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Bryan Brown and John Jarratt represent Australia’s presence in the Vietnam war in THE ODD ANGRY SHOT.


Fans of ’80s genre cinema will


find much to like about NIGHT OF THE COMET. Those who appreci- ate the decade’s aesthetic sensibili- ties will enjoy the film’s combination of music video-inspired production design and red haze-saturated ex- teriors. The atmosphere is main- tained by a serviceable synthesizer score, interrupted by the occa- sional undistinguished power bal- lad. With a few trickles of blood but no nudity or real gore, the film was a textbook case for the then- brand-new PG-13 rating. Viewers excited by the prospect of zombies should expect only threatening brutes in scary make-up. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray looks as good as one could ex- pect, with minimal noise and enough grain to look like actual film stock. The transfer handles all the smoke and neon of the time period with crispness and aplomb. The disc provides two DTS-HD audio options, a 5.1 which deep- ens the film’s sound field without getting too fancy, and a more authentic 2.0 mix.


Three featurettes provide con- temporary interviews with primary cast members and the make-up designer. Three moderated com- mentary tracks feature actors Stewart and Maroney, director Eberhardt and production designer John Muto, respectively—more material than even the most en- thusiastic fans are likely to wade through. A trailer and two photo galleries round out the extras. Scream Factory’s package includes a DVD with identical features.


THE ODD ANGRY SHOT


1979, Synapse, 91m 39s, $19.95 DVD-1, $24.95 BD-0 By John Charles


A group of Australian Special Air Service troops (including future star Bryan Brown, John Har- greaves, and WOLF CREEK vil- lain John Jarrat) are transferred to Vietnam and forced to survive the elements and various skir- mishes with the enemy while out on patrol. Serving his second tour- of-duty in the country, impromptu


leader Harry (Graham Kennedy) imparts his wisdom to the new recruits, but knows that the men’s lives are at the mercy of politicians and their military higher-ups, and that the sacrifices they make in the field of battle are unlikely to earn them much respect back home when the conflict finally comes to an end.


Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War has not been widely covered in movies, but— if this film is any indication—it might be because there was not all that much of interest to con- vey. The actors are good, the characters convincingly bond, and some scenes persuasively portray the mixture of horror and tedium they face, but the picture has little tension or dramatic momentum and follows a famil- iar template. Budgetary restrictions are also in evidence, with several noticeably underpopulated se- quences and Australian locations unconvincingly substituting for the Vietnamese countryside and jungle.


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