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Who Dares Wins [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English LPCM 2.0  (48kHz/24 -bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 15
  • Run Time: 125 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: October 8, 2012
  • RRP: £19.99

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:1.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All 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:3.5/5]

Classic 1980s cult action/thriller Who Dares Wins (AKA The Final Option) from “Gentleman Producer” Euan Lloyd was inspired the May 1980 Iranian Embassy siege ended by the SAS storming the building. The film, meant as a tribute to those men and released in 1982, stars Lewis Collins as former SAS captain Peter Skellen seemingly dismissed from duty on behavioral grounds, but it turns out to be a rouse. With a group of American dignitaries heading to Britain and radical anti-nuclear protestors calling themselves “The People’s Lobby” plotting a violent attack against them on British soil, the government is using Skellen to infiltrate the group and get close to its leader, Frankie Leith (Judy Davis), in order to stop the assault. Dripping with intrigue, cold war paranoia, and a few 007-type spy tricks, Who Dares Wins is actually a film worth more attention than “cult” status allows. It does drift a bit into caricature – Davis is quite obviously a hyper-sexualized femme fatale and Lewis the roguish secret agent – but the resulting outcome is a pleasing walk through a bygone era when “terrorism” wasn’t applied to one group in particular, and nuclear disaster was still on the brains of many in the Reagan and Thatcher era. It is as well, like many British thrillers outside of the inherently campy 007 films, more reliant on the characters and situational developments to tell its story, rather than a heavy dose of special effects. This may not seem so unusual for an older film, but by 1982, these sorts of films were already becoming an endangered species.

Video Quality

[Rating:1.5/5]

One hates to have to say these sorts of things about a new Blu-ray release, even if it is of a catalogue title, but this edition of Who Dares Wins from Arrow Films in a word looks horrendous, and that is putting it politely. It is immediately obvious that there hasn’t been much of a “restoration” effort that has gone into this transfer to Blu-ray, but putting aside general film softness, edge enhancement is rampant. There is runaway edge enhancement straight through the film that shows halos on the edges of buildings, people’s faces, in tree branches, even car radio antennas (remember those?). It doesn’t end there, because issues with dirt and scratches pop up from beginning to end, while noise is also an issue and grain looks rather mushy. This is the worst I have seen from Arrow since I have begun reviewing their releases. Bleh.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Audio in the form of a LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is average at best. While it does sound a bit veiled and has some slight clipping in the dialogue, it far surpasses the travesty that is the nearly unwatchable video transfer.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

As usual, Arrow has a meaty selection of extras, including a whole bonus feature film in The Commander, included alongside Who Dares Wins to make the price worthwhile.

The supplements:

  • Audio Commentary with Euan Lloyd and Director Ian Sharp
  • The Last of the Gentleman Producers (1.78:1; 1080i/50; 00:37:23) Roger Moore and others discuss the famous Euan Lloyd in this brief documentary.
  • Trailer 1 (1.33:1; 1080i/50)
  • Trailer 2 (2.35:1; 1080i/50)
  • The Commander (2.35:1; SD/PAL; 01:39:23) – This bonus feature film starring Lewis Collins is also included on the disc, albeit in standard definition.
  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
  • Booklet: The collector’s booklet contains new writing on Who Dares Wins by Ali Catterall, co-author of Your Face Here: British Cult Movies Since the Sixties, Euan Lloyd’s original notes from the production, press book extracts, and a David Hayes interview with director David Wickes (The Sweeney, The Professionals) about working with Lewis Collins.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

The overall package with its strong bonus features is difficult to argue against with this release from Arrow, but what isn’t difficult to argue against is the shoddy image quality of Who Dares Wins. Anyone with a decent screen size (50” +) will most likely not enjoy the picture quality on this much at all.

Additional Screen Captures

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

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B006TVT5K0[/amazon-product]

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

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:1.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]



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