beautiful scenery and famous characters, but its lack of strong character development and its heavy focus on pure historical detail keep it from being in the same category as some of the greats of the genre.

Additional Screen Captures

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

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

 

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